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Budget & Spending

Advancing Responsible Regulatory Reform: The Deregulatory Agenda

3 minute read

The Trump Administration continues to advance regulatory reform by lifting the burdens of excessive regulation, resulting in greater opportunities for individuals, business owners, farmers, and families. Responsible regulatory reform promotes economic growth and innovation, leaving the American people with more freedom to pursue their work and exercise ingenuity.

On May 9, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) releases the Spring Agenda, which lists the regulatory and deregulatory actions agencies plan to take in the coming year. The agenda demonstrates a commitment to meaningful regulatory reform across the federal government. While the agenda includes many new deregulatory entries, allow me to highlight a few priority areas.

First, government regulations often disproportionately harm small businesses with few additional benefits. So we have encouraged agencies to identify relief for small businesses. For example, one proposed rule would allow small-scale, artisanal, commercial fisherman to continue fishing in the Pacific Ocean after fishing seasons close. Another rule would permit small business health plans, creating flexibilities designed to lower costs and allow more individuals to obtain insurance.

Second, outdated, duplicative, or overly prescriptive regulation can stifle innovation. Repealing such burdens or developing enabling regulation can create an environment that encourages technological development. For example, the Department of Transportation plans to enable the use of certain routine, small drones without a waiver or exemption. DOT plans to seek comment on regulatory barriers to vehicles with fully automated driving systems in order to enable innovation while maintaining the safety of our Nation’s roadways. And in commercial development of space exploration, multiple agencies anticipate streamlining and simplifying the licensing of launch and recovery operations.

Finally, as part of the President’s infrastructure initiative, agencies are working to unravel the complex licensing and permitting schemes that unnecessarily delay projects. Revisions to NEPA regulations, which affect permitting for most major infrastructure projects, could significantly streamline and reduce the costs of such projects. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission plans to revamp the licensing process for new reactors.

Projecting progress toward reducing regulatory burdens, the agenda reflects an ongoing commitment to eliminate two regulatory actions for each new regulation and to establish a regulatory budget that reduces costs across the government, as directed by President Trump in Executive Order 13771. In the fall, OIRA will publish an accounting of the cost savings and deregulation achieved by agencies.

Our reforms are also by the book. Deregulatory proposals have to meet the same standards as regulatory proposals. OIRA reviews significant regulatory and deregulatory actions to ensure they are consistent with law, have benefits that substantially justify the costs, and serve the President’s priorities. Agencies have targeted ineffective, duplicative, and outdated regulations, while maintaining protections for health and safety.

This spring’s agenda improves the transparency of the regulatory process, providing notice of regulatory actions as they are being developed, so the public can meaningfully comment on regulatory policy. As promised, the Administration continues to advance responsible and meaningful regulatory reform that frees Americans from the drag of failed government regulation.

Neomi Rao is the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget.