Trump shines on regulatory reform

President Donald Trump is having a tough time delivering on lofty campaign promises ranging from immigration reform and repealing Obamacare to reducing the U.S.’s rolling military adventurism in the Middle East. Much of the trouble is related to problems beyond his control. But Trump is shining on one issue over which he is able to exert considerable control from his bully pulpit: slashing government regulations.

At least that’s what I gather looking over the American Action Forum’s (AAF) latest analysis of the Trump administration’s regulatory reform initiatives.

AAF attributes Trump’s remarkable success in slashing regulations since taking office to the president’s “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Cost” executive order (EO 13,771), which the economic policy nonprofit lauds as “one of the most significant developments in regulatory policy in decades.”

The executive order was aimed at achieving $0 or less in new net regulatory costs by the end of fiscal 2017 this month.

So how’s it working out?

Pretty well, according to AAF: “While there have been some hiccups, overall the Trump Administration is on track to finish the first phase with $645 million in net annual regulatory savings.”

The success is largely attributed to wording in the president’s executive order which, for the first time in U.S. fiscal history produces what is essentially a regulatory budget. For every one new regulation created by a government agency, two must be phased out.

Trump’s action alone has accounted for around $145 million in regulatory cuts. Another $582 million in regulatory cuts came via Congressional Review Act reversals.

The biggest chunk of economic regulatory relief to come from Trump’s executive order was $78 million saved by slashing Department of Labor regulations, which is majorly beneficial to U.S. businesses.

“Overall, the Administration is well on its way to meeting, and even exceeding, the EO’s FY 2017 goal,” AAF noted.

And the organization is very optimistic about cuts likely to occur in the fiscal year ahead.

From its analysis: “Beyond this deadline at the end of September, there is more to come on the deregulatory front with some notable proposed rules bringing additional cost savings. At the end of July, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps jointly proposed a “recodification” of the “Waters of the United States” rule. That analysis claims annual savings of $314 million. At the end of August, the Department of Labor proposed an extension of the compliance timeline for its 2016 Fiduciary Rule while the agency reviews the rule’s overall framework. This extension could bring more than $291 million in annualized savings. While neither measure will become final before the end of FY 2017, they represent two of the boldest deregulatory actions under this Administration to date.”

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