Deregulation Day

By Sutton Truluck, Research Assistant at Heritage Action for America.

The new federal fiscal year began yesterday, October 1st. While not marked on most American calendars, the date is significant in Washington because it begins the annual “budget season.” For federal agencies, this means finalizing budgetary and regulatory proposals for the coming fiscal year and sending them to the White House for review.

This year is an encouraging break from the status quo as the White House kicked off budget season today by hosting the first ever “Deregulation Day.” President Trump is planned to speak to industry associations, think tanks, companies and state government leaders, and highlight his administration’s deregulatory successes thus far, as well as goals going forward, including “2 for 1” deregulation for every new regulation.

As The Heritage Foundation summarized in its “Blueprint for Reorganization: Pathways to Reform and Cross-Cutting IssuesreportPresident Donald Trump has called for a systematic restructuring of the executive branch, led by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)” via executive order. Federal agencies are wrapping up their budget proposals now, guided by the deregulatory executive order, to send to OMB.

Heritage demonstrated the need for such regulatory reforms in its reorganization blueprint:

“The Federal Register, the daily journal of government actions, lists 440 federal agencies and sub-agencies in its index. From them came more than 23,000 new regulations under the Obama Administration alone—at a very conservatively estimated cost to the private sector of $120 billion. And, in 2015 alone, Americans devoted nearly 9.8 billion hours to federal paperwork.”

The regulatory burden imposed on Americans and the U.S. economy is a long term, persistent problem, and the more recent government takeovers of health care and banking are its most destructive failures – with Obamacare and Dodd-Frank each now burdening the U.S. economy nearly $500 million in costs per day.

Heritage Action drilled down on these policies since they were first devised. Each are now ripe for reform this Congress – Republicans should not abandon their seven-year campaign promise to repeal Obamacare, and oppose any bailout efforts to prop up its failing exchanges in the meantime. Dodd-Frank should also be repealed, and banking regulation refocused so that Washington no longer micromanages smaller banks out of business. The House has already passed the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R.10), which is a significant, positive step toward full repeal of Dodd-Frank, but the Senate needs to act.

Reforms to the regulatory process itself are also critically needed. As summarized in the Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action’s “Opportunity for All, Favoritism to None” conservative policy agenda, process reforms should include: requiring congressional approval before any new major regulation takes effect, requiring analyses of the regulatory consequences of all proposed legislation before a vote by Congress is held, setting sunset deadlines in law for all major regulations, and including “independent” agencies in the White House regulatory review process.

Heritage Action’s government relations team and grassroots activists will continue to advance conservative regulatory reform policies that, as the Heritage reorganization blueprint notes, are more politically viable than ever:

“…President Trump’s electoral victory demonstrated there is increasing frustration among the public with “the swamp.” While the arcane details of executive reorganization are not generally the stuff of political slogans and campaign advertisements, they are now. Palpable pressure from the grassroots will give this President leverage in his negotiations with entrenched interests that no President in the recent past as enjoyed.”

The American people deserve more efficient and accountable government, and deregulation is a crucial part of draining the swamp. Today’s “Deregulation Day” is a fitting occasion.

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