For decades, the federal government kept adding regulations without taking any old ones off the books. The result of all this growth in red tape regulation has been a sluggish economy and lack of competition in the market. American consumers, businesses, and families have all paid the price in myriad ways: higher costs for everyday goods and services, fewer choices because innovations and new technologies never emerge, and fewer job prospects because small business just cannot compete.
With the cost of all this overregulation in mind, the Trump administration planned a Cut-the-Red-Tape Day at the White House earlier this week. Understandably postponed due to the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, the event was intended to highlight the successful deregulation efforts across the federal government.
The administration's efforts in regulatory relief have not grabbed a lot of headlines in the media, but they have had significant impact in peeling back the regulatory state left over from President Barack Obama and prior administrations. More importantly, the red tape reduction effort has improved the everyday lives of millions of Americans across the country.
The White House, federal agencies, and Republicans on Capitol Hill have all made significant progress in dismantling the regulatory state.
Delivering on a central promise of his campaign, Trump hit the ground running by signing an executive order to bring regulatory relief within the first 10 days of his presidency. The executive order directed federal agencies to eliminate two regulations for every one new regulation. In the following weeks, the Senate and the House sent an unprecedented number of Congressional Review Act resolutions of disapproval, overturning Obama-era midnightregulations, to Trump's desk. This swift and efficient effort lifted many of the regulatory burdens that threatened small businesses and hard-working Americans.
Additional efforts in bringing regulatory relief have been ongoing throughout federal agencies.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has reined in restrictive land use policies of previous administrations and reduced red tape to domestic energy production. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has begun dismantling Obama's overreaching rule on carbon emissions, the so-called Clean Power Plan, through the formal review process. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has championed streamlining permitting processes for infrastructure projects. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has spearheaded efforts to modernize government services and make government more efficient. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has lead the charge in repealing the previous administration's attempts to regulate the Internet as a telecommunications service.
Combined, these efforts have exceeded the initial expectations set out in Trump's initial executive order. So far, for every new regulation, 16 have been eliminated, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Trump has withdrawn or delayed more than 800 proposed regulations in just his first five months, according to the Associated Press.
Trump and Congress should keep up the hard work and continue to deregulate. Double-downing on these efforts and putting them into statute will further incite innovation and job creation, as well as reduce the size of federal government and make it more efficient. Grassroots activists understand that these efforts are long-term; that's why they will stand with lawmakers who champion reducing the size and scope of federal government so that it works better for all Americans.
Christine Harbin (@ChrissyHarbin) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is vice president of external affairs for Americans for Prosperity.
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