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President Trump’s New Regulatory Policies Will Take Time

 

President Trump signed several orders aimed at making significant across the board reductions in federal regulations. The first order came in the form of a memo to all federal agencies imposing a freeze and regulatory review of all pending rules for a period of 60 days. The President then issued an Executive Order requiring federal agencies to eliminate two existing rules for every new rule issued. While both are aimed at stemming the flow of federal regulations that affect businesses both large and small, there are legal and practical hurdles that will limit the orders effectiveness. The freeze and review order is temporary and applies only to rulemakings in process as of January 20, 2017, and those that have been issued but have not reached their effective date. Rules that are in the process can simply be withdrawn with no further action. Rules that have been published in the Federal Register but have not reached their effective date are frozen for 60 days but can’t be withdrawn without lengthy public notice and comment periods, essentially a new rulemaking. Finally, no rulemaking can be started or issued until March 20, 2017.
The order requiring elimination of two existing rules for every new rule is more problematic from a legal and practical standpoint. The order requires that the cost of any new rule issued be offset by the cost of the two current rules to be eliminated. This will be a lengthy process because the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which has the final say on all rulemakings, must conduct detailed cost benefit analysis on the existing rules to determine if they meet the cost offset requirement to issue the new rule. For the agencies, picking the two regulations up front to meet offset requirements before a cost estimate is conducted by the OMB will be difficult to determine. Even when the equivalency is established the two current rules picked for elimination must go through a formal rulemaking process including public notice and comment period required under the Administrative Procedure Act. In addition, lawsuits by advocacy groups aimed to stop rule eliminations will further slowdown the regulatory process. Finally, the last tool available to eliminate federal regulations, The Congressional Review Act, only gives Congress the ability to override a federal regulation within 60 days after it is issued. This means that any existing rule older than 60 days is not subject to the act.
Taken together, the new Trump regulatory policies will likely be very effective in slowing down new regulations but have a limited impact eliminating existing regulations. In other words, regulatory change is not going to happen quickly other than a reduction in the number of new regulations. The new regulatory initiatives have caused a lot of confusion and uncertainty in both the agencies and regulated community. Within the next few months the new regulatory process will likely be implemented and the steps to achieve regulatory relief clearer.
Bottom line: Once the dust settles at the federal agencies and the new regulatory policy fully implemented, PMAA will take every opportunity to relieve marketers of costly federal regulations. PMAA, with the assistance of Association Executives and marketers, is preparing for the new regulatory process by putting together a target list of regulations to offer up for regulatory adjustment or elimination once the Trump policies are fully implemented.

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