White House Set to Update Growing List of Deregulation Targets

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By Cheryl Bolen

The Trump administration is set to release within days its second government-wide report listing all the regulatory and deregulatory actions that agencies intend to take in the next 12 months, with more deregulatory actions expected than ever before.

Each fall, the Office of Management and Budget releases the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which are mandatory reports to Congress on agency regulatory activity.

The administration released its spring 2017 unified regulatory agenda on July 20, showing for the first time in this administration agencies’ specific targets for deregulation.

The spring agenda listed 860 proposed regulatory actions that were withdrawn or removed from active status from the fall 2016 agenda. Of that total, 469 regulatory actions were completely withdrawn and 391 were removed from active status, the OMB said.

Similarly, lists of rules that agencies intend to cut in the upcoming year will appear in the fall regulatory agenda, which is scheduled to be published by the end of November, Neomi Rao, administrator of the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, said last month at an administrative law conference.

Advocacy Group Critical

The Trump administration’s first unified regulatory agenda withdrew more rulemakings than any agenda on record, and more are expected this fall, according to a report released Nov. 28 by Public Citizen, a public interest advocacy organization.

The OMB, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, had no comment.

Public Citizen also created a dataset of all the withdrawn rulemakings, which are rarely listed in the Federal Register, it said. It listed 457 rulemakings as withdrawn, including 26 that had legal requirements to meet due dates set by the Congress.

The two agencies that withdrew the greatest number of rulemakings subject to statutory deadlines were the departments of Health and Human Services, and the Interior, the report said.

“Administration officials would have you believe that the rulemakings they terminated were of little importance to the public,” said Michael Tanglis, senior researcher for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division and author of the report. “But these rulemakings would have reduced workplace accidents, prevented fires and explosions, and protected the rights of same-gender couples.”

Public Citizen highlighted certain rules withdrawn in the spring agenda, including:

  •  A Mine Safety and Health Administration rulemaking to address hazards that caused the 2010 Upper Big Branch explosion in West Virginia, which killed 29 coal miners.
  •  An Occupational Safety and Health Administration rulemaking to create a combustible dust standard that was initiated in response to a 2008 combustible dust fire explosion at the Imperial Sugar Company in Port Wentworth, Ga., which killed 14.
  •  An HHS rulemaking to ensure same-gender spouses are afforded equal rights in facilities that accept Medicare patients.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cheryl Bolen in Washington at cbolen@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at phendrie@bgov.com

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