Obama Administration Continues Reg Reform Efforts

June 1, 2011

In January, President Barack Obama announced that he was signing a new Executive Order and a new Presidential Memoranda aimed at ridding the federal regulatory process of absurd and unnecessary paperwork requirements that waste time and money. The Memoranda was directly addressed at reducing the regulatory burden on small firms. Please click here for more information.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) late last week revealed the latest development in the administration’s effort to reform the federal regulatory process, announcing that it was posting the preliminary regulatory review plans of 30 agencies. Agencies were required to submit plans by May 18 to identify rules in need of change or elimination because they were outdated, unnecessary, excessively burdensome, or in conflict with other rules.

The administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Cass Sunstein, claimed that the reform proposals have the potential to eliminate billions of dollars in regulatory burdens on individuals, small businesses, and state and local governments.

Sunstein also disclosed that many of the reform proposals focus on small business. He superficially mentioned the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), which he said had identified 19 reforms that would reduce burdens on small business. He claimed that more than $1 billion in total savings were anticipated from just a few initiatives from the DOT, Department of Labor, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to Sunstein, the DOT planned to take action on 70 regulations and identified an additional 55 that warranted additional study; the EPA had designated 16 high-priority, short-term initiatives and 15 high-priority, longer-term initiatives; and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed the removal of more than 1.9 million annual hours of redundant reporting burdens on employers that would result in more than $40 million in annual cost savings.

All of the plans will be open for public comment through the White House website.