Those who champion slowing the growth of the regulatory state earned a victory earlier this year with President Donald Trump’s “two-out-one-in” executive order, requiring federal agencies to eliminate two old regulations for every new one they enact. The order also established a type of regulatory budget that caps the amount of regulatory costs agencies can impose on the economy during a given year.
But as R Street previously has argued, such executive branch actions, particularly in the area of deregulation, are unlikely to be lasting unless they are codified. Codification ensures that deregulatory efforts are locked in and not subject to reversal by a future president.
Toward that end, the latest good news is that H.R. 2623, legislation that effectively would codify Trump’s order, has been introduced in the U.S. House by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.
Unlike past regulatory budgeting legislation, Meadows’ bill would not task Congress with setting the regulatory budget, instead granting that responsibility to the White House Office of Management and Budget. While such a structure may be the best short-term option to codify a regulatory budget, Congress ideally would be the branch responsible to set how much regulatory costs agencies could impose each year. A further concern is ensuring that OMB has the resources and manpower necessary to institute the regulatory budget.
Regardless, the Meadows bill should be welcomed as a step toward a more sustainable deregulatory effort.
Image by Maythaphorn Piyaprichart