July 06, 2017

Congress joins Trump war on regs, cuts a year’s worth in one week

Congressional lawmakers have gone all in on President Trump's bid to slash Obama-era regulations, targeting $19 billion in rules and the elimination of enough red tape to free up 5,200 federal workers, according to a new analysis.

The cuts proposed by the House Appropriations Committee this week amount to a year's worth of regulations under the Obama administration, said the report from American Action Forum.

Analyst Sam Batkins wrote, "The suite of appropriations bills released this week goes further, curtailing more than $19 billion in total regulatory costs and eliminating 10.4 million hours of paperwork, the equivalent of eliminating all regulations from 2006 and freeing 5,200 employees from paperwork compliance."

His report, provided to Secrets in advance of its release today, said that the committee's funding bills target regulations in the areas of financial services, agriculture and energy. The biggest ticket item: "Repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill's Volcker rule, which originally estimated $4.3 billion in costs and 2.3 million new paperwork burden hours."

Batkins, AAF's director of regulatory policy, explained that Congress can be very slow in cutting regulations, but added that appropriators are moving with unusual speed at the same time Trump's team is also targeting rules within federal agencies for elimination.

"For those who thought the regulatory reform debate was limited to the executive branch and the administration's one-in, two-out executive order, Congress is proving it has plenty of power to curtail past rules. It can do so in a way that is faster than the regulatory process, and in some instances, far more durable than repeal through the executive branch," said the AAF report.

"The measures outlined here could repeal more than $19 billion in costs and eliminate 10.4 million hours of paperwork. If these riders successfully make it through the process, expect this practice to continue as other legacy regulations are addressed through the legislative branch," the report added.

Batkins highlighted the committee's targets:

Financial Services

Repeal of Volcker Rule: $4.3 billion and 2.3 million hours.

Limiting Implementation of Blade-Contact Rule: $2.5 billion.

Repeal Individual Mandate: 5 million paperwork hours.

Prohibits SEC from requiring companies to disclose political spending.

Requires OMB to report on costs of Dodd-Frank.

Energy and Water

Withdrawing "Waters of the United States" Rule: $462 million.

Prohibits regulators from restricting firearms on Army Corps lands.


Limiting "Trans Fat Ban:" $11 billion.

Limiting "Cigar and Vaping" Rule: $1.1 billion and 1.6 million paperwork hours.

Allows flexibility for schools implementing whole grain school lunch standards.

Prevents further implementation of school lunch sodium standards.

Allows flexibility for schools serving low-fat flavored milk.

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