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Trump touts deregulation by his administration

Trump touts deregulation by his administration
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpKey takeaways from the Arizona Senate debate Major Hollywood talent firm considering rejecting Saudi investment money: report Mattis says he thought 'nothing at all' about Trump saying he may leave administration MORE announced plans for more deregulation in the coming year with the release Thursday of the administration’s second regulatory agenda.

At a ceremony in the White House, Trump said the federal agencies beat the goal he set when he took office to cut two rules for every new rule proposed and add no new regulatory costs to the economy.

“Today I’m proud to announce we beat our goal by a lot,” he said. “Instead of adding costs as so many others have done … for the first time in decades, we achieved regulatory savings. Hasn’t happened in many decades. We blew our target out of the water.”

The administration withdrew or delayed 1,579 planned regulatory actions in 2017, according to the semi-annual Unified Regulatory and Deregulatory Agenda published by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Thursday afternoon. The regulatory agenda acts as a policy blueprint of sorts for federal agencies.

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Trump said his administration has eliminated 22 regulations for every one that has been added.

“Instead of eliminating two old regulations for every one new regulation, we have eliminated 22; that’s a big difference,” Trump said. “We aimed for 2 for 1 and in 2017 we hit 22 for 1, and by the way, those regulations that are in place do the job better than all the other regulations and they allow us to build and create jobs and do what we have to do.”

The 22 for 1 count represents 67 deregulatory actions and three regulatory actions agencies made through September, according to Neomi Rao, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

Rao told reporters that those rules, which included agency guidance and rules repealed by Congress under the Congressional Review Act, are gone and account for $570.4 million in regulatory savings a year.

As for the 1,579 rules that OIRA said agencies withdrew or delayed, Rao said those are a separate batch of rules that are being reconsidered.

James Goodwin, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Progressive Reform, accused the administration of padding its numbers.

The Trump administration, he said, can only take partial credit for the rules repealed by Congress.

Getting rid of 67 rules may not sound like a lot to some, but Rao called it impressive. She reminded reporters that regulators still have to go through the rulemaking process to get rid of a rule, which takes time.

"Over Republican and Democratic administrations the regulatory burdens have increased," she said. "We’re at a net-negative regulatory for costs and that’s a real turnaround from what we’ve seen in the past."

Trump, who is winding down his first year in office, has had few legislative victories, but has made headway in fulfilling his campaign promise to cut down the nation's regulatory rulebook.

Trump said the never-ending growth of red tape has come to a “sudden, screeching and beautiful halt.”

He challenged his Cabinet officials to push even harder to cut more regulations in 2018, which he said “should just about do it.”

“I don’t know if we’ll have any left to cut, but we’ll always find them,” he said.

The unified agenda says agencies plan to finalize three deregulatory actions for every new regulatory action in 2018, which they estimate will saving $686.6 million per year.

Before cutting a red ribbon with oversized scissors that were draped across stacks and stacks of paper lined against a White House wall, Trump said his administration is going to get the Federal Regulatory code back down from the over 185,000 pages it is today to the 20,000 pages it was in 1960. 

“We’re going to cut a ribbon because we’re getting back below the 1960 level and we’ll be there fairly quickly,” he said. “We know that some of the rules contained in these pages have been beneficial to our nation and we’re going to keep them.”

Trump said his administration is going to protect the health and safety of workers, water, air and our country’s natural beauty.

“But every unnecessary page in these stacks represents hidden tax and harmful burdens to American workers and American businesses and in many cases mean projects never get off the ground,” he said.

Regulatory advocates were quick to slam Trump, calling his deregulatory push “self-serving” and dangerous to Americans.

“Trump wants to take our country back to a 1960’s level of regulation. I don’t think any Americans are nostalgic for burning rivers, haze you can’t see through, exploding cars and cars with no seatbelts. But apparently President Trump is,” said Amit Narang, a regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen.

A number of deregulatory actions mapped out in the unified agenda have already been announced by Cabinet officials, including the Education’s Department’s plan to re-do two Obama-era rules aimed at protecting students from predatory for-profit colleges and the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to repeal the Obama-era water pollution rule known as Waters of the U.S.

The Labor Department announced plans to reconsider, revise or remove provisions in an Obama-era rule that requires certain employers to track workplace injuries and illnesses and submit data electronically to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Updated: 5 p.m.