White House Announces Regulatory Reform, Plans Wide-Ranging Rollback of Regulations

  • By: Staff Editor
  • Date: September 02, 2011
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In January 2011, President Obama had signed an Executive Order, asking federal regulatory agencies to

“…reduce regulations that place unnecessary burdens on American businesses and the American people while ensuring that regulations protect our safety, health, and environment.”

The order initiated a review across the government of outdated or costly regulations. On August 23, Cass Sunstein, administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, unveiled more than 800 pages with more than 500 proposed changes. Sunstein estimated the savings to be more $4 billion over five years.

These proposed changes have been made available for public scrutiny by the 30 federal agencies that carried out the exercise.

Highlights of proposed regulatory changes

Among the regulatory changes proposed by various federal agencies are:

  • Accelerating payments on Department of Defense contracts to 60,000 small businesses
  • Small Business Administration to adopt a single electronic application for potential borrowers
  • Department of Health and Human Services to remove some reporting requirements on hospitals and healthcare providers
  • Department of Energy to revise regulations that may save makers of commercial appliances and bathroom showerheads as much as $900 million
  • Department of Interior to cut approval time for offshore wind projects on public lands
  • Department of Transportation to eliminate railroad regulations that could result in $340 million in savings
  • EPA proposes rule making it easier for hazardous waste generators to report electronically, resulting in savings of $126 million
  • Allowing doctors to practice tele-medicine in rural areas
  • State Department to change export rules and visa practices
  • Department of Labor to finalize rule to simplify and improve hazard warnings for workers, likely saving employers over $2.5 billion over the next five years without compromising safety
  • Internal Revenue Service to eliminate 55 million hours in annual paperwork burdens by consolidating reporting requirements and streamlining various tax forms

Response from Industry

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce welcomed the government’s decision but did not endorse the move. The Chamber’s Senior Vice President Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs, Bill Kovacs, said: "The administration's findings and determinations, on their own, are a worthy effort at making technical changes to the regulatory process."

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