Law & Order

2017 Marks a Year When Regulations Were Rolled Back

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

As 2017 draws to a close, it is useful to highlight an area of the Trump Presidency that has already had a dramatic impact: deregulation. When he came into office, President Trump immediately issued an executive order directing all federal agencies to review existing regulations and determine whether any should be rescinded or modified. Given the rulemaking process, it normally takes months, if not years, to implement any recommendations. Nevertheless, by last summer, the Trump Administration had withdrawn 457 rulemakings that were in process, including 114 rulemakings listed by the Department of the Interior, 26 before the Department of Labor and 20 before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  

Under the “Congressional Review Act” (CRA), Congress has authority to pass a resolution with a simple majority vote to reject any major rulemaking issued in the previous six months. President Trump and Republicans in Congress used the CRA to repeal 14 Obama Administration regulations already issued. The 14 repealed regulations included the “BLM Planning 2.0” rule, which gave the federal government more authority in land-use decisions, and a Department of Labor regulation that provided a five-year window for citing companies that did not record worker injuries during the first six-month citation period.  

Congress is also pursuing regulatory reform through legislation. Of note, the House of Representatives has passed the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act,” which would require congressional approval of regulations before they can take effect, and the “Regulatory Accountability Act,” which would require federal agencies to identify the objective of a proposed rule and choose the lowest-cost alternative. It may be difficult to pass these bills in the Senate, however, since a 60-vote super-majority is required for passage.  

For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at