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Pulling the administrative state off autopilot

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Rules and regulations…ex-President Obama’s favorite tools for circumventing Congress, the People’s representatives and voices in government, to get and do whatever he wanted as he plowed ahead destroying the United States’ economic and social fabric and its standing on just about everything on the international front!

Angus Rangus, a frequent visitor and commenter on the Brown Dispatch blog, has provided readers with perhaps the best approach to how rules and regulations should be handled in government and has suggested same to his state representatives in the U. S. Congress…Florida’s process!  How about a refresher for readers Angus!

And Don…Keep up the good work!  Don’t forget one of your biggest promises, for us and our nation’s sake – Drain the damn D.C. Swamp!  We’re still waiting!


This past weekend marked President Trump’s 100th day in office. While tax cuts and health care reform have been discussed, neither has moved forward. With a potential fight over the debt limit looming, there is surely a lot that could be said about what Mr. Trump has and has not accomplished over the last few months. But there is at least one bright spot: reducing burdensome federal regulations.

When it comes to confronting excessive federal regulation, from signing a Congressional Review Act resolution to roll back the Federal Communications Commissions’ broadband privacy rules to his executive order asking the Environmental Protection Agency to review its Clean Power Plan, the Trump administration has, so far, delivered on promises.

During the campaign, candidate Trump promised a regulatory freeze and to use the two rules out for every rule in regulatory framework. Right after inauguration, both were done, plus he added a directive that new regulatory costs imposed by agencies should not exceed “zero,” so the costs have to be fully offset. To date, Mr. Trump has also signed 13 resolutions disapproving and rescinding last-minute Obama regulations. This means federal regulation has largely stopped in 2017, by greater than the 70 percent Mr. Trump originally promised, at least for the time being.

This is exceptionally good news for consumers, businesses and the economy since, in recent years, I’ve estimated the baseline for the U.S. federal regulatory burden has amounted to nearly $2 trillion annually. This amounts to a hidden tax of nearly $15,000 per household in a given year.

If you compare Mr. Trump to President Obama in 2016 for the same 100-day period, Jan. 20 to April 24, Mr. Obama issued 891 rules while the Trump administration has issued 696 rules since Inauguration Day. That’s a 28 percent decrease from Mr. Obama in 2016 to Mr. Trump today, not even taking into account that many of Mr. Trump’s “rules” aren’t rules at all, but deferrals or freezes like several EPA rules. Dozens of Mr. Trump’s rules were federal aviation airworthiness directives — nearly 100 — and numerous related to U.S. Coast Guard operations, such as drawbridges.

It is particularly heartening the Trump administration has incorporated “regulatory dark matter,” the tens of thousands of documents federal agencies use to circumvent Congress and overstep their authority, into his reforms for the enormous and costly administrative state, including his regulatory freeze and the one-in, two-out requirement. Agency dark matter consists of all the memoranda, guidance, notices, bulletins and other proclamations — including threats and bad publicity — that bureaucrats use to create or influence policy. This runs contrary to the law, specifically the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act.

Mr. Trump’s efforts so far have been focused on regulating bureaucrats rather than the private sector, issuing rules to limit their rules. It was President Reagan who first set up via executive order the procedure for central oversight of rules through the Office of Management and Budget, a process later presidents continued and still governs today. Reagan reduced federal regulation by more than one-third. Mr. Trump appears to be operating in a similar fashion.

Even with all these actions from the executive branch, there is still one large barrier to regulatory reform that remains: the U.S. Senate. Mr. Trump’s economic liberalization agenda ultimately will require congressional action to codify the reforms he has requested. The House of Representatives passed the REINS Act, which requires congressional approval of the largest agency rules, and the Regulatory Accountability Act, an assortment of reforms to increase governance, oversight and accountability for rule making. But the Senate has yet to act on anything apart from using the Congressional Review Act to disapprove certain Obama rules, and doesn’t appear to have the 60 votes to move more comprehensive regulatory reforms to the floor.

The Senate needs to recognize that regulatory reform has bipartisan pedigree. And regardless of the knock-down, drag-out fights Congress is sure to have over health care and tax reform, regulatory reform shouldn’t be a heavy lift. In fact, small compromises to pass some truly beneficial regulatory reform measures would both give members something to tout and hopefully give voters a little confidence back showing that Congress can still, in fact, accomplish something that’s good and beneficial for the American people. Surprisingly enough, the precursor to Mr. Trump’s rule-in, rule-out effort was first promoted by Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat, and his regulatory pay-go, or one-in, one out idea. Mr. Trump’s regulatory reviews, reductions and task forces also have similarities to Maine’s Sen. Angus King and his “regulatory improvement commission” idea.

Deflating the bloat of a federal government that otherwise seeks only to expand will require continued vigilance, including questioning the very roles and legitimacy of agencies and how they regulate the economy and competition in some cases. It will require challenging the very premise that the administrative state consists solely of impartial experts, who always advance the interests of a nation and its citizens. The growth of the administrative state has been on autopilot for too long, crushing innovation and entrepreneurship. It’s time to review, reform and potentially completely reorganize the regulatory state and unleash America’s wealth-creating and job-creating potential.


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  1. Old Jim May 4, 2017 at 7:53 AM -  Reply

    The very same DC To Boston Commie Media… that refuses all Journalistic integrity in covering any but the most liberal progressive GOVT an thang in the DC Money Laundry…
    … is displayed daily on our PBS – Florida Channel doing their ‘after session interviews’ of our Super Majority GOP Leadership!

    They harangue how it is all contrived… despite the most TRANSPARENT process ever seen in most any GOVT.

    Floridians can go online to review each filed bill before our first day of the annual 60 day session beginning in March …
    … review the bill text / staff analysis / committee analysis / companion bills in other chamber…
    … place those bills of interest on Bill Tracking – you get an e-mail of each action taken on that bill…
    … each bill requires 3 ‘readings’ … with chance to ‘amend’ each time… be replaced with a ‘cleaned up’ Committee bill…
    … see the vote record on each bill…
    … see the House/Senate decide which bill takes the leadership eventually with that chambers being ‘substituted…

    BUDGET… 3 Days of House/Senate Budget Conference… has been televised by Sub-Committee… with House/ Senate “offers” posted…
    … and yesterday adding “public hearing” opportunity to ask questions/comment on that work by citizens…

    Our GOVERNOR has a similar website to see each Bill presented to him… and his action to sign or veto. GOV Rick Scott adds a short blurb to each vetoed action as to why he took that step… generally because it was entirely a ‘local effort’ or redundant to other programs.
    NOW… do any of you read that or hear that about our state…
    NO… the Faux GNU’s nationally has it exploding with how our GOV Rick Scott is infuriated his agenda wasn’t done…
    … REALLY??

    IF GOV Rick Scott wanted.. INDEED he could VETO the State Budget Bills… the first ever to do so…
    … as it makes a whole lot more sense just to exert his LINE ITEM VETO to whip the Legislature into position to support their fellow Republican??

    IF you havne’t watched on your state’s PBS – “local channel”… you are missing some of the best daytime TV… and your true need to fire off a e-mail to any of those elected officials!!

  2. Angus Rangus May 4, 2017 at 8:05 AM -  Reply

    Does our Florida Legislature ‘meet my expectations’… damn I hate that tired refrain!!

    NO… Being a Conservative / Originalist / Libertarian / TEA Party REPUBLICAN…
    … I lament they ‘compromise’ too greatly!

    TERM LIMITS keep our House/Senate refreshed… BUT, those who did a great job in the past sometimes make it back to shepherd the “newbies” on a second round!

    Florida has way too many RINO’s from Miami-Dade… Heritage would rate them 35% Conservatives…
    … AND that group has the Senate President in their Cubano heritage who loves to borrow someone else’s GUN for campaign photo-ops , then assure the PB Post he ain’t never owned a gun in his entire life!!

    SO… that same Senate President ‘traded’ to Senator Flores two of our 2nd Amendment bills… she delayed them from getting out of her committee… they got postponed enuff the House missed getting them up for 3rd Reading late this week!!

    Our 60 day Session was extended 5 days… our House Speaker held the Senate’s feet to the fire on several spending issues!

    Am I the ONLYest one ashamed of the Black Caucus combining their “afterparty” with the Hispanic Caucus… and inviting the “others” on the Senate floor??

    We got just 40 State Senators… we ain’t got NO WHITE Caucus… and can you believe the HOWLING IF WE DID??

    You’d have to watch those of the Black Caucus… to appreciate Sheeple Commie Zombies… ‘they’ feel compelled to rise for ‘serious questions’ … the bill sponsor is Super Majority and nicely puts them in their place with ‘read the committee/staff analysis’ again? Yep… their bios are as ‘replete’ as Maxine Waters also in various ‘communal organs’

  3. Angus Rangus May 4, 2017 at 8:11 AM -  Reply

    President TRUMP has even more POWER OF THE PEN…
    … alongst with his massive Bully Pulpit …

    … to accomplish many of the GOP Party Platform that got him elected.

    STOP dancing around the silly frilly fringe of retarding the growth of GOVT…
    … and at least eliminate that $250 BN of Waste / Fraud / Abuse & Redundancy / Overlap / Duplication…
    … that is summarized annually by Federal DEPT!!

    HEY… it ain’t coming out of thar’ otherwise!!

    THEN… we all know 25% of any thang GOVT can be stripped out…
    … without as “Filinta” retorts ‘didn’t hit any vital organs’!!

  4. Old Jim May 4, 2017 at 8:20 AM -  Reply

    Stink Stir??

    Many of the 34 GOP governed states are in annual Legislative Session…
    … customarily these are held in Spring… when weather prevented planting anyway!

    By July 1st… our Conservative Spears should be touting their special interest items that indicates the ‘silent majority’ view of our nation:

    1. NRA will monthly list the 2nd Amendment ‘accomplishments’ getting 35 of our RED States closer to SCOUTS Heller 2008 / McDonald 2010 ‘inalienable right’.

    2. Drudge might feature those states cutting taxes or reforming their tax base.

    3. Breitbart / Blaze could summarize those states declaring Opioids a catastrophe.

    Meantime, surely by July 1st… America should hear of Fed Dept shufflings that rid us of more Commie Menace…

    AND… most of the US House will be rounding up signatures for next year’s ‘re-election campaign’… indeed Term Limits was just another Political Lie!!

    I’m betting us Seniors will be reporting our SS & Pensions as ‘EARNED INCOME’ to the same IRS next year… to fund all those Laydowns who pay ZERO in taxes or payroll taxes – and brag they ‘get back’ $5,400!!

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