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By Andrew Follett
President Donald Trump and Congress have cut the scope of government $3.7 billion by using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal Obama-era regulations, according to the right-leaning American Action Forum (AAF).
Trump signed CRA resolutions to repeal 13 regulations. AAF projects the CRA bills will eliminate 4.3 million hours of paperwork and $3.7 billion in compliance costs. Industry groups estimate cutting these regulations could save up to $36.2 billion in compliance costs.
“Congress and the administration have made a lasting impact on regulation so far in 2017,” Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at AAF, wrote in the report. “In addition to the immediate economic impact, the use of the CRA in 2017 might chill agency action on controversial regulations in the future.”
Trump is the first president to sign a CRA bill since 2001 when President George W. Bush signed legislation to eliminate a Labor Department rule on ergonomics. Trump has signed 13 CRA bills, including bills repealing three major regulations.
Trump signed a CRA repealing the Interior Department’s Stream Protection Rule in January. The rule cost $1.2 billion and made it harder to mine coal.
In February, Trump signed legislation to eliminate a $1.3 billion Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule forcing energy companies to disclose payments to foreign government — it’s the largest regulation repealed using CRA in terms of dollar value.
Trump also signed a CRA bill to get rid of the Labor Department’s “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” rule regarding how companies compete for government contracts. Trump repealed the $872 million rule in March.
The Senate is currently considering a CRA bill to eliminate Interior Department regulations for hydraulic fracturing on public lands. Axing the rule could save taxpayers $1.8 billion and eliminate 82,170 hours of paperwork, according to AAF, but its passage through the Senate is by no means a sure thing.