I read an interesting blog post by Michael Kennedy about President Trump’s executive order entitled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs” (EO 13771). Anyone trying to predict the regulatory burden of the new Trump administration should read Michael’s post. The new powers given to the OMB Director (and presumably through the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs – OIRA) just mean that the White House will retain tighter control over the regulatory actions of the Executive Branch.
There is an additional caveat restricting the application of this EO. In multiple place we see phrases like “unless otherwise required by law”. The EO explicitly acknowledges that regulations required by statute must be implemented by the Executive Branch. This includes, for instance, the current DOT rulemaking on security training for surface transportation organizations.
Before anyone gets too excited about the prospects of reduced Federal regulations we need to wait and see what the Spring 2017 Unified Agenda looks like. That will provide the first formal look at what the Administration really intends to do in the regulatory arena. But even that will not be the final story.
One thing is already clear; Donald Trump is a man who expects to get his way. I suspect that we will see him continue the Obama legacy of legislating via executive order. And implementation of those orders will require regulations. And those regulations will be much harder to predict.