Record Regulatory Low Hit in First 6 Months of 2017

Date: August 30, 2017

A substantial slowdown in regulatory actions has provided massive relief to small business owners during the first six months of 2017. Can it continue?

The first six months of 2017 marks a record low in the number of new regulatory actions taken, relieving small business owners of many of the past administration’s burdensome regulations. The Obama administration pushed 216 regulatory actions in the first six months, compared to the Trump administration’s 67, according to Bloomberg.

The White House has pumped the breaks on Obama’s regulatory machine by halting regulations that haven’t been completed, delaying deadlines, and issuing executive orders to pressure agencies into reviewing and removing unnecessary regulations. Can the Trump administration maintain the regulatory slowdown or will it have to cave to agencies’ needs?


The first phase of the administration’s regulatory policy was successful because of the Congressional Review Act, which Congress used to conduct an overhaul of regulations. But the regulatory slowdown can also be attributed to the lack of appointees, which has stalled actions across many agencies, he said. The Senate needs to confirm 1,200 senior officials to key agencies and independent commissions during the “second phase,” which might ramp up regulating, according to Neil Bradley, chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Fortunately, deregulation is on the way from the Office of Management and Budget, which has identified 860 proposed regulations to either repeal or delay.

“Unnecessary government regulation” stands as small business owners’ second-most pressing issue, according to NFIB’s most recent Small Business Problems and Priorities report. Small business owners feel reassured by the Trump administration’s prioritization of deregulation, shown clearly in the two-for-one executive order that repeals two regulations for every new one issued.

“They’re going back and looking at those rules to see how they can improve them and make them better for small business to comply with, or getting rid of them entirely,” said Dan Bosch, senior regulatory policy manager at NFIB. “So our members are feeling like there’s some relief on the horizon.” 

In the administration’s first six months, small businesses have been encouraged by reviews of significant regulations, including the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. Rule and the Clean Power Plan, as well as the Department of Labor’s Overtime Rule. Small business owners remain optimistic for a continued re-evaluation of damaging regulations that repress small business growth.



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