As we’ve discussed elsewhere, we have a real problem with over-regulation in America. For decades the small business community has been struggling to survive in an increasingly difficult regulatory environment. Year after year we’ve seen regulations piling-up—which meant small businesses have been forced to expend greater time, energy and money to ensure compliance.
The good news is that the Trump Administration has reversed that trend. Whereas for years we saw more and more pages printed in the Federal Registrar (i.e., the official collection of federal regulation), we saw a marked reduction for the first time in 2017. This is a result of the fact that the present administration has made deregulation a priority. And of course, NFIB applauded the President in signing an executive order requiring agencies to eliminate two regulations for every new federal rule—which should help clear some of the regulatory thicket.
Yet of course, a motley collection of progressive groups filed suit to block the President’s so called “2 for 1” policy almost immediately. As we noted at the time, the lawsuit (Public Citizen, Inc. v. Donald Trump) seeks to frustrate a perfectly sound policy choice to eliminate overly burdensome, duplicative and unnecessarily difficult regulatory barriers for small business growth. And for what its worth, other countries have successfully implemented this sort of regulatory budget to slow the growth of the regulatory state—for example, in the United Kingdom and Canada.
Naturally we stepped-in to defend the 2 for 1 policy—arguing that there was no basis for a federal court to even consider the arguments raised in this lawsuit. And the good news is that last week the federal district court for the District of Columbia dismissed the suit. The Court agreed with us, holding that the plaintiffs lacked standing because they can claim no injury from a policy merely directing government to begin deregulation. That said, this isn’t the end of the road on this issue. In fact, our intel suggests that the plaintiffs are likely to file an amended complaint, which means that they may get one more shot at convincing the Court that their suit should move forward. Still, it’s difficult to conceive any straight-face argument for why this lawsuit should be allowed to go forward—let alone a rationale for why a court should intervene to frustrate such an imminently reasonable regulatory policy.