Just as in 2017, regulatory policy continued to be a focal point of 2018 with key actions ranging from proposed rules to one agency’s establishment of a new economics office to inform regulatory decisions. While not comprehensive, this Regulatory Insight highlights ten important developments related to regulation that occurred in 2018.
1. Fiscal Year 2018 Regulatory Reform Report
On October 17, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the 2018 Fall Unified Agenda, which details the administration’s annual Regulatory Plan and its semiannual Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. Along with the Agenda, the administration released a Regulatory Reform Report on the progress agencies made in implementing Executive Order (E.O.) 13771, which directed agencies to eliminate two rules for each new rule and required them to offset the costs of new regulations.
While the Agenda has a long history, the Regulatory Reform Report is a specific Trump administration effort to track the cost savings associated with E.O. 13771. The fiscal year (FY) 2017 report estimated that executive branch agencies produced $8.1 billion in present value cost savings from the 67 deregulatory actions and three regulatory actions taken in that time period. The FY 2018 report estimated that agencies saved $23.4 billion in present value costs through 176 deregulatory actions and 14 significant regulatory actions—a 12-to-1 ratio. However, many of the deregulatory actions were not considered “significant” under E.O. 12866, making them not directly comparable to the significant regulatory actions. A more apples-to-apples comparison of only significant actions is 57 deregulatory to 14 regulatory actions—yielding a 4-to-1 ratio.