President Obama ordered federal agencies to come up with plans in the next four months to review regulations already on the books and to develop science-based rules that promote "economic growth, innovation, competitiveness and job creation."
Obama's initiative quickly drew praise as "a positive first step" from Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who had earlier warned that business faced a "regulatory tsunami" from the Obama administration. Donohue last week called for trade-focused steps to boost the global supply chain in his "State of American Business" address.
The president foreshadowed the action with a signed opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, where he said while regulators won't be shy about creating new rules to ensure safety or enforcing actions against chronic violators, "we are also making it our mission to root out regulations that conflict, that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb."
His action comes as several agencies are developing new regulations that affect transportation industries, such as capacity reporting changes for ocean ship line alliances, shorter proposed work days for truck drivers and a possible overhaul of railroad competition rules.
In his executive order, Obama did not single out specific industries as to how the rules might change. The White House said he wants rules that are cost-justified, designed through a transparent regulatory process and coordinated among federal agencies to avoid presenting business with conflicting standards.
Donohue said he hoped Washington would go even farther, however. "A robust and globally competitive economy requires fundamental reform of our broken regulatory system," he said.
That means, "Congress should reclaim some of the authority it has delegated to the agencies and implement effective checks and balances on agency power," said Donohue. "It also means repealing or replacing outdated or ineffective regulations, ensuring realistic cost-benefit analyses using quality data."
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