News on Regulation from the Trump Administration

Regulation

This post was originally published on Powerline Blog.

 

The Trump administration has adopted new limits on the use of “guidance documents” that federal agencies have issued on almost every conceivable subject, an action that could have sweeping implications for the government’s ability to sue companies accused of violations.

Guidance documents offer the government’s interpretation of laws, and often when individuals or companies face accusations of legal violations, what they have really violated are the guidance documents. …

It also advances a goal declared by President Trump in his first days in office: to reduce the burden and cost of federal rules and requirements. …

The new policy, issued by the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, Rachel L. Brand, is significant because federal agencies have issued hundreds of guidance documents on a wide range of laws covering issues like health care, the environment, civil rights and labor.

Many of the Obama administration’s worst actions involved issuance of “guidance,” i.e., a left-wing interpretation of federal law that was often tendentious if not outright untenable. Nevertheless, most companies, universities, etc., were cowed into complying with Obama’s “guidances.” Glenn Reynolds offers the definitive commentary:

Good. “Guidance” is bullshit. Either do a rule making, or stay home.

Rule making under the Administrative Procedure Act requires following an actual process, with public comment and opportunity for appeal. Thus it is inconvenient for leftists. Issuing “guidance” is an inappropriate shortcut that generally just means implementing the administration’s political wish list.

This is another example of one of the Trump administration’s greatest virtues: restoration of the rule of law.

It is also great for the economy. Why did the stock market begin to soar and economic growth accelerate after President Trump was elected, even before he was inaugurated and had any opportunity to implement his policies? Numerous business people have said that Trump’s election meant that for at least four years, they did not have to fear sudden, arbitrary and expensive changes in federal regulation that imposed unreasonable burdens on their businesses, and were hard if not impossible to plan for. Thus companies started to invest in America even before Trump took office. The administration’s repudiation of its predecessor’s “guidance” shortcuts confirms that businesses were right to expect a more normal regulatory regime under President Trump.

This post was originally published on Powerline Blog.