Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New Administration Wants to Significant Reduce the Number of Regulations

President Trump told business leaders yesterday that he wanted to cut regulations by 75% or more. That would be a good start and take us back to the early 1970s in terms of number of pages of regulations. Currently, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) is about 180,000 pages (or about as high as the Washington Monument). 

(online source: GW Regulatory Studies Center

Within those 180,000 pages is the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) which takes up about 1,500 pages. Within the FAR are cost principles that take up 50 or so pages. Many people make a career of being experts on cost principles which represents 0.028 percent of the CFRs.

Each year for the past three years (at least), the last Administration set new records for the number of pages in the Federal Register. The Federal Register is the official journal for Government regulations and in Fiscal Year 2015, totaled 82 thousand pages. Found on those pages are 3,378 "final" rules and regulations of which 545 are recognized as having effects on small businesses.

Regulations are promulgated to implement legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. Another significant source of regulations are to implement Executive Orders (e.g. Fair Play and Safe Workplaces). "Final" regulations appear in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Regulations resulting from EOs should be easy for the President to eliminate - rescind the EO and the corresponding regulation(s) have no basis. For regulations based on statute (perhaps the majority) however, the new Administration will need help from Congress.

It will be interesting to see what can get done quickly. Certainly a lot of small businesses will appreciate fewer regulations.

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