President Obama yesterday ordered all federal agencies to conduct a review of current federal regulations to ensure they are still effective and do not burden the private sector.  The media portrayed the move as an attempt by the White House to repair their relationship with the business community while striving to maintain good government practices.

The executive order (see the White House fact sheet here) requires agencies to not place unreasonable burdens on business when writing new regulations and to review existing regulations to determine their relevance and impact on economic growth.  ASAE and other associations have complained about the regulation process during the health care implementation, particularly on the “grandfathered” health care plan requirements, in that the agencies did not allow time for reviewing the regulations written nor provide organizations with the opportunity to submit revisions for the regulations.  The President, in a piece in the Wall Street Journal, cited the Environmental Protection Agency’s revision of a rule treating saccharine as a dangerous toxin as the process he would like to see all agencies follow.

“This order requires that federal agencies ensure that regulations protect our safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth,” wrote the president.  “And it orders a government-wide review of the rules already on the books to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive. It’s a review that will help bring order to regulations that have become a patchwork of overlapping rules, the result of tinkering by administrations and legislators of both parties and the influence of special interests in Washington over decades.”