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IV. New Government -
Common Sense Regulatory Reform
"I believe very strongly in the cause of regulatory reform. And ... I believe we can bring
back common sense and reduce hassle without stripping away safeguards for our children, our
workers, our families. . . .
We all want the benefits of regulation. We all want clean air and clean water and safe food and toys that our children can play with. But let's face it, we all know the regulatory system needs repair. Too often the rule writers here in Washington have such detailed lists of dos and don'ts that the dos and don'ts undermine the very objectives they seek to achieve, when clear goals and operation for cooperation would work better. Too often, especially small businesses, face a profusion of overlapping and sometimes conflicting rules. . . .
Some would use the need for reform as a pretext to guy vital consumer, worker, environmental protections; even things thatprotect business itself. They don't want reform; they really want rigor mortis. . . . Reform, yes -- bring it on. Roll back, no."
-- President Clinton February 21, 1995
The Clinton Administration is strongly committed to reforming our regulatory system so that it is more flexible, costs less, and imposes fewer rigid rules on the American economy.
Significant steps over the past two years include:
Enacting interstate banking deregulation and intrastate trucking deregulation
Expanding use of cost-benefit analysis and risk analysis in the development of regulations
EPA's Common Sense initiative streamlined environmental regulation
Shrinking the SBA loan form from an inch thick to one page
Dramatically simplifying bank regulations issued by the Comptroller of the Currency, and radically reducing the regulatory burden placed on exporters.
Reinventing Regulation Initiative
The President has stepped up this effort, ordering his top regulatory officials on February 21 to undertake a Regulatory Reinvention Initiative that will:
Cut Obsolete Regulations Each agency is to conduct a page-by-page review of all existing regulations and eliminate those that are outdated or in need of reform. A list of these regulations is to be sent to the White House by June 1.
Reward results, not red tape Agencies are directed to change their measurement of front-line regulators' performance to focus on results not on process or punishment.
Get out of Washington and create grassroots partnerships Regulators are to convene groups of front-line regulators and affected citizens -- at sites around the country, not in Washington.
Change Rulemaking Procedures Regulators are ordered to submit to OMB a list of formal rulemaking proceedings that can be converted into consensual negotiations.
In addition, the President directed Vice-President Gore to complete a comprehensive set of reform proposals in specific areas -- including the environment, food safety, health, workplace safety, financial services -- for executive or legislative action.
Reform, yes; rollback, no
President Clinton is committed to working with Congress to craft balanced regulatory reform legislation.
The administration has supported regulatory reform measures including:
Legislation that would seek to end the practice of unfunded mandates to the states
Proposals to cut paperwork, and
Increased regulatory flexibility for small business.
However, some proposals currently being considered by Congress are extreme and would undercut the protection of consumers, workers, and the environment. Any efforts to improve regulation must take account of the benefits of regulation:cleaner air and water, safer products and food, safer workplaces, sound financial institutions.
Moratorium. President Clinton has said that the regulatory moratorium legislation that passed the House of Representatives would freeze good regulations as well as bad ones, and would undercut protection of the public health and safety. Cabinet officials including the Attorney General, the Secretary of HHS, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Transportation, and the Administrator of EPA have stated that they would recommend a veto of the House moratorium bill.
Risk. While the administration supports the use of risk analysis in regulation, the President said that the legislation that passed the House would paralyze the government by process, resulting in more delay, more lawsuits and more cost to taxpayers.
Takings. Finally, while the administration supports private property rights, it has strongly objected to proposals that would automatically pay landowners when the value of their property is diminished by federal regulation. The administration hopes to work with members of the Senate to improve these measures so that they accomplish the goal of reforming regulation without hurting the middle class.