Saturday marks one year since President Trump moved into the White House with an ambitious to-do list. He kept his campaign promise to pass a major tax reform law, but has failed to repeal Obamacare. He’s currently fighting over his pledge to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
Mr. Trump last month staged an event to show he’s cutting federal regulations – complete with ceremonial scissors. In December the White House said agencies or Congress undertook “22 deregulatory actions for every one new regulatory action.”
“It’s a bit misleading,” said University of Pennsylvania law professor Cary Coglianese, who heads the Penn Program on Regulation. Coglianese said many of the actions are not as significant as this White House contends.
“Most of those were either housekeeping matters or regulations that the Obama administration started to pull off the books,” Coglianese said.
Among the deregulations for which the administration can claim sole credit? The removal of endangered species protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears and the rescinding of rules tightening standards for hydraulic fracking on public land.
But the Republican-led Congress can take a lot of the credit, including repealing Obama-era rules that hadn’t yet taken effect: regulations that would have made it easier to file class-action lawsuits against banks, made it harder for the mentally ill to buy firearms, and protect waterways from coal mining waste.
In the year since taking office, the president has certainly slowed down and in some cases stopped new regulations.
“We canceled or delayed over 1,500 planned regulatory actions — more than any previous president by far,” Trump said in December.
But despite numerous photo ops and public signings, the president still has work cut out for him.
“That’s great showmanship. And it certainly has convinced a lot of people that the regulations on the books have dramatically decreased under President Trump. But they haven’t,” Coglianese said.
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