One of the hallmarks of President Donald Trump’s tenure in office was his commitment to rolling back and reducing the regulatory state.
Unfortunately, President-elect Joe Biden is widely expected to chart the exact opposite course and oversee a substantial expansion of the regulatory state, the Washington Examiner reported.
That will come not just from reversing Trump’s deregulatory moves, but also restoring many of the regulations put in place by the Obama administration that were undone under Trump, to say nothing of a plethora of brand new regulatory actions that Biden’s administration will pursue.
The regulatory state
According to the American Action Forum, an organization that closely tracks all developments within the regulatory state, the Trump administration put forward a net total of $14.7 billion in new regulations in 2020 — the second-highest mark for the Trump era — but still managed to save the nation roughly $200 billion overall through deregulatory actions.
The deregulatory savings were in large part due to the administration’s adherence to an executive order issued early in Trump’s term that demanded at least two deregulatory actions for every newly imposed regulation, a ratio that Trump’s administration easily achieved and greatly surpassed, particularly in the first few years.
Yet, that commitment to reducing the regulatory state will likely be one of the first things to be undone by the Biden administration, setting the stage for the rapid return of new regulations and rules by administrative agencies throughout the federal government.
The Examiner noted that Biden will quite likely place an immediate freeze on any recently passed deregulatory actions from Trump’s team.
Furthermore, given the Democratic control of both the House and Senate, Biden could receive a helping hand from Congress in that effort by way of the Congressional Review Act, which requires only simple majority votes in both chambers to kill any rule or regulation passed within the past 60 legislative days.
However, since the CRA completely ends a rule and prohibits it from being replaced by anything “substantially similar,” experts have suggested that Democrats will likely refrain from going that route too often and instead will allow Biden’s administrative state to simply rewrite those rules, most likely achieving the opposite goal of what had initially been intended.
Trump’s successes reversed
Writing for Forbes in December, the policy director for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Clyde Wayne Crews, Jr., cheered the great success Trump had experienced in rolling back the regulatory state and lamented that those efforts would largely be for naught once Biden and his team have settled into place.
Crews wrote that “Trump’s regulatory cuts and unique liberalization agenda have distinguished the beefy (United Agenda regulations) report, with the administration proclaiming that agencies continue to meet the requirement to eliminate at least two significant regulations for every new rule added, and to not merely maintain net-zero new costs but generate substantial savings.”
Yet, Crews also warned that the United Agenda report he referenced showed that the regulatory state had already begun to gear up in 2020 for a change in administration by proposing a number of “long-term” actions that could prove “significant” and costly, particularly since Biden will almost certainly not enforce or proactively undo the so-called “two-out, one-in” rule that governed the regulatory state over the past four years.