The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations has over 90,000 regulations and 1.2 million restrictions that collectively apply to American citizens. Despite the staggering number of rules, executive branch agencies rarely conduct retrospective reviews to evaluate rule impacts. Without retrospective review, agencies have no way of measuring the effectiveness of past regulations. Consequently, ineffective and outdated rules routinely accumulate and become a source of frustration to citizens and businesses.
The importance of analysis and accountability in regulatory processes is not remiss from government officials. Sundry efforts from both Congress and the President have attempted to reform the administrative state, the most recent being President Trump’s Executive Order 13777 titled Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda. In addition to functioning as an unambiguous political statement of the administration's de-regulatory stance, the EO lays out requirements for agencies to implement regulatory review and track progress. Specifically, EO 13777 sets deadlines for the 15 cabinet-level agencies to designate a reform officer, create a task force and generate a progress report identifying rules to amend or repeal:
Argive contacted 15 executive agencies to investigate their compliance with EO requirements and discovered that while many met the requirement of appointing an RRO, most failed to do so by the prescribed deadline. As of July 6, 2017-- over two months past the EO 13777 deadline-- over ⅓ of agencies failed to designate a regulatory reform officer and a majority have still not produced a progress report.
Additionally, the EO requires that OMB issue guidance for agencies, which the OMB published three days after the deadline, on April 28th.
The table below tracks agency compliance with each requirement. In cases where an agency has not complied with a requirement, “N” indicates an agency either confirmed it has not yet fulfilled the requirement or did not respond to repeated inquiries and no evidence for compliance could be found online. A list of sources and links is available for download at the end of this document.
Agency progress as of July 6, 2017
|Agency||Regulatory Reform Officer Appointed
|Task Force Established||Progress Report Issued
|Department of Agriculture (USDA)||Rebeckah Adcock||Y
|Department of Commerce (DOC)||James Uthmeier||Y||N|
|Department of Defense (DOD)||N||N||N|
|Department of Education||Robert S. Eitel||Y||Y|
|Department of Energy||Daniel Simmons||Y||N|
|Health and Human Services (HHS)||N||N||N|
|Department of Homeland Security (DHS)||Elaine Duke||Y||Y|
|Housing and Urban Development (HUD)||David Eagles||Y||N|
|Department of Interior (DOI)||James Cason||Y||Y|
|Department of Justice (DOJ)||Rachel Brand||Y||N|
|Department of Labor (DOL)||N||N||N|
|Department of State||John J. Sullivan||Y
|Department of Transportation (DOT)||Jeffrey Rosen||Y||Y|
|Department of Treasury||Brian Callanan||Y||Y|
|Department of Veterans Affairs||Gina Farrisee||Y||N|
Although independent government agencies are not subject to executive orders, they are encouraged to comply. The table below displays independent agencies that acted on EO 13777 recommendations:
Past administrative reform initiatives were notoriously difficult to enforce, and EO 13777 is no exception. Reform efforts often lack the “teeth” necessary to penalize agencies for non-compliance. Further, agencies operate under limited oversight from Congress, the President, and the American public.
Federal agencies hold American citizens accountable to tens of thousands of regulations- many of which impose hefty fines and penalties for missing deadlines. Ironically, agencies will face no formal penalty for missing the deadlines established by EO 13777.
Argive’s mission is to increase transparency and efficiency in regulatory policy by improving the feedback loop between citizens and administrators. We provide free technical resources to accelerate public dialogue on regulations.
Other organizations tracking agency compliance with EO 13777 include the Sierra Club, the American Action Forum, and Avi Garbow and Bryson Smith at Gibson Dunn law firm. For a list of sources, please click here.