Executive Order 13563

Original Text

Effective Dates
1/18/2011 - Present

Reform Goals
Requires that executive branch agencies “consider how best” to make plans for reviewing existing significant regulations and identify “outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome” rules, and to “modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned.” 

Requirements (What of whom?)
Reaffirmed the requirements for cost-benefit analysis from previous executive orders. Specified that the public have the chance to comment on the Internet for at least 60 days after a proposed rule is posted. Agencies were required to submit a preliminary plan for reviewing their existing significant regulations to OIRA within 120 days of the order.

Oversight for rule compliance
OIRA had clearly delineated authority to oversee review plans, but only implied authority over the public commentary provisions.

Reform “Teeth”
The reform primarily issued abstract guiding principles with no clear enforcement mechanisms.

Obama commented in a later executive order that “In response to Executive Order 13563, agencies have developed and made available for public comment retrospective review plans that identify over five hundred initiatives. A small fraction of those initiatives, already finalized or formally proposed to the public, are anticipated to eliminate billions of dollars in regulatory costs and tens of millions of hours in annual paperwork burdens.” [1] Indeed, the DHS and HHS websites respectively posted long lists of rules targeted for review. [2,3] However, there was never a formal follow up report to confirm how many (if any) rules were eliminated as a result of these efforts. A George Washington University study found that in the 3 years following the executive order, agencies had not improved data collection plans for new rules that would facilitate future retrospective analysis. [4]

Regulatory agencies under the Obama administration published an all-time yearly high of 97,110 pages in the Federal Register [5], dwarfing any house-cleaning efforts inspired by EO 13563. Agencies are vulnerable to litigation from interest groups if they attempt to update existing rules, which may explain the lack of cuts. Moreover, without metrics built into new rules, retrospective analysis will be challenging to conduct consistently across agencies in the future.


  1. "Executive Order 13610—Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens." Federal Register Vol 77 No 93. May 14, 2012. Part V. The President.  Link , PDF
  2. U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "Final Plan for the Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations." August 22, 2011. Link , PDF
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preliminary Retrospective Review of Regulations. Link , PDF
  4. Sofie E. Miller. "Learning from Experience: Retrospective Review of Regulations in 2014." Working Paper. The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center. November 2015.  Link , PDF
  5. Federal Register. VOL. 81, NO.251, " Page Number Range: 96329-97110." December 30, 2016. Link , PDF