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Executive Order 13777

Original Text

Date
February 24, 2017 - Present

Reform Goals
Provides additional guidance to federal executive branch agencies on how to carry out the EO 13771 mandate to eliminate two rules for every new rule passed.

Requirements (What of whom?)
Requires executive branch agencies (but not independent regulatory agencies [1]) to create Regulatory Reform Task Forces to review rules and make recommendations on rules to repeal, modify, or replace. Agencies much designate a Regulatory Reform Officer (RRO) by April 25th, 2017 to chair task forces and oversee implementation of the regulatory review mandates in Executive Orders 13771, 12866, and 13563, respectively.  

Task forces are directed to focus on rules that (i) eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation; (ii) are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective; (iii) impose costs that exceed benefits, and seek feedback from State, local, and tribal governments, small businesses, consumers, non-governmental organizations, and trade associations. The first deadline for task forces to submit rules is May 25th, 2017.

Additionally, the EO requires that OMB issue guidance for agencies, which the OMB published three days after the deadline, on April 28th.


Oversight for rule compliance
The Regulatory Reform Task Force reports progress and review results to its respective agency head. Agencies must report progress on their annual performance plan under the Government Performance and Results Act.

Reform “Teeth”
There are no explicit consequences for failing to meet the deadlines specified in the order. The executive branch agency heads are appointed and may be removed by the President, but there are no other specific enforcement mechanisms.

Outcomes
As of April 30th, 2017, only 1/3 of the agencies affected by EO 13777 had designated an RRO. While many agencies have now 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.

Agency progress as of July 6, 2017

Agency Regulatory Reform Officer Appointed
(4/25/2017 deadline)
Task Force Established Progress Report Issued
(5/25/2017 deadline)
Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rebeckah Adcock Y
(updated 7/17/17)
N
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
(updated 7/14/17)
N
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:

Agency Regulatory Reform Officer Appointed Task Force Established Progress Report Issued
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Samantha Dravis Y Y
Federal Maritime Commission Karen V. Gregory Y N
General Services Administration (GSA) Michael R Downing Y N
Small Business Administration (SBA) Holly Turner Y Y

Commentary

One explanation of the delayed agency compliance is that presidentially appointed administrators are not yet established enough to lead department-wide initiatives. Their goals may conflict with long-standing agency norms, impeding regulatory reform progress. Another reason for delayed compliance is the time-consuming process of incorporating public feedback into the regulatory review process. The DOE and DOD both solicited public comments, but generated few responses. HUD obtained over 400 comments, but must analyze and summarize the feedback.

Past administrative reform initiatives were notoriously difficult to enforce, and EO 13777 is no exception. 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.

References

  1. Executive Office of the President. Memorandum for: Regulatory Reform Officers and Regulatory Policy Officers at Executive Departments and Agencies." April 28, 2017.  
    Link
  2. United States Environmental Protection Agency, E. Scott Pruitt. “Executive Order 13777: Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.” March 24, 2017. Link

Further Reading

  • Susan E. Dudley. “Latest Trump Executive Order Provides Guidance on “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.” George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center. Feb 27, 2017.
  • Stephanie Dhue and Kayla Tausche. “As deadline nears, few agencies have the regulatory czars Trump requested.” April 26, 2017. Link 
  • Bloomberg. “Few Agencies Willing to Reveal Regulatory Officer, Task Forces.” April 25, 2017 Link