Federal Agencies Cut Over $16 Billion in Regulations in 2018

Donald Trump uses gold scissors to cut a red tape tied between two stacks of papers representing the government regulations of the 1960s and the regulations of today / Getty Images
January 8, 2019

Federal agencies eliminated over $16 billion in regulations in 2018. Eleven agencies saved taxpayers almost $8 billion by getting rid of old rules, many of which were from the Obama administration, according to analysis by the American Action Forum.

"For the first time since the American Action Forum (AAF) began tracking final regulations published in the Federal Register (going back to 2005), federal agencies published net regulatory cost savings for a calendar year," the report stated.

The analysis, which was flagged by the Washington Examiner, found $8.6 billion in new rules were added, but "nearly a third of the administration’s regulatory actions were actually moves to cut rules and red tape."

"Rulemaking activity increased notably in the second year of the Trump administration, following the trend of other recent administrations. The reason for this increase is straightforward: In its second year, an administration has more personnel in place and can advance rules begun in year one. The difference for the Trump administration is that a significant portion of regulatory activity this year was deregulatory," the report stated.

Most of the cuts came from the Health and Human Services, Transportation, and Interior Departments. The Department of Agriculture, however, added over $5 billion in regulations.

Although 2018 "was a net deregulatory one in terms of estimated costs," the report notes that "estimated paperwork burdens increased by nearly 10 million hours." This is mostly due to the Department of Agriculture's rule known as "National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard," which contains 20.5 million hours of new paperwork requirements.

The Food Disclosure Standard "is something of an outlier for the year, however, as the second most burdensome rule brings only 900,855 hours – a difference of roughly 19.6 million hours," according to the AAF.

"If one were to exclude the bioengineered food rule, the various paperwork burden estimates in 2018 amount to approximately 10.6 million fewer hours," the report adds.

Published under: HHS , Regulation