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Trump to slash more regulations in 2018

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President Donald Trump said his regulatory reform directives have resulted in the canceling or delaying of more than 1,500 regulations during the first 11 months of his term, and he plans to deliver much more in 2018.

Speaking at a Dec. 14 press event in the White House, Trump was handed gold scissors to cut a red ribbon draped over stacks of paperwork to signify the administration’s progress in cutting red tape for businesses, and his pledge to reduce the number of rules to 1960 levels.

“As a result, the never-ending growth of red tape in America has come to a sudden, screeching and beautiful halt,” Trump said, flanked by several cabinet secretaries, Office of Management and Budget Director Mike Mulvaney and Ivanka Trump, daughter and senior advisor.

“We want to protect our workers, our safety, our health …. But every unnecessary page in these stacks represents hidden tax and harmful burdens to American workers and American businesses, and in many cases means projects never get off the ground,” he said.

Also on Dec. 14, the White House released the latest Unified Agenda – published twice a year with a list of regulations on agency wishlists – that for the first time identifies whether regulations are “net regulatory or deregulatory,” and continues the administration’s list of “inactive” regulations. Trump published a slimmed down agenda in July that moved many regulations to the "inactive list."

For the first time since Trump signed his regulatory reform directives, the administration disclosed the sheer number of regulations that have been stalled or canceled.

The government has far exceeded the president’s pledge to eliminate two regulations for every new one, the White House said in a fact sheet.

Trump campaigned on his promise to slash “job-killing” regulations. So far, the administration has withdrawn or delayed 1,579 planned regulations, including 635 that were withdrawn, 244 made inactive and 700 regulations that were delayed.

“We blew our target out of the water,” Trump said in the brief press event.

Under the regulatory plan for FY 2018, the Trump administration plans to issue “at least three deregulatory actions for every one new regulation.”

For 2018, Trump has challenged agency heads to find more unnecessary regulations to cut.

For every one new regulation, the Trump administration has taken out 22 actions, leading to a soaring stock market and $5 trillion in new wealth, Trump said. “And we’re just getting started.”

High-profile food regulations delayed this year included FDA’s Nutrition Facts label changes, now delayed until 2020, and the menu labeling rule, which was delayed until May 2018.

At USDA, a regulation to add new animal welfare restrictions under the organic program was delayed for a third time until May 14, 2018. The administration also withdrew two controversial rules under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) that dealt with unlawful practices in the meat and poultry industry and would have eliminated the need to prove injury to competition in lawsuits against packers, swine contractors and live poultry deals. A third GIPSA rule on poultry grower ranking systems was listed as inactive in the most recent Unified Agenda.

Advocacy groups have sued the administration in attempt to overturn the 2-for-1 executive order, while industry groups, such as the National Pork Producers Council, view the Jan. 30 executive order as a boon to help reduce the regulatory burden on industry.

Gottlieb points to two new FSMA rules

Along with the release of the Unified Agenda, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote an FDA Voice blog Thursday that listed priorities for FDA in 2018, while noting that “many of FDA’s policies are advanced through guidance documents and other proposals.”

For food safety, Gottlieb pointed to two priority regulations on the agenda for next year.

 “To address critical issues related to the overall safety of the food we eat, FDA intends to propose a rule on lab accreditation, which would establish a program to accredit labs to do food safety testing and to require that these accredited labs be used in certain situations,” he said.

Gottlieb signaled another Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rule on tap for 2018, this time to clarify how produce businesses are treated under FSMA.

“Additionally, in the Unified Agenda, FDA committed to pursuing a rulemaking that will clarify registration requirements for food facilities to better align how facilities and farms that perform similar activities are treated under the preventive controls rules and the produce safety rule,” Gottlieb wrote.

More than 70 actions are listed in the Unified Agenda but other priority areas will come through “guidance document and other policy efforts,” he said, such as giving “consumers access to clear and consistent nutrition information.”

And Gottlieb suggested in his blog that the latest Unified Agenda is not the last word on regulations. 

Just because a previously listed rule is not on the latest priority list, it “does not necessarily mean the agency does not consider it a priority or will not continue to consider it moving forward,” he said.

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