(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama signed an executive order and two presidential memoranda to direct agencies to design regulations that are “cost-effective, evidence-based, and that are compatible with three important goals: competitiveness, job creation and economic growth,” a senior administration official described Tuesday.
The executive order says the operating principle of the U.S. government is to strike the right balance with regulations, neither "placing unreasonable burdens on business -- burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs" nor failing to "protect the public interest." The president first made the announcement in an op-ed in the conservative opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal, in yet another sign his move may be based in part in moving towards the political center.
Peter S. Goodman of The Huffington Post argues the president’s announcement is an “unhelpful new explanation for his failure to restore jobs,” by “pandering to businesses in possession of campaign cash,” and adopting “long-established Republican talking point.
“Having failed to marshal an economic program sufficiently muscular to restore vigor to a still-lean economy, the president will not even talk straight about how we got here, instead adding confusion to the narrative that will surely embolden industries hoping to write rules in their favor,” Goodman writes, “It wasn't too many regulations that trashed the economy. It was not enough rules -- a deficit that owes in large part to the efforts of many of the people Obama has leaned on in putting together his economic policies.
On Tuesday, senior administration officials downplayed this is a move to the center for the president.
“The notion that it's left or right or center, frankly, is less relevant than, are we doing what's right for the American people, and are we getting to the point where we're maximizing growth while maximizing health and safety,” the senior administration official said, “And I would hope that that's something that people left and right ultimately agree on.”
The White House says that said that the process to go ahead with this has been “ongoing for some time,” for months, if not for over a year, and did not characterize the extent that the new White House Chief of Staff, Bill Daley, played in these decisions. The executive order says agencies always need to consider costs and ways to reduce burdens for businesses when they develop rules “that they need to expand opportunities for public participation and public comment, and they need to ensure that regulations are driven by real science,” a senior administration official said today.
The executive order is directed to both existing regulations and new regulations. In addition to seeing how to deal with new rules, it also looks back and says that agencies should take a “hard look” at what existing rules are on the books and. if they are no longer practical, either changed or withdrawn.
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