The First Trump Era Regulatory Agenda

On July 20th, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) released its long-awaited “Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.” While the report provides the usual insight into the various agencies’ planned rulemakings, this edition is notable for its substantial listing of deregulatory initiatives. This shift was to be expected, considering the plethora of regulatory reforms the Trump Administration has put into motion. But as there are still a host of regulatory actions on the horizon, it remains to be seen whether the administration will reach its Executive Order (EO) 13,771 goal of zero net regulatory costs for Fiscal Year 2017 – and constrain costs beyond that. Its success may depend largely on how quickly it can promulgate some of the deregulatory .


The following tables provide a chronological sample of some of the most notable rulemakings included in the current edition of the Unified Agenda (UA). Rulemakings that would add regulatory costs are listed in black; ostensibly deregulatory measures (according to either their title or “abstract” found in the corresponding RIN link) are listed in red. Bolded entries represent rulemakings that an agency has already published. Since EO 13,771 measures an agency’s “tally” in annual costs or cost savings, and since annual cost estimates help mitigate some of the inconsistencies in measuring past impacts against future ones, the tables below include such estimates in their annualized form (to the extent possible). All “regulatory” figures below come from agency estimates of either that direct action or an earlier phase (such as a proposed rule) of that rulemaking. All “deregulatory” figures come from agency estimates of either that direct action or the estimated annual costs of the original regulatory action it targets.

July 2017
Agency Proposed/Final Rule RIN Annual Costs (in millions)
HHS Proposed CY 2018 Hospital Outpatient PPS Policy Changes and Payment Rates and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System Policy Changes and Payment Rates (CMS-1678-P) 0938-AT03 101
DOI Proposed Revision or Rescission of the 2016 Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation Rule 1004-AE53 279
DOI Proposed Rescission of the 2015 BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rule 1004-AE52 -34
DOL Pre-Rule Request for Information Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees 1235-AA20 -304.3


August 2017
Agency Proposed/Final Rule RIN Annual Costs (in millions)
HHS Final FY 2018 Prospective Payment System and Consolidated Billing for Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) (CMS-1679-P) 0938-AS96 60.4
HHS Final  Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System for Acute Care Hospitals and the Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System and FY 2018 Rates (CMS-1677-P) 0938-AS98 -.82
DOL Proposed Tip Regulations Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) 1235-AA21  
EPA Final Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources: Extension of Stay for Certain Requirements 2060-AT59  


September 2017
Agency Proposed/Final Rule RIN Annual Costs (in millions)
DOE Final Energy Conservation Standards for Commercial Packaged Boilers 1904-AD01 51
DOE Final Energy Conservation Standards for Portable Air Conditioners 1904-AD02 30
DOE Final Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Conventional Cooking Products 1904-AD15 42.6
DOE Final Energy Conservation Standards for Walk-In Coolers and Walk-In Freezers 1904-AD59 34
DOE Final Energy Conservation Standards for Uninterruptible Power Supplies 1904-AD69 234
USDA Final Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements 0584-AE53


October 2017
Agency Proposed/Final Rule RIN Annual Costs (in millions)
DOT Final Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans 2132-AB23 71


November 2017
Agency Proposed/Final Rule RIN Annual Costs (in millions)
HUD Final Streamlining FHA Single Family Mortgage Insurance: 10-Year Protection Plan Requirements 2502-AJ40


December 2017
Agency Proposed/Final Rule RIN Annual Costs (in millions)
EPA Final Financial Responsibility Requirements Under CERCLA Section 108(b) for Classes of Facilities in the Hardrock Mining Industry 2050-AG61 171
EPA Final Renewable Fuel Volume Standards for 2018 and Biomass Based Diesel Volume (BBD) for 2019 2060-AT04 -70
FDIC Final Restrictions on Qualified Financial Contracts of Certain FDIC-Supervised Institutions 3064-AE46
DOT NPRM Unmanned Aircraft Systems Expanded Operations 2120-AL01
DOT Final Passenger Equipment Safety Standards Amendments (RRR) 2130-AC46 157.6


Long Term
Agency Proposed/Final Rule RIN Annual Costs (in millions)
DOE Final Energy Conservation Standards for Manufactured Housing 1904-AC11 220
HHS N/A Updated Standards for Labeling of Pet Food 0910-AG09
DOT N/A Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) Communication 2127-AL55 5,000
DOT/EPA N/A Passenger Car and Light Truck Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards MYs 2022-2025 2127-AL76 -4,200
DOT N/A High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program; Buy America Program Requirements 2130-AC23
EPA N/A Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs under the Clean Air Act 2050-AG82 -161
EPA N/A Review of the Clean Power Plan 2060-AT55 -8,400

Total Potential Costs: $6.2 Billion

Total Potential Cost Savings: $13.5 Billion


In this report, the administration repeatedly highlights its focus on deregulation, noting that “economically significant regulations fell to 58, or about 50 percent less than Fall 2016,” and claims it is “eliminating 16 old rules for every new one.” Unfortunately, in its current format, the UA does not provide a clear, definitive, uniform, or easily searchable indicator of which actions are regulatory and which are deregulatory. There are, however, other ways to illustrate such categories. For perspective, the following table includes the amount of planned rulemaking actions that include presumptively “deregulatory” terms:

Term Number of Rulemaking Actions
“Revise” 163
“Remove” 103
“Streamline” 32
“Eliminate” 32
“Rescind” 17
“Delay” 14
“Withdraw” 14
“Consolidate” 12
“Repeal” 11

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this breakdown is how “revised” rules seem to dominate the relative data pool. This suggests that, while the administration may be targeting some rules for full repeal, many of the deregulatory actions seek only to re-tool current rules.

Another way to help illustrate the relative novelty of this administration’s approach is to look at rulemaking actions for which this is the “First Time Published in The Unified Agenda.” The following graph highlights how, relative to the first Spring UA for the two preceding administrations (the only others for which data is digitally available), the Trump Administration has the highest count of “new” actions – with presumably many of them being deregulatory in nature:

One other tool the Trump Administration is using to rein in regulatory requirements is to simply stop proposals – most still in their formative stages under past agendas – from moving forward. To this end, OIRA notes how agencies have withdrawn 469 actions and placed 391 on either “long term” or “inactive” status. That makes for a total of 860 actions in the pipeline that will likely see little, if any, progress under this administration – nearly 300 more than the various “first time” actions it is proposing.


The UA provides a resource for determining what agencies plan to do in the near future. Each administration’s inaugural edition is particularly important as it helps illustrate the broad regulatory trends it intends to promote. In this regard, the first Trump UA is particularly significant. At least amongst a sample of its most notable planned actions, there appears to be a potential road to annual cost savings exceeding new costs by more than two-to-one – clearly synergistic with the one-in, two-out goal established by EO 13,771. From simple revisions to full repeals to simply squashing still-in-development regulations, the administration appears poised to utilize a variety of tools toward this end. Whether it achieves such goals in a timely fashion will be a matter of actual implementation.