On his first day in office, President Trump instructed Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, to send a memo to all executive agencies imposing a regulatory moratorium that effectively froze all pending rules and regulations proposed by the Obama administration on their way out of Washington D.C. Now, accorded to a new study from the American Action Forum, that simple one-page memo from Priebus potentially saved Americans $180 billion.
According to American Action Forum (AAF) research, this memo put a hold on $181 billion in total regulatory costs, including $17 billion in annual costs, and 5.5 million hours of paperwork. This moratorium freezes 22 rulemakings with annual costs above $100 million and 16 measures with more than $1 billion in long-term costs.
From vehicle-to-vehicle communications to efficiency standards for air conditioners and furnaces, Obama's parting regulations ran the gamut.
The largest rules subject to the moratorium are a mix of those still in the proposed stage, recently finalized, and concluded but not yet published. Below are the top five rules likely subject to the regulatory freeze:
- Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications: $108 billion in total costs
- Efficiency Standards for Air Conditioners: $12.3 billion in total costs
- Efficiency Standards for Furnaces: $9.2 billion in total costs
- Hospital and Critical Access Reform: $5.7 billion in total costs
- Efficiency Standards for Uninterruptible Power Supplies: $4.6 billion in total costs
Shockingly, while tiny compared to the $180 billion price tag of his new regulations, Obama did offer up $1.9 billion of cost savings tied to a new energy efficiency rule and a reorganization of the Food Stamp Program, among other things.
There are some regulations the Trump Administration might consider allowing soon. There are at least 18 recently-finalized or still-proposed measures that reduce compliance burdens. There are five additional regulations that claim notable reductions in federal paperwork. Combined, these deregulatory rules could save $1.9 billion in total costs and 41.4 million hours of paperwork.
The largest measure by far is a DOE proposal on general service lamps. It claims to eliminate $1.4 billion in regulatory burdens ($93 million annually) by lowering the purchase price of lamps and increasing their efficiency. The rulemaking also claims $481 million in benefits.
In a bit of a last-minute surprise, the Obama Administration revised its Food Stamp Program (SNAP) for eligibility and certification. As AAF detailed in the past, the previous Food Stamp paperwork burden went from 24 million hours to 118 million hours. The revised SNAP rule aims to cut 40.5 million hours of paperwork and save $286 million annually. The rule has an effective date of March 7, 2017, so it could fall under criteria three of the moratorium, but after a review, the measure could be a good candidate to keep.
Frankly, we find it shocking that America has managed to operate for the past 11 days without these parting regulatory gifts from the Obama administration.