President Donald Trump signed executive orders Wednesday afternoon that are designed to take much of the sting out of what conservatives believe is an out-of-control administrative state.
The orders will limit the use of a tool the Trump administration believes short-circuits the rule-making process. They take aim at federal guidance, which agencies can use to explain how they intend to implement policy. The Wall Street Journal reported on the orders Tuesday.
The orders are expected to dramatically reduce the impact a key element of the country’s regulatory infrastructure has on businesses and Americans, according to White House spokesman Judd Deere.
Trump is signing “two EO’s protecting the rights of American families and small businesses against bureaucratic abuse as he continues to hold government agencies accountable to the taxpayers,” Deere told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement ahead of the order.
“Many Americans learn of the rule only when agents come knocking on their door,” Trump said Wednesday at the White House of federal guidance rules. “Americans will no longer be subject to hidden rules.”
The president has long throttled what he believes to be the deep state, or the idea that agencies often make their own rules without oversight from Congress.
The order gives Americans the opportunity to express their opinion before being targeted with fines and regulations. It will be the agency’s duty to inform Americans of any new rules that might affect their lives and businesses, the president noted.
Conservatives made similar comments, with some Republican critics saying guidance lets the government make policy decisions without allowing the public to comment on the measures. Federal guidance can be created quickly, unlike regulations, which are subject to lengthy reviews.
Critics frequently cite examples where past administrations leaned on federal guidance for end-around policy creation. For instance, the Treasury Department delayed the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate in 2013 and the tax penalty for non-compliance without public comment.
Trump’s decision to sign the order comes as the Democrats begin their impeachment inquiry into the president. The inquiry is based on a whistleblower complaint charging that Trump asked Ukraine to probe former Vice President Joe Biden for allegedly urging the country to fire a prosecutor who at one time was conducting an investigation related to a company with ties to Biden’s son.
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