the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

Search form

Final Regulatory Reform Plans Will Save Money, Reduce Waste

Rules are expected to save more than $4 billion over the next five years.

In January of this year, the President emphasized that our regulatory system “must measure, and seek to improve, the actual results of regulatory requirements.” With this point in mind, he ordered an unprecedentedly ambitious government-wide review of existing federal regulations. He directed agencies and departments to produce plans to eliminate red tape and to streamline current requirements.

Today, we are announcing that agencies are releasing their final regulatory reform plans, including hundreds of initiatives that will reduce costs, simplify the system, and eliminate redundancy and inconsistency.

As the plans demonstrate, a great deal has been achieved in a short time. Significant burden-reducing rules have been finalized or publicly proposed from the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Transportation. These rules are expected to save more than $4 billion over the next five years.

The reforms announced today span a wide range. Consider just a few examples:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services will soon propose to remove unnecessary regulatory and reporting requirements now imposed on hospitals and other healthcare providers, potentially saving an anticipated $4 billion over the next five years.
  • The Department of Labor is finalizing a rule to simplify and to improve hazard warnings for workers, likely saving employers over $2.5 billion over the next five years without compromising safety.
  • The Department of Transportation is proposing a rule, announced just today, that will eliminate unnecessary regulation of the railroad industry, saving up to $340 million in the near future, and avoiding the risk that regulatory costs will be passed onto consumers.
  • By the end of this year, the Internal Revenue Service will eliminate 55 million hours in annual paperwork burdens by consolidating reporting requirements and streamlining various tax forms.

Many of the new reforms focus specifically on small business. For example, the Department of Defense recently issued a new rule to accelerate payments on contracts to as many as 60,000 small businesses, thus improving their cash flow in an economically difficult time.

Over the next five years, the monetized savings from just a fraction of the reforms announced today are likely to exceed $10 billion. Perhaps more important, today’s plans explicitly recognize that the regulatory lookback is not a one-time endeavor. Agencies will continue to revisit existing rules, asking whether they should be updated, streamlined, or repealed.  And they will do so in close consultation with the public. Ideas are welcome at any time.

Today’s cost-reducing reforms complement, and do not displace, our continuing efforts to safeguard public safety and our environment. As President Obama has said, “We can make our economy stronger and more competitive, while meeting our fundamental responsibilities to one another.” We will continue to eliminate unjustified regulatory costs, and thus strengthen our economy, while taking sensible, cost-effective, evidence-based steps to protect public health and welfare.