Why do we need Federal Regulations?

Why do we need Federal Regulations?

The Executive Order requiring the repeal of two regulations for each new one is totally naïve and bad governance.  To reach that conclusion, you must know how laws get implemented.

When Congress passes a new law, how do you think it gets implemented?  The Legislative Branch of the Federal Government writes the laws, but it is the President and the Administrative Branch that writes the implementing regulations.  This essential function of government is carried out by the various Departments and Agencies via the Code of Federal Regulations, abbreviated CFR.  The authority to issue regulations is delegated from the President to the head of each Department or Agency, and statutes generally start with words like “Under such regulations the Secretary may issue…”

So how does a Department issue implementing regulations for a new law?  It is in fact a highly transparent process.  Regulations are drafted and published in the Federal Register for 45 days or longer for public comment.  All public comments are addressed and reconciled in the preamble to the final regulations.  When the final regulations are published in the Federal Register, the preamble includes a discussion of the new law that is being implemented along with a summary of the legislative history.  If the regulation has an economic impact on the public, the preamble also includes that analysis.  Thus, when you want to research the purpose and need for a particular regulation, you must go the Federal Register for the date the regulation was issued.  When a final regulation is published in the CFR, it does not include all of the background information you will find in the Federal Register.

US CapitalAt the time a regulation is implemented, it reflects the intent of Congress and the current administration.  When a new President of the opposite party is sworn in, policy changes are sure to follow.  Within the intent of the governing laws, the President can direct Departments and Agencies to rescind or rewrite the implementing regulations to reflect his new policies.  If a policy the new President wants conflicts with the existing laws, then he must work with the Congress to revise those laws, and only then issue new implementing regulations.

Our President has indiscriminately concluded that ALL government programs are equally over regulated and has taken a simplistic meat cleaver approach to force Departments and Agencies to reduce the number of regulations.  It is totally ignorant and armature to conclude that over regulation is directly related to the number of regulations in the CFR.  No Federal regulation should ever be revised or rescinded without prior research to understand the purpose, need and Congressional intent of the governing statues.   Outdated regulations should be revised or rescinded through an orderly process equally rigorous to the process that created them, including a public comment period.

As Congress passes new laws, under this Executive Order, a Department or Agency must determine which existing policies and programs they must damage or destroy by rescinding the implementing regulations to make room for the regulations needed to implement the new law.

Good governance is hard work and cannot result when necessary regulations are directed to be sacrificed under a totally arbitrary 2 for 1 formula.  This is a lazy approach resulting in bad governance.

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