White House Rolls Back Regulations

Aug 23, 2011
Originally published on August 23, 2011 6:23 pm
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ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

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NPR's Ari Shapiro reports it's also part of an effort to push back against his administration's reputation for being hostile to business.

ARI SHAPIRO: During a rural town hall meeting in Atkinson, Illinois, last week, a farmer named Rod Catchdig said to President Obama, please don't challenge us with more rules and regulations from Washington, D.C.

ROD CATCHDIG: We would prefer to start our day in a tractor cab or a combine cab rather than filling out forms and permits to do what we like to do.

SHAPIRO: The crowd applauded and Republican presidential candidates have been sounding the same theme. Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry have all talked about regulations in New Hampshire recently.

MITT ROMNEY: A mass of regulators that are simply out of touch...

MICHELE BACHMANN: What we need to do is pass the mother of all repeal bills, but it's the repeal bill that will get a job killing regulation.

RICK PERRY: Get taxes and regulations back down where they're not stepping on you guys' throats. I don't know what you do.

SHAPIRO: In January, he asked his administration to review all the rules on the books and then made the agencies release draft plans to undo the rules that are outdated, redundant or plain dumb. Now, those plans are final. Cass Sunstein, who oversees the project, spoke to reporters on a conference call.

CASS SUNSTEIN: We haven't had, really, in history, this kind of disdained, presidentially-driven, enhanced process for look-back. There's never been anything of this level of ambition, so we have 801 pages for you and they list hundreds of reforms.

SHAPIRO: Rosario Palmieri is the vice president of regulatory policy at the National Association of Manufacturers.

ROSARIO PALMIERI: We are constantly faced with new additional, we believe, unnecessary burdens that we're attempting to deal with and convince this administration to go forward in the least burdensome way or to not go forward at all when they have that discretion.

SHAPIRO: Gary Bass of the Bauman Foundation says regulations that keep Americans safe exist for a reason.

GARY BASS: We've tried letting corporate CEOs and politicians police themselves and we paid the price in American lives and in health.

SHAPIRO: Rich Wobbekind is the group's president.

RICH WOBBEKIND: It's a good regulatory environment, but most economists want to see, you know, a great regulatory environment. Regulate the things that encourage transparency, but don't regulate the things that slow job growth or just add costs to small business.

SHAPIRO: Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.