- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama on Tuesday ordered a review of federal regulations with an eye toward getting rid of those that stifle job creation and hurt economic growth, a move aimed at both soothing anger over the government’s reach and mending Obama’s relationship with the business community.

The president signed an executive order telling federal agencies to look for rules that place an unreasonable burden on businesses. Specifically, Mr. Obama said any regulations must reduce uncertainty, be written in plain language, be built upon public participation, and identify the “least burdensome tools” for achieving the goals of the new government rules.

In an opinion column in the Wall Street Journal, the president also said he wants agencies to look for outdated regulations that make the U.S. economy less competitive.

“It’s a review that will help bring order to regulations that have become a patchwork of overlapping rules, the result of tinkering by administrations and legislators of both parties and the influence of special interests in Washington over decades,” Mr. Obama wrote.

The order comes as Republican lawmakers, emboldened by broad victories in the midterm elections, move to scrap many of the administration’s programs and regulations, from the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations on greenhouse gases to regulation of the Internet.

Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote 150 trade associations, companies and think tanks last month seeking to identify regulations that businesses believe hurt job creation. He also named GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio to chair a new subcommittee that will investigate wasteful spending and federal regulations.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday’s executive order was not tied to GOP action on Capitol Hill, and said the review had been in the works for several months.

Agencies have 120 days to submit a plan for how they intend to review existing regulations, and officials said it was too soon to say how their reviews could impact regulations already on the books, including the contentious greenhouse gas restrictions.

The administration is hoping that the review, with its emphasis on eliminating regulations that limit the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, is another step toward repairing Mr. Obama’s relationship with the private sector. Corporate America is sitting on $2 trillion in assets, but has been reluctant to make investments and hire more people, in part because of uncertainty over government regulations and tax policies.

Mr. Obama has acknowledged that he needed to better manage his relationship with the private sector. He held a five-hour meeting with CEOs in December; he named William Daley, a business executive, as his new chief of staff; and next month, he’ll speak at the Chamber of Commerce, a trade group that has battled his top policy initiatives on health care and financial regulation.

Officials at the Chamber said Tuesday they were still studying the president’s executive order.

Aric Newhouse, senior vice president at the National Association of Manufacturers, said the regulatory review was a positive step toward job growth.

“This is an opportunity for the president to demonstrate results by eliminating unnecessary regulations already in the pipeline or delaying poorly thought-out proposals that are costing jobs,” said Mr. Newhouse, singling out EPA regulations as among those that are a threat to U.S. jobs.

While the review aims to streamline regulations, Mr. Obama said federal agencies won’t shy away from addressing regulatory gaps, such as new safety rules for infant formula and procedures that stop preventable infections from spreading in hospitals.

“We are also making it our mission to root out regulations that conflict, that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb,” the president wrote.

Other regulations, such as the Clean Air Act or child labor laws, are necessary to prevent abuse, he wrote, and “strengthen our country without unduly interfering with the pursuit of progress and the growth of our economy,” he wrote.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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