The president’s regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, reported to the council that the administration’s efforts to cut needless rules and regulations in its first three years are resulting in a much greater benefit to industry than the same period during the administration of President George W. Bush.
“The bulk of regulatory costs in the last five years have been from the previous administration,” Mr. Sunstein said.
Last week, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue said an “avalanche” of new regulations, including more than 200 in the works at the Environmental Protection Agency and 447 rules from the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, caused “a big drag on our economy.”
A review of the Obama administration’s first 33 months found that the number of significant federal rules, defined as those costing industry more than $100 million, rose to 129, compared with 90 under Mr. Bush during the same time frame.
Council member Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast Corp. and a wealthy donor who hosted Mr. Obama at his home on Martha’s Vineyard last summer, told the president he must do a better job of convincing the public that he has succeeded at cutting red tape.
“Brian, that’s music to my ears,” Mr. Obama said. “The gap between perception and practice on this is probably greater than any other area.”
Other members of the jobs council include Steve Case, former chairman of AOL; Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric Co.; Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and CEO of American Express Co.; Ellen Kullman, chairman and CEO of DuPont Co.; Paul S. Otellini, president and CEO of Intel Corp.; Penny Pritzker, chairwoman of Pritzker Realty Group; Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook; Laura D. Tyson, a former Clinton administration official on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley; and Robert Wolf, president of UBS Investment Bank.
Several council members are big-money donors to Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign. Ms. Pritzker served as national finance chairwoman for the Obama campaign in 2008. She and Mr. Wolfe are “bundlers” who have raised at least $2.7 million for Mr. Obama in 2008 and this election cycle.
The president congratulated the council, which he appointed a year ago, for its hard work.
“This has not been a show council,” Mr. Obama said. “This has been a work council.”
The panel has generated dozens of mostly modest proposals since its inception. Mr. Obama has acted or begun to act on 33 of 35 recommendations that can be accomplished by executive action. Another 17 proposals would require congressional action.