MARIAN P. CONNOLLY
JUST A NOTE
I was able to locate a copy
of the President's Memorandum
to agency heads on the
quickly. Here 'tis.
Marian P. Connolly
PO Box 27217
Washington, DC 20038
THE WHITE HOUSE
MEMORANDUM FOR CERTAIN DEPARTMENT AND AGENCY HEADS
SUBJECT: Reducing the Burden of Government Regulation
As you know, excessive regulation and red tape have imposed an enormous burden
on our economy-- a hidden tax on the average American household in the form of
higher prices for goods and services. Just as Americans have the right to
expect their government to spend tax dollars wisely, they have the right to
expect cost-effective and minimally burdensome regulation. Although the
Congress has thus far failed to pass most of the Administration's regulatory
reform proposals, there is much the Administration can and should do on its
own to reduce the burden of regulation.
A major part of this undertaking must be to weed out unnecessary and
burdensome government regulations, which impose needless costs on consumers
and substantially impede economic growth. We must be constantly vigilant to
avoid unnecessary regulation and red tape.
We must also remember that even those regulatory programs that may have been
justified when adopted often fail to keep pace with important innovations.
New technologies and markets can quickly make existing rules obsolete. By the
same token, existing regulations often impose unnecessary constraints on
emerging technologies and markets that could not have been foreseen at the
time the regulations were promulgated. Existing regulatory programs also need
to be revised to take advantage of regulatory innovations, such as the
flexible, market-based approaches to regulation that many of your agencies
have developed over the past few years.
I am concerned that, because of the constant pressure to develop new programs,
we are not doing nearly enough to review and revise existing programs. For
that reason, I ask that each of your agencies set aside a 90-day period,
beginning today, to evaluate existing regulations and programs and to identify
and accelerate action on initiatives that will eliminate any unnecessary
regulatory burden or otherwise promote economic growth. During this period,
agency resources should, to the maximum extent possible, be devoted to these
efforts. Specifically, I request that you take the following steps:
1. During the 90-day review period, your agency should work with the public,
other interested agencies, the Office of Information and Regulatory
Affairs, and the Council on Competitiveness to (i) identify each of your
agency's regulations and programs that impose a substantial cost on the
economy and (ii) determine whether each such regulation or program adheres
to the following standards:
(a) The expected benefits to society of any regulation should clearly outweigh the expected costs it imposes on society.
2. To the maximum extent permitted by law, and as soon as possible, your
agency should propose administrative changes (including repeal, where
appropriate) that will bring each regulation and program into conformity
with the standards set forth above. As you implement these proposals, you
should carefully order your agency's regulatory priorities to ensure that
programs imposing the largest unnecessary burden are the first to be
revised or eliminated.
3. You should designate, in consultation with the Council on Competitiveness,
a senior official to serve as your agency's permanent regulatory oversight
official. This person will be responsible for conducting the review, for
implementing the resulting proposals, and for ensuring that future
regulatory actions conform to the standards set forth in this memorandum
and in applicable Executive orders.
4. To the maximum extent permitted by law, and subject to the exceptions
listed below, your agency should refrain from issuing any proposed or
final rule during the 90-day review period. This moratorium on new
regulations will ensure that, to the maximum extent possible, agency
resources are devoted to reducing the regulatory burden on the economy.
Of course, you should not postpone any regulation that is subject to a
statutory or judicial deadline that falls during the review period. This
moratorium does not apply to:
(b) Regulations should be fashioned to maximize net benefits to society.
(c) To the maximum extent possible, regulatory agencies should set performance standards instead of prescriptive command-and-control requirements, thereby allowing the regulated community to achieve regulatory goals at the lowest possible cost.
(d) Regulations should incorporate market mechanisms to the maximum extent possible.
(e) Regulations should provide clarity and certainty to the regulated community and should be designed to avoid needless litigation.
(a) regulations that you determine, after consultation with the working
group of the Council on Competitiveness described below, will foster
(b) regulations that respond to emergencies such as situations that pose
an imminent danger to human health or safety;
(c) regulations that you determine, after consultation with the working
group of the Council on Competititveness described below, are
essential to a criminal law enforcement function of the United
(d) regulations issued with respect to a military or foreign affairs
function of the United States;
5. At the end of the review period, each agency should submit a written
report to me. Each report should indicate the regulatory changes
recommended or made during the review period and the potential savings to
the economy of those changes, including an estimate of the number of jobs
that will be created. It should also include a summary of any regulatory
programs that are left unchanged and an explanation of how such programs
are consistent with the regulatory standards set forth in paragraph 1
The 90-day review, and the preparation of the reports described in paragraph 5
above, will be coordinated by a working group of the Council on
Competitiveness, chaired by the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
and the Counsel to the President.
I look forward to your reports on this important undertaking. I am confident
that, with your help, the executive branch can do much to create conditions
conducive to a healthy and robust economy.
(e) regulations related solely to agency organization, management, or
(f) formal regulations required by statute to be made on the record after
opportunity for an agency hearing.
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