President Trump Slowing the Growth of Federal Regulations, Show Reports

Published November 2, 2017

President Donald Trump has slowed the pace of federal regulations by a record amount. Two independent reports show Trump has, by a large margin, issued many fewer regulations by this period in his administration than any President going back to President Ronald Reagan.

A Competitive Enterprise Institute report shows Trump reduced the rate of growth of the government’s rulebook, the Federal Register, by 32 percent. By September 30, Trump had added just 45,678 pages to the Federal Register compared to former President Barack Obama who by this time in 2016 had added 67,900 pages to the Federal Register.

In nine months, the Trump administration has issued 2,183 rules, many of which were in the pipeline when he came into office and others required by statute, compared to 2,686 rules Obama issued during the same time period in 2016 – an 18 percent reduction. The comparison between Trump and Obama on major rules, those estimated to have more than $100 million impact on the economy, is even more stark with Trump issuing 58 percent fewer major rules than Obama over the same nine month time period.

Looking forward, Trump has proposed 28 percent fewer regulations over all compared to the corresponding time frame during Obama’s final year, including a dramatic decline in proposed major rules: Trump has proposed 65 compared to Obama having proposed 290, amounting to a 77 percent decrease.

‘Fairer And Simpler’

Clyde Wayne Crews, vice-president of policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the author of CEI’s study, notes Trump’s deregulatory efforts will help in his push to improve the overall economy.

“Getting rid of complicated and unnecessary rules would create a fairer and simpler system that will help get America working for everyone,” wrote Crews in his report. “The combination of regulatory reform and tax reform would jumpstart the economy, finally resulting in the economic relief Americans have been waiting for: more jobs and higher wages.

“It would also help small business owners, driving more growth, investment, and productivity,” Crews wrote.

Crews says just looking at the absolute number of regulations issued understates the reduction in regulations under Trump since one of Trump’s executive orders requires agencies to eliminate at least two rules for every new regulation adopted, and to ensure net new regulatory costs of for the 2017 budget year is zero. Since rescinding a regulation, requires a new regulation be written to do so, many of the regulations the Trump administration has issued actually reduce the regulatory burden overall.

Economic Costs Avoided

Another report, this one by by the American Action Forum (AAF) details some of the avoided economic costs from some of regulations the Trump administration has stopped. AAF estimates Trump’s deregulatory efforts have saved the economy more than $645 million in net annual savings so far.

In fiscal year 2018 if President Trump has his way, the United States might see an actual decline in regulatory costs, rather than just a reduction in growth as an August 18 directive from Neomi Rao, administrator Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget, says beginning in budget year 2018, regulatory agencies should plan for a net reduction in regulatory costs, not just the net zero costs required in 2017.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.


Clyde Wayne Crews, “Red Tape Rollback: Trump Least-Regulatory President Since Reagan,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, October 1, 2017:

Dan Goldbeck, “One Month Out: A One-In, Two Out Program Status Report,” American Action Forum, September 19, 2017: