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FOCUS ON DEREGULATION

This special report from Inside Washington Publishers, focused on the deregulatory efforts of the Trump administration, is the first of a series of reports on the administration's impact on the role and reach of the federal government.

President Trump's efforts to overhaul the federal regulatory process – by imposing new cost considerations and limitations on regulators – have prompted policy discussions throughout the government, including in Congress and the courts, along with what some say is the intended consequence of largely halting the development of new regulations.

President Trump's deregulation push faces an arduous process under the Administrative Procedure Act which could test the administration's commitment, and its dedication of resources, to carrying out its pledge for rescinding a host of existing regulations, according to former officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations.

President Trump’s call for an increase in federal funding for infrastructure upgrades includes as a key component streamlining environmental and other permitting requirements, changes that will likely face an uphill battle in Congress, even while the administration moves forward on many of these reforms through executive actions, sources said.

The legal challenge to President Trump’s deregulatory program is marked by starkly divergent views, with the challengers calling Trump’s plan unconstitutional and the administration arguing its actions fall squarely in the mainstream of past presidential actions.

The Trump administration's directives for cutting the number and cost of regulations have already forged a deregulation “habit” within federal agencies that will be difficult for future administrations to reverse, according to a senior official with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Congress is considering legislation that would codify much of what the Trump administration did in its initial days to suspend and review pending Obama-era rules before they took effect, a proposal that if enacted would establish in law a process for future administrations to delay implementation of regulations issued shortly before they took office to permit further review.

A major coalition of public interest groups warns that the Trump administration's suspension of Obama-era regulations has already harmed public health and safety, and that their lawsuit challenging the president’s action won’t undo some of that damage even if they win in the courts.

Litigation will largely shape the outcome of President Trump's deregulation push, while the administration's overall resistance to setting new regulatory requirements will bring major challenges for the government as emerging public safety and other issues are left unaddressed, according to a former Obama White House official.

White House efforts to establish a first-time “regulatory budget” would be assisted by the development of a cross-sector, “national constituency” in support of regulatory reviews conducted by the Office of Management and Budget, according to a former OMB official.