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President Signs Executive Order on Regulatory Relief for Economic Recovery

May 22, 2020

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Heather Pierce, Sr. Director, Science Policy & Regulatory Counsel

President Donald Trump signed an executive order, “Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery,” on May 20 that requires the heads of federal agencies to remove regulatory barriers to support the nation’s economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Citing the high rate of unemployment claims and other economic impacts of COVID-19, the order  directs federal agencies to “address this economic emergency by rescinding, modifying, waiving, or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery.”

The executive order also asked the heads of federal agencies to “review any regulatory standards they have temporarily rescinded, suspended, modified, or waived during the public health emergency, … and other regulatory flexibilities they have implemented in response to COVID-19, whether before or after issuance of this order, and determine which, if any, would promote economic recovery if made permanent.” The result of the review must be reported to the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the assistant to the president for domestic policy, and the assistant to the president for economic policy.

The OMB was instructed to monitor agency compliance with this order and may issue memoranda as guidance to the agencies and set deadlines for reporting the regulatory review.

This regulatory relief order follows the administration’s focus on reducing regulations and regulatory burden. In January 2017, the president issued EO 13771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” which sought to cut regulations across all agencies [see Washington Highlights, February 9, 2017].

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