In July, President Obama issued an executive order requiring independent agencies to comb through their books and axe obsolete or harmful rules. A similar order for cabinet-level agencies in January saved an estimated $1.5 billion in regulatory costs, or a little less than 0.1 percent of total annual federal regulatory costs.
The order gives agencies 100 days to act. The FCC struck a little early by announcing yesterday it was getting rid of 83 rules. The White House is expected to release the final package for all independent agencies today. Total estimated savings are $10 billion over five years. Combined with the earlier executive order, federal regulatory costs could go from $1.752 trillion per year to about $1.749 trillion per year.
One of the rules the FCC is chucking is the Fairness Doctrine, which empowers the FCC to regulate the ideology of political programming. It hasn’t been enforced since 1987 because it violates the First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech”). But until now, nobody thought to actually remove it from the Code of Federal Regulations. It’s been sitting there the whole time!
Other hygienic measures the FCC is taking include “the deletion of obsolete “broadcast flag,” cable programming service tier rate, and broadcast applications and proceedings rules,” according to an FCC press release.
The repeals will become official upon publication in the Federal Register.