Time to Permanently Sunset Waived #NeverNeeded Regulations

Many regulations have proven especially harmful during the COVID-19 crisis. This is why roughly 600 rules have been waived so far, according to Americans for Tax Reform’s handy tracker. But many of those waivers are temporary. Those temporary waivers should be made permanent.

One of the principles behind CEI’s #NeverNeeded campaign is that if a rule is not needed during a crisis, it was probably never needed at all.

We are not the only ones making such arguments. Sens. David Perdue (R-GA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Lee (R-UT),  Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) write in a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) acting director Russell Vought, who faces a Senate vote this week to remove “acting” from his job title:

[W]e urge you to work with the Administration to sunset all federal regulations that have been waived and continue to be waived during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing the rules to go back through the regulatory process to determine whether these regulations should be temporary or permanent. Consistent cost-benefit analysis and retrospective review on all regulations, including those produced by independent agencies, will help to ensure they will not cause undue harm in the future.

These are excellent suggestions. The COVID-era information we now have about the waived rules’ usefulness should play a role in deciding whether they are reinstated.

It is heartening that U.S. Senators are acting on regulatory reform when it is so urgently needed. Sunsetting waived rules is important. But there is more to do. Regulatory reform is a long-haul project.

The Code of Federal Regulations is more than 185,000 pages long. By any reasonable standard, that is far too much. Paring it down to a reasonable level is important not just for dealing with the COVID crisis more effectively, but for resiliency against the next crisis. We’re off to a good start. Now the job is to maintain momentum.

The Senators’ full letter is here. For more ideas on how to do so, see neverneeded.cei.org and CEI’s Ten Thousand Commandments study.

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