White House Releases a Regulatory Agenda to Advance Its Priorities
Addressing the climate crisis, promoting racial equity and helping small businesses are high on the administration’s list.
The White House on Friday published its first regulatory agenda, which aims to advance some of the Biden administration’s top goals, including addressing the climate crisis, promoting greater racial and social equity and helping small businesses.
“The agenda includes regulatory protections to help build an economy that makes it easier for families to break into the middle class and stay in the middle class; to dismantle persistent and systemic inequities; and to adopt a clean energy future for a healthier, safer, and more just tomorrow,” Sharon Block, acting administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote. It “continues rolling back the obstacles to recovery, equity, and sustainability that the prior administration put in place, such as making it significantly harder for families to challenge discriminatory housing practices and emboldening corporate polluters as they continued to harm people and communities.”
Some of the specific goals of the agenda include: reducing lead and man-man chemicals in drinking water, increasing pipeline safety, easing requirements for small businesses to refinance their debt, strengthening protections against discrimination in health programs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fortifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“The last four years offered a clear lesson on what happens when the executive branch fails to uphold its responsibility to protect the American people,” said Block. “Our first regulatory agenda demonstrates our commitment to reversing this trend and using every tool available to meet the challenges of the moment and support a robust and equitable economic recovery.”
Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate for the nonprofit Public Citizen, said in a statement the agenda “appears to reflect the Biden administration’s understanding that regulation is a key avenue to advance policies that make our government work for the American people and not corporate special interests.” He also noted, “congressional gridlock due to Republican obstruction underscores the importance of protecting the public through regulation.”
The regulation priorities mirror the president’s budget proposal for fiscal 2022 released on May 28 as well as his executive orders and other actions Biden and his administration have taken.
Rolling back federal regulations was a cornerstone policy of the Trump administration, although many rollbacks didn’t hold up in court and the administration didn’t always meet its goal of eliminating two regulations for every new regulation issued.
Biden has yet to name a nominee to permanently lead OIRA or the Office of Management and Budget, which houses OIRA.