Rep. Meadows Introduces Legislation to Lock In Regulatory Budgeting

By Jarrett Dieterle

Rep. Mark Meadows recently introduced H.R. 2623, which would codify President Donald Trump’s “two-out-one-in” deregulatory executive order. That order requires agencies to eliminate two old regulations for every new one they enact and also establishes a type of regulatory budget that caps the amount of regulatory costs agencies can impose on the economy during a given year.

As R Street has previously argued, codifying executive branch actions is particularly important when it comes to deregulation. Codification ensures that deregulatory efforts are locked in and not subject to reversal by a future president.

Meadows’s bill would ensure statutory lock-in, but unlike past regulatory budget legislation, it stops short of tasking Congress with setting the regulatory budget, instead granting that responsibility to the Office of Management and Budget within the executive branch.

While such a structure may be the best short-term option for codifying a regulatory budget, ideally Congress would be the branch responsible for setting the amount of regulatory costs agencies can impose each year. A further concern could be ensuring that OMB has the resources and manpower necessary to institute the regulatory budget.  

Regardless, Meadows bill represents a step toward a more sustainable deregulatory effort.

C. Jarrett Dieterle is governance project fellow with the R Street Institute. His research focuses on strengthening Congress and restoring its role as the First Branch in the U.S. system of separated powers. He also conducts research on regulatory reform, alcohol policy and commercial freedom issues.