The White House said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s administration has cut regulations that cost the United States a total of $23 billion in the past year.
The administration said that it could even quadruple the number next year once it repeals key environmental rules for vehicles. It was not clear though how the figures were calculated.
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said in a statement that the report proves that the president has delivered on his promise to “correct the wrongs of the past.”
Shortly after taking office, the president issued a series of executive orders that aimed to curb regulations. Agencies were required to eliminate at least two regulations for each new one.
“This president was determined to correct the wrongs of the past so that Americans could once again be free to grow their businesses, provide for their families and make their own decisions,” Mulvaney said, according to Bloomberg. “Today’s report proves that President Trump is delivering on that promise.”
According to the Washington Examiner, a senior administration official told reporters that the president has sent a clear message from the start that he wanted agencies to eliminate unnecessary rules and ineffective regulations.
The official said that previous administrations have only added regulatory costs instead of subtracted them, and noted that in the fiscal year 2018 alone, agencies under the current administration have slashed $23 billion in overall regulatory costs.
According to The Hill, the official said that federal agencies were able to eliminate a total of 176 regulations. Of these, 57 were considered significant, which the administration classifies as those with an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more.
Regulatory advocates, however, criticized the Trump White House for eliminating the rules that benefit society, such as those that aim to achieve cleaner air and water as well as those that fight climate change.
The Hill also noted that the White House released a draft report to Congress at the beginning of the year that appears to be at odds with the administration’s claim that regulations burden the economy.
The report showed that for the period between 2002 and 2016, the annual benefits of regulations outweigh the yearly costs.
The administration official nonetheless told reporters that those reports reflect agency estimates of cost and benefits of the rules prior to their implementation, and these number usually change later on.
“For both deregulatory and regulatory actions benefits have to outweigh the costs,” the official said. “We’re not eliminating regulations that are working.”