Obama orders review of US govt regulations

President Barack Obama on Tuesday ordered a government-wide review of regulations with the goal of eliminating those that hurt job creation and make the US economy less competitive.

Obama took action after unveiling his plan in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal in which he said some rules have placed “unreasonable burdens on business — burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs.”

The executive order marked Obama’s latest move to repair relations with US business, which were frayed amid bitter debate over his overhauls of Wall Street regulations and healthcare that some business leaders said would stymie corporate America.

Obama has struck a more business-friendly tone since his Democrats lost the US House of Representatives and saw their Senate majority reduced in November congressional elections widely seen as a verdict on his handling of the stumbling economy and persistently high unemployment.

It was not immediately clear, however, how far-reaching Obama’s new regulatory strategy would be in changing the way the federal government operates.

Despite Obama’s promise, the administration’s legislative victories are producing dozens of new regulations, on everything from credit card fees to health insurance premium increases, to the annoyance of the business community.

Obama said he would require that in the future, government agencies “ensure that regulations protect our safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth.”

He also issued a memorandum to all executive agencies calling for “more transparency and accountability in regulatory compliance” and a second one on the need to “reduce burdens on small businesses whenever possible,” the White House said.

Business leaders say government regulations, including those being written for the healthcare and financial reform, have hurt job creation at a time of nearly double-digit unemployment.

“It’s a review that will help bring order to regulations that have become a patchwork of overlapping rules, the result of tinkering by administrations and legislators of both parties and the influence of special interests in Washington over decades,” Obama wrote.

The president, noting that small businesses create most new jobs in the economy, also said he would direct the government to make a greater effort to reduce the burden regulations place on them.

While vowing to eliminate rules that are “not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb,” the president said his administration would not shy away from writing new rules to address “obvious gaps” in government oversight.