Attorney General Ken Paxton today led a 16-state coalition of governors and state attorneys general in urging President Trump to extend greater regulatory oversight to independent federal agencies. The existing regulatory review process requires some—but not all—federal agencies to send their proposed regulations to the White House for review. Independent agencies, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are currently exempt from executive regulatory oversight even though their rules have an enormous impact on workplaces across the U.S.
“We’re suggesting President Trump sign an executive order requiring independent agencies to submit their rules for White House review, just as other federal agencies must do,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The existing framework leaves American workplaces at the risk of rules that may rely on incorrect data and assumptions, that are based on politics, not expertise, or that are inconsistent with other rules. Accountable government requires some oversight over our independent regulators.”
When the existing oversight system was put in place nearly four decades ago, independent agencies were not responsible for nearly as many economically significant rules as they are today. An Obama-era report found that independent agencies now issue just as many economically significant rules – defined as having more than $100 million of annual impact – as non-exempt agencies.
“There is a significant gap in our nation’s regulatory oversight framework that threatens our workplaces, states, and communities with costly rules that were not effectively vetted,” Attorney General Paxton stated in his letter.
The multi-state coalition is asking President Trump to fill this gap. “Such an action,” Attorney General Paxton said, “would complement the president’s successful and ongoing efforts to roll back the administrative state and the worst excesses of the Obama-era.”
Last week, President Trump announced that his “1-in-2-out” rule – which requires the federal government to do away with two regulations for every new rule it creates – canceled or delayed more than 1,500 regulatory actions. As a result, federal agencies achieved $8.1 billion in lifetime net regulatory cost savings, the equivalent of $570 million annually.
In October, Attorney General Paxton led a 12-state coalition in filing a friend-of-the-court brief challenging the constitutionality of the CFPB and its Arbitration Rule, which President Trump subsequently rescinded. Earlier this month, a Texas-led 13-state coalition filed a brief with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia supporting the president’s authority to appoint a temporary director of the CFPB, after its outgoing director appointed his own successor.
Joining Attorney General Paxton on the letter are the governors of Maine and Mississippi, and the attorneys general of Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.