This story has been updated.
President Obama on Tuesday wrote a letter to House Speaker John Boehner defending his administration’s regulatory agenda, though he acknowledged that only seven proposed regulations have a projected annual cost of more than $1 billion.
The missive comes four days after Boehner (R-Ohio) sent a letter to Obama requesting information on costly federal rules. It also comes as the White House has begun rolling out a new effort to overhaul government regulations with an eye toward saving as much as $10 billion over the next five years. Obama first announced the move, Executive Order 13563, in January.
“Executive Order 13563, issued early this year, imposes a series of new requirements designed to reduce regulatory burdens and costs,” Obama wrote to Boehner. “As you are undoubtedly aware, this Executive Order also called for an ambitious Government-wide review of rules now on the books. The review was recently completed, producing reform plans from 26 agencies. A mere fraction of the initiatives described in the plans will save more than $10 billion over the next 5 years; as progress continues, we expect to be able to deliver savings far in excess of that figure.”
Obama responded to Boehner’s criticism of the cost of government regulations by noting that “the costs of final, economically significant rules reviewed by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs were actually higher in 2007 and 2008 than in the first 2 years of my Administration.” He also argued that in 2009 and 2010, the benefits of those rules “exceeded the costs by tens of billions of dollars.”
On the seven rules that are projected to cost $1 billion or more, Obama argued that the regulations are “merely proposed” and that “before finalizing any of them, we will take account of public comments and concerns and give careful consideration to cost-saving possibilities and alternatives.”
The seven regulations include three Department of Transportation rules and four Environmental Protection Agency rules – including one, the Reconsideration of the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards, that is projected to cost between $19 billion and $90 billion.
Boehner responded Tuesday afternoon by calling on the White House to disclose the projected costs of all of its new significant regulatory actions.
“Given this new information disclosed today, I believe it is the Administration’s responsibility to now make public the detailed cost estimates for all 219 of the new ‘economically significant’ regulatory actions it has planned, so that the American people can see the total cost of these government rules on private-sector job creation in our country,” Boehner said.