The Carter administration's regulatory change team yesterday issued its first status report on efforts to "streamline and simplify the regulatory system."
Progress in reducing paperwork was the first topic of the press conference held by the chief architects of the regulatory package yesterday.They said they had reached a preliminary goal of cutting paperwork by 10 per cent.
Although "we had expected that we would be further along with legislation." W. Harrison Wellford, who heads up the effort for the Office of Management and Budget, said he felt the progress to date has been satisfactory.
"This is a tremendously complicated system," he told reporters.
But significant progress was reported in the field of airline deregulation. White House Domestic Policy Staffer Mary Schuman described how the administration formulated legislation now pending before the Congress.
"At the beginning of the year we only had one vote on the Commerce Committee for deregulation," she said, "and in October the committee voted out the bill by a 13.3 margin."
She said the deregulation effort had to be especially strong to offset the powerful airline lobby "that did not want deregulation."
"President Carter called the chairman of the committee twice to urge him to get going," she said, "and he met individually with senators who were skeptical."
The pending legislation will reduce the role of the Civil Aeronautics Board in regulating fares and entry by airlines into new markets.
Simon Lazarus, associate director of the Domestic Council, said the administration has not yet decided whether or not to propose legislation in the field of motor carrier deregulation.
A fact sheet distributed yesterday cited Interstate Commerce Commission chairman Dan O'Neal for his actions towards implementing several changes there.
Wellford said the work of the task force, called the President's Reorganization Project, was being divided into two areas: Improving management of the regulatory process, and reducing unnecessary federal regulatory interference in the private sector.
He said previous administrations had concentrated their efforts on extending the range of regulation.
"So little time was spent on the goals of effective administration," Wellford said. He said the team was on the "threshold of substantial progress," in its efforts along that line.
Other accomplishments alluded to in the fact sheet included:
A Labor Department annoucement that Secretary Ray Marshall would be revoking 1,100 of the present 5,500 job-safety standards "which burden employees without contributing to wonder safety and health.
"The standards that will be revoked include rules governing the size of fire extingiushers, the size and shape of exist signs and design specifications for toilet seats and ladders.
The Justice Department has taken a leading role in promoting reform of a economic regulations. The Anti Trust Division has supported low-fare airline route authority in CAB proceedings and the expansion of charter services. It has also participated in ICC actions aimed at granting easier entry and eliminating wasteful practices.
The Internal Revenue Service was praised for its efforts to simplify tax forms.
The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing outdated trade practice rules and industry standards.
In all, Wellford said, the agencies have been "extremely cooperative." He said congressional reaction to the draft executive order on regulatory "reform" proposed last month has been encouraging.