Donald Trump signs executive order to cut regulatory burden on business

U.S. President Donald Trump has signed an executive order meant to lessen federal regulations on small businesses, a move that is in line with his campaign promise to cut red tape in Washington.

U.S. president hints at 'doing a big number' on Dodd-Frank banking law

U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order cutting regulations, accompanied by small business leaders at the Oval Office of the White House. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday meant to lessen federal regulations on small businesses, a move that is in line with his campaign promise to cut red tape in Washington.

For every new regulation established, Trump's executive order requires federal agencies to identify two existing regulations that can be cut.

"We're calling it one in two out," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday afternoon.

Trump told reporters that the executive order was aimed at "cutting regulations massively for small business," although the order itself does not specifically mention small business.

According to the text of the order, federal agencies must keep the cost of new regulations in fiscal year 2017 at $0, under the supervision of the White House's Office of Management and Budget, unless that office allows for an exception. 

That means that the cost of new regulations during this fiscal year will have to be completely offset by undoing existing rules, a senior official told reporters ahead of the signing, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The order also means that starting next year, every agency will have an incremental cost cap set by the director of the Office of Management and Budget, beyond which the agency can't issue any new regulations, Spicer said.

The new order does not require that the repeal of the two regulations be done simultaneously with the release of additional rules, the official said.

The director of the OMB will also give federal agencies guidance including "processes for standardizing the measurement and estimation of regulatory costs," as well as standards for measuring the cost of current regulations.

The order does not affect regulations "issued with respect to a military, national security, or foreign affairs function of the United States."

A White House spokeswoman also confirmed that the order will not apply to independent regulatory agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Cutting regulations a regular Trump theme

Trump, who signed the order in the Oval Office while surrounded by small business leaders, said the regulation-cutting move will be the "biggest such act that our country has ever seen."

"There will be regulation, there will be control, but it will be a normalized control where you can open your business and expand your business very easily, and that's what our country has been all about," said Trump.

Cutting government regulations on businesses was a frequent theme of Trump's presidential campaign, along with tax cuts for businesses and the middle class.

In a September 2016 address to the New York Economic Club, Donald Trump denounced government regulations on business as "a massive, job-killing industry." (Mike Segar/Reuters)

In a September 2016 address to the New York Economic Club, then candidate Trump said regulations "have grown into a massive, job-killing industry," and specifically called for eliminating Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency regulations meant to protect U.S. waterways and promote clean energy.

One week ago, Trump told a group of U.S. CEOs that he planned to reduce business regulations by 75 per cent.

Speaking to reporters from the Oval Office during the signing on Monday, Trump said his administration also plans to target the 2010 Dodd-Frank law regulating the banking industry, according to comments reported by Bloomberg.

"We're going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank," said the president.

With files from Reuters and The Associated Press