HR Management & Compliance

Advocacy groups challenge Trump’s 2-for-1 regulation requirement

Three liberal advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit alleging that President Donald Trump’s 2-for-1 regulation mandate violates the U.S. Constitution and directs agencies to violate federal law.

In a January 30 Executive Order, Trump instructed federal agencies to cut two regulations for every new one issued during the current fiscal year. He said the order is aimed at alleviating the regulatory burdens businesses face.

Now, consumer group Public Citizen is challenging the Executive Order, joined by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Communications Workers of America. In a February 8 complaint, the groups alleged the order violates the Constitution and requires federal agencies to violate both the laws they implement and the Administrative Procedure Act.

“No one thinking sensibly about how to set rules for health, safety, the environment and the economy would ever adopt the Trump Executive Order approach—unless [the] only goal was to confer enormous benefits on big business,” said Public Citizen President Robert Weissman in a statement. “If implemented, the order would result in lasting damage to our government’s ability to save lives, protect our environment, police Wall Street, keep consumers safe and fight discrimination.”

The lawsuit also takes issue with the order’s requirement that agencies ensure the total cost of their regulations is zero or creates a net gain. “To repeal two regulations for the purpose of adopting one new one, based solely on a directive to impose zero net costs and without any consideration of benefits, is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with law,” the complaint alleges.

The suit asks the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to temporarily halt the order until the court can hear the case on its merits. Public Citizen, et al. v. Trump, No.1:17-cv-00253 (D.D.C., Feb. 8, 2017).