GOP Senators Ask Biden to Reconsider Canceling a Trump Regulatory Transparency Database

February 9, 2021 Updated: February 10, 2021

Twenty-one Republican senators want President Joe Biden to reconsider revoking his predecessor’s executive order telling federal agencies to publish guidance on how they interpret and apply regulations.

On his first day in the Oval Office, Biden revoked then-President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13891 that required creation of a public database of agency guidance documents, based on a bill in Congress with bipartisan support, the Guidance Out of Darkness (GOOD) Act.

“Without explanation, you described this executive order as one of the ‘harmful policies and directives that threaten to frustrate the federal government’s ability to confront [the (COVID19) pandemic, economic recovery, racial justice, and climate change],’ and you claimed—again without explanation—that its revocation was necessary to provide federal agencies the ‘flexibility to use robust regulatory action to address national priorities,’” the senators told Biden in a Feb. 8 letter.

Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, initiated the letter, which was also signed by Sens. James Lankford (Okla.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Rand Paul (Ky.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), John Cornyn and Ted Cruz (Texas), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Kevin Cramer (N.D.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), James Risch (Idaho), Mike Lee (Utah), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Bill Hagerty (Tenn.), Mike Braun (Ind.), Roger Marshall (Kan.), and Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.).

The signers noted that the GOOD proposal had been approved once by the House and twice by the Senate Homeland Security Committee in previous Congresses in which Johnson was chairman of the panel. Trump issued his executive order when it became clear that a legislative logjam would keep the GOOD proposal from reaching his desk.

The signers also noted that among supporters of the GOOD proposal when it was before the Homeland Security panel was then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Biden’s vice president.

“The revocation of an executive order with such widespread and long-standing bipartisan support—including the support of Vice President Harris—seems inconsistent with your stated desire for compromise and to ‘reach across the aisle, and work together,”’ the signers wrote.

“Your revocation of Executive Order 13891 is also contrary to sound policy. The purpose of the executive order and the GOOD Act is to promote transparency and ensure that Americans affected by federal agency guidance know what those guidance documents are so they can more easily comply with them,” the signers told Biden.

“This policy addresses real problems with the growing administrative state that affect both everyday Americans and other regulated entities, like states and local governments. It is only fair that people, businesses and local governments know what is required of them.

“Transparency will not undermine the fight against ‘[COVID-19], economic recovery, racial justice, and climate change,’ and it is simply wrong to believe that Americans are better off not knowing which and how federal rules and regulations apply to them.”

A spokesman in the White House press office didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

The executive order was part of Trump’s efforts to reduce the regulatory burden on the economy, which, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) Wayne Crews, costs consumers nearly $2 trillion annually, equal to the cost of Biden’s proposed CCP virus recovery program.

Crews is the author of “Ten Thousand Commandments,” CEI’s annual report on the scope and costs of federal regulations. He estimated in the most recent edition that the cost to each U.S. household of compliance with federal regulations is $14,000.

The total aggregate cost of federal regulations, according to Crews, is equal to slightly less than half of total federal spending in 2019, the last pre-CCP virus year.

Near the end of Trump’s tenure in the White House, it was officially estimated that more than $144 billion in regulatory compliance costs were avoided in 2020.

Contact Mark Tapscott at Mark.Tapscott@epochtimes.nyc