Ronald Reagan picture

Memorandum on the Review of Federal Regulatory Programs

December 15, 1986

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies
Subject: Comprehensive Review of Federal Regulatory Programs

In 1981, I identified regulatory relief as one of the four key elements for the recovery of our economy. I established the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief, chaired by Vice President George Bush. Under Task Force auspices, we initiated substantial changes to over 100 existing burdensome rules, saving businesses and consumers billions of dollars each year. The Task Force also saw to the successful implementation of Executive Order No. 12291, the most successful program ever initiated to ensure that agency regulations are no more burdensome than necessary while accomplishing the goals mandated by law. In 1985, I signed Executive Order No. 12498 to set forth annually the Administration's regulatory priorities, and we published these Regulatory Programs of the United States Government in 1985 and 1986. In addition, since 1980, we reduced the burden of Federal paperwork imposed on the public by over 600 million hours annually.

It is clear, however, that existing regulatory law, patched together over more than 50 years, creates a diverse and often discordant network of legal authorities, statutory obligations, and private responsibilities and liabilities. The time has come to look at the underlying legislation itself, as one means of ensuring that we in government have done all we can to improve America's productivity and international competitiveness.

Accordingly, I am reestablishing the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief under the chairmanship of the Vice President, and I am directing it to review existing Federal regulatory programs and to develop legislative or other proposals to further eliminate or reduce unnecessary regulatory and paperwork burdens upon the American public and improve American productivity and competitiveness.

The Task Force will consist of the Vice President, as chairman; the Attorney General of the United States; the Secretary of Commerce; the Secretary of Labor; the Secretary of the Treasury; the Director of the Office of Management and Budget; the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers; and the Assistant to the President for Policy Development. Other Cabinet and agency heads will be invited to participate as appropriate.

The Task Force will seek your help in identifying and developing proposals for further reducing unnecessary regulatory and paperwork burdens. Each of you should provide the Task Force with all the information and assistance it may require. In making and executing Task Force recommendations, you should adhere to the regulatory principles stated in Section 2 of Executive Order No. 12291 and Section l(d) of Executive Order No. 12498.

The Task Force will evaluate selected regulatory programs, including financial regulation, natural gas regulation, transportation regulation, procurement regulation, drug regulation, export controls, regulatory barriers to innovation and international competitiveness, Federally imposed paperwork, and such other areas as it may deem appropriate. The Task Force will review these regulatory areas in order to determine whether statutory or administrative changes are appropriate.

The Task Force, or the agencies that it designates, will develop and draft proposed legislation, proposed reforms in existing regulations, or suggest other means of implementing its recommendations. The Task Force will submit its initial recommendations to me within nine months.

The Task Force is to act as a catalyst for change to focus public and congressional attention on the need to eliminate or reduce excessive, unproductive regulation and paperwork, and to make existing regulatory programs more efficient and effective. In so doing, the Task Force will complement your ongoing efforts to achieve progress in these areas and to enhance America's international competitiveness.


Ronald Reagan, Memorandum on the Review of Federal Regulatory Programs Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives