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Remarks on Signing the Executive Order on Regulatory Planning and Review and an Exchange With Reporters

September 30, 1993

The President. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to another action-packed meeting of our action-packed administration.

Today I am signing an Executive order to create a fair, open, streamlined system of regulatory review for our Government to eliminate improper influence, delay secrecy, and to set tough standards and time limits for regulation.

It's a move in keeping with everything else we've tried to do since Inauguration Day. The philosophy of this administration has always been consistent when it comes to regulation.

We reject the "if it moves, regulate it" approach. And we reject the idea that we can walk away from regulation entirely. We have sought a third way, consistent with the philosophy behind the Vice President's reinventing Government project, with our approach to health care, to export controls, to a whole range of other issues.

We can't reject all regulations. Many of them do a lot of good things. They protect workers in the workplace, shoppers in the grocery stores, children opening new toys. But there are others that serve no purpose at all. This Executive order will provide a way to get rid of useless, outdated, and unnecessary regulations that are outdated, obsolete, expensive, and bad for business. We're working on the impact of regulation on Government, too. That's what the Vice President's report on reinventing Government does. To improve budget, personnel, and procurements systems, we can strip away an awful lot of redtape for all of you.

All of you are working yourselves on a focused review of regulations. And that's why on September the 11th, as you'll recall, I signed an Executive order directing our Agencies to eliminate 50 percent of our internal regulations.

The next step is reforming the regulatory review process itself. That's what the Executive order today does. We've already shut down the so-called competitiveness council, which closed the back door to special interests to get out from under regulations they didn't like. In its place, we have a dramatically different approach, fair, streamlined, responsive, much more straightforward.

Under the Executive order that I am signing today, involvement by the President and the Vice President in the regulatory process is strictly limited. The order permits the Vice President's review only at the request of the Cabinet member or the OMB's OIRA office. Communications between White House staff members and the public are limited, too, on matters of regulation. In order to be utilized in the rulemaking process or the review process, they must be made in writing and put in the public record.

Just these changes alone mean the days of back-door access to undermining the regulatory process is over. But we also want to limit the number of regulations that may be reviewed by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. It's very important that we let ordinary regulations be done in a more timely fashion, where the people who are going to be affected by them have more front-end involvement. This order requires written justification for rejections of regulations, mandates Sunshine provisions, requires a publicly available log, which the press will love. It has guidelines not just for review of new regulations but, this is very important, for a review of existing regulations, too. We should be eliminating regulations even as we have new ones.

This order will lighten the load for regulated industries and make Government regulations that are needed more efficient. Most of all, it will put behind us the politics of adversarialism that has divided Government and industry for too long. We saw a beginning of what that can mean for America yesterday, with the announcements between the Government and the auto industry of the project to try to triple the fuel efficiency of our cars by the end of the decade. That's the sort of thing we ought to be focusing on in our relationships with Government and industry.

In the last few weeks, we've seen a remarkable amount of progress in our Nation, a lot of things turning around. This is an important step in that process. The way the Government relates to people whom it must regulate, or decide whether to regulate or not, has an enormous amount to do with the credibility that our Government has with all of the citizens of our country and with how we're spending their tax money. I am very excited about this. I think the wind is now behind us, and I hope we can see through this project and continue on the road that we are clearly taking now.

[At this point, the President signed the Executive order.]

White House Staff

Q. Mr. President, a Member of Congress on the House floor has just characterized your claim that you've really cut the White House staff as unethical and a lie. He says that you cut people who are not political operatives and that there really hasn't been a budget savings.

The President. Well, we have cut it. I can guarantee people around here have been complaining about it because we're handling more mail, doing more work, and carrying a bigger load than this White House has carried in more than a dozen years, and we're doing it with fewer people. All you have to do is just ask people around here and they'll be glad to tell you that.

Who is the Member of Congress?

Q. Congressman Wolf.

The President. Well, the burden is on him to establish that. I don't want to get in an argument with him about the staff. The truth is we're doing more work than my predecessors did with fewer people, and it's pretty hard on these people. They're staying here real late, and they're working awful hard.

Q. Do you really have fewer political appointees than your predecessors?

The President. Well, the President has the right to replace everybody in the White House. I didn't do that, and most people don't. But to imply that someone who came here because I got elected President is somehow less valuable or not working is, I think, a pretty spurious claim.

The truth is that in the White House, at least, it's been my experience, not just for me, but for my Republican predecessors, that the socalled political appointees are the ones that have to work 60 or 70 or 80 hours a week and are making most of the decisions and doing most of the hard work. So I don't understand what the claim is there. If Mr. Wolf wins reelection to his office, if he hires somebody to work there, they're a political appointee. But if they work hard and do a good job, they deserve to be treated like everybody else.

Q. Do you think when you talked about cutting the White House staff 25 percent, that most Americans thought that that didn't mean political appointees, it just meant career people?

The President. I don't think most Americans make that distinction. I think most Americans want to know what size Government's going to be. If we reduce the size of the Federal Government by a quarter of a million people over the next 4 years, most of those people will be career positions we won't fill again. But to say that the people that work in the White House, that work virtually around the clock all week long are somehow less significant because they work harder and longer, I think is a pretty hard argument to make.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:45 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. The Executive order and the related memorandum on negotiated rulemaking are listed in Appendix D at the end of this volume.

William J. Clinton, Remarks on Signing the Executive Order on Regulatory Planning and Review and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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