Trump’s Deregulation Plan Called ‘Arbitrary’ in Latest Suit

  • Advocacy groups attack president’s 2-for-1 executive order
  • Move to prioritize costs over benefits said to harm Americans

President Donald Trump’s directive that federal agencies discard two regulations for every one they adopt is “arbitrary,” unconstitutional and will harm Americans, two advocacy groups and a union claim.

The allegations made in a federal lawsuit represent yet more push-back to Trump’s use of executive orders to quickly deploy policy changes he touted during his campaign. Trump argued Wednesday that his power to limit immigration shouldn’t be decided in courts as an appeals panel reviewed how to proceed on a challenge to his travel-ban.

The latest case addresses Trump’s Jan. 30 executive order instructing agencies to offset the costs of added rules by eliminating those incurred by older ones. The suit was filed Wednesday in Washington by watchdog group Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Communications Workers of America.

“The order requires new rules to have a net cost of $0 this fiscal year, without taking into account the value of the benefits of public protections,” provided by existing rules that will be repealed, Washington-based Public Citizen said in a statement.

The groups said the measure exceeds the president’s constitutional authority because it undercuts Congress’s legislative authority as well as his own obligation to “take care” that the laws of the U.S. be faithfully executed. They’re asking the court to bar its implementation.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer rejected the notion the Trump administration would delete regulations “willy-nilly,” and called the groups’ claims “wildly inaccurate.”

“It’s just speculative at best and it doesn’t have any basis in fact,” Spicer said in a press briefing.

A Seattle federal court judge put Trump’s immigration order on temporary hold, prompting the administration to seek an immediate appeal. A San Francisco-based federal appeals court panel heard arguments Tuesday on whether to overturn Judge James Robart’s Feb. 3 ruling.

The case is Public Citizen Inc. v. Trump, 17-cv-253, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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