White House Touts Regulatory Reform, GOP Still Skeptical

The Obama Administration is offering its plans for a "fundamental rethinking" of how Washington operates, introducing a book-length plan to reduce federal regulations in an effort to save American government and businesses time and money.

Business groups and Republicans, though, say that while any streamlining is helpful to businesses, the administration continues to expand the regulatory reach of the government by expanding the powers of agencies like the National Labor Relations Board, the Environmental Protection Agency and, most notably, the Department of Health and Human Resources in accordance with the president’s sweeping national health care law.

Calling it a "defining moment" and "historic day,” Cass Sunstein, administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, said 30 agencies have responded to President Obama's January 2011 executive order to eliminate "unjustified rules, and absurd and unnecessary paperwork that wastes time and money." Sunstein said their combined proposals will save billions of dollars and tens of millions of hours in paperwork for federal agencies, small businesses as well as state and local governments.

"My hope is that this process might inaugurate a broader, less polarized, more evidence based, less anachronistic, less sound-bite filled conversation about how we might promote growth and job creation in an economically troubled time, while also protecting the health and safety of the American people," Sunstein said at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. AEI, a conservative think tank, is an interesting forum for Sunstein, a prominent liberal, and a former professor at Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago Law School.

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