Presidential Actions in Support of a Regulatory Budget

The publication of the Carter Regulatory Budget resulted in a number of subsequent actions by one or more Presidents.

                                           Bush (1)

Jeff  Rosen states:

C. George H.W. Bush Administration Regulatory Budgeting Proposals

“By the end of President George H.W. Bush’s first term, the regulatory budget concept had regained adherents and focus. President Bush’s 1993 budget submission to Congress endorsed the idea of a regulatory budget but advised gradual implementation.102 While noting the technical and administrative challenges, the report argued that a regulatory budget would likely “produce both a more efficient and a more equitable use of private resources.”103 The report explained that the Executive Branch could begin by giving agencies “allowances that would set ceilings on increased regulatory compliance costs they would be allowed to impose each year on the private sector” through discretionary regulatory actions.104 Mandatory regulatory actions would not be covered initially.105 The report noted that agencies “could also be given ‘credits,’ which they could add to their allowances, for cutting regulatory [costs] by relaxing existing regulations.”106 However, there was no further public action on these recommendations, and they were not adopted by President Clinton when he assumed office the next year. “



The Regulatory Program of the United States Government is the second of the Administration of President Bush.

Message to Congress

The document is available at,;view=1up;seq=4

On page 5 of the document it has a section titled Toward a Regulatory Budget—Carter used the term Towards a Regulatory Budget.

The text begins with a re-statement of the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 as did the Carter paper.

There is a need to “create a budget-like process to force tradeoffs to be made among the societal outlays mandated by different regulatory programs.”

This is the heart of regulatory budget,  creating a forum for tradeoffs among regulatory programs in different agencies.

It concludes:

“The similarities between fiscal and regulatory expenditures have lead a number of observers to look at the fiscal budget process as a source to design a similar oversight process to manage regulatory expenditures.”

“One approach to developing a regulatory budget would be to follow the models of the fiscal budget and the information collection budget and require a regulatory cost ceiling in any new legislation that imposes private-sector regulatory costs.”

“Under this approach each new statute would include a ceiling on the total private sector, State and local cost that agencies could imose in implementing the statute through regulation.”

These forward looking analyses of a regulatory budget were terminated when Executive order 12498 was terminated with the issuance of Executive Order 12866 in September 1993




Note. President Carter in his 1980 Economic Report to the Congress stated:

As the process of regulation develops, more consideration will need to be given to the impact of regulations on the economy. The Nation must recognize that regulation to meet social goals competes for scarce resources with other national objectives. Priorities must be set to make certain that the first problems addressed are those in which regulations are likely to bring the greatest social benefits. Admittedly, this is an ideal that can never be perfectly realized, but tools like the regulatory budget may have to be developed if it is to be approached.



Leave a Reply