George H.W. Bush’s Bureaucratic Legacy

From: Government Executive

By Charles S. Clark


Regulatory Reform

The Office of Management and Budget, run by Richard Darman sought to reduce agency spending and rein in regulations. In a push that Trump-era observers would recognize, the first President Bush sought to “weed out unnecessary and burdensome government regulations, which impose needless costs on consumers and substantially impede economic growth,” read the goal reported by National Journal in April 1992. “The Federal Register has joined Weight Watchers,” the publication observed.

Earlier that year, Bush announced a moratorium on new regulations except those that “contributed to economic growth, that are necessary to protect health and safety or that are required by law.” He named Vice President Dan Quayle chairman of a Council on Competitiveness and asked his Cabinet members to submit a report on deregulation within 90 days. “Because of the constant pressure to develop new programs, we are not doing enough to review and revise existing programs,” Bush wrote.

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