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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 15, 1994



December 14, 1994

The Honorable Newt Gingrich
United States House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Gingrich:

President Clinton has asked me to reply to your letter requesting that he issue an Executive Order imposing a moratorium on all federal rulemaking.

As you know, the overwhelming majority of federal regulations are mandated by Congres so that federal agencies can put into practice your policy decisions. For example, much regulatory activity of the Clinton Administration involves protecting disabled Americans against discrimination and protecting all Americans against the health effects of pollution. These regulations are mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Clean Air Act, measures supported by Republicans in Congress and signed into law by President Bush.

President Clinton is concerned about the cost of regulations to businesses, individuals, and other governmental entities, whether or not those costs are mandated by Congress. The President has therefore directed Executive Branch agencies to regulate only when necessary, and only in the most cost- effective manner. The President has also ordered agencies to review existing regulations to eliminate rules that are duplicative, unnecessary, or not cost-effective.

Among the changes initiated by the Administration as a result of this directive are reforms that will free U.S. companies to export their goods overseas without drowning in paperwork, and provide the first upgrading in a generation of school nutrition standards for student meals. We have also opened the regulatory process so that individuals, businesses, and governmental entities can know in advance what regulations are being proposed and can participate more effectively in their development.

The "regulatory moratorium" you have proposed would stop rules from being issued regardless of their merit. For example, our information about upcoming regulations indicates that this "moratorium" would prevent the Department of Agriculture from dealing with tainted meat in the food supply; the Department of Veterans Affairs from providing veterans with additional assistance for undiagnosed illnesses that may be the result of their service in the Persian Gulf War; and the Department of Labor from protecting children ages 14-17 from harmful conditions in the workplace.

A moratorium is a blunderbuss that could work in unintended ways. When President Bush tried such an approach in his Administraiton, it did not achieve its stated objective of reducing the number of federal regulations. In fact, in the months immediately after that moratorium, the number of regulations actually increased.

In sum, while we share the view that burdensome regulations need to be cut back, we disagree that a blanket moratorium is the best way to proceed. We belive that we can work together on this issue to achieve a thoughtful solution to this problem.

Sincerely Yours,

/s/ Sally Katzen

Identical letters sent to Honorable Robert Dole, Honorable Trent Lott, Honorable Thad Cochran, Honorable Don Nickles, Honorable Dick Armey, Honorable Tom DeLay and Honorable John Boehner