WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump signed an order Monday aimed at cutting regulations on businesses, saying that agencies should eliminate two regulations for every new one.
The White House later released the text of the order, which added that the cost of any new regulation should be offset by eliminating regulations with the same costs to businesses. It excluded regulations regarding the military.
The impact of the order was difficult to judge based on the president’s remarks. It could be difficult to implement under current law, and would concentrate greater power in the Office of Management and Budget, which already reviews federal regulations.
Trump signed the document -- which he called ‘‘a big one’’ -- at his desk in the Oval Office surrounded by nine small business owners, who earlier this morning met in the Roosevelt Room.
‘‘This will be the largest ever cut by far in terms of regulations,’’ Trump said. ‘‘If you have a regulation you want number one we’re not going to approve it because it’s already been approved probably in 17 different forms. But if we do the only way you have a chance is we have to knock out two regulations for every new regulation. So if there’s a new regulation they have to knock out two. But it goes way beyond that.’’
But experts on government policy said Trump’s formulation made little sense. ‘‘There’s no logic to this,’’ William Gale, a tax and fiscal policy expert at the Brookings Institution, said before seeing the executive order. ‘‘The number of regulations is not the key. It’s how onerous regulations are. This seems like a totally nonsensical constraint to me.’’
Trump said the move would help both large and small businesses. ‘‘Regulation has been horrible for big business, but it’s been worse for small business,’’ he said, noting that small businesses cannot hire the talent and compliance personnel that larger businesses do.
‘‘There will be regulation, there will be control, but it will be a normalized control where you can open your business and expand your business very easily and that’s what our country has been all about,’’ Trump said.
Administration members who attended the signing included White House counsel Donald McGahn; chief of staff Reince Priebus; Jared Kushner, domestic policy director Andrew Bremberg; and National Economic Council director Director Gary Cohn.
The president was surrounded by small business leaders as he signed the order in the Oval Office Monday morning.
Trump says that the order is aimed at ‘‘cutting regulations massively for small business.’’
He says it will be the ‘‘biggest such act that our country has ever seen.’’
Earlier, White House officials called the directive a ‘‘one in, two out’’ plan. It requires government agencies requesting a new regulation to identify two regulations they will cut from their own departments.
The officials insisted on anonymity in order to detail the directive ahead of Monday’s formal announcement.