Federal Deregulation

White House Washington DC

Since taking office, the Trump administration has taken several steps to delay, halt, and rollback federal regulation. Some of these actions have had larger impacts than others. The public health community will have opportunities to weigh in on some of the potential deregulation at the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. Understanding the actions that have happened so far will better inform comments on FDA regulation of tobacco products. 

On January 30, 2017, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13771 requiring federal agencies to identify two regulations to revise or repeal in order to issue one new regulation. Agencies are also required to ensure that the net cost of all regulations promulgated and repealed is zero, without accounting for economic benefits. 

Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Communications Workers of America challenged this “1-in-2-out executive order” in court, arguing that it exceeds presidential authority and that it will block important health, safety, and environmental protections without taking the benefits of those rules into account. 

On May 22, 2017, the Public Health Law Center, joined by twelve national health organizations, filed an amicus curiae brief arguing that the executive order fundamentally impairs the FDA’s ability to comply with congressional mandates designed to ensure that drugs and devices are safe and effective, food is not contaminated, and the devastating health effects of tobacco are reduced.

On February 24, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13777 requiring federal agencies to designate a regulatory reform officer and to establish a regulatory reform task force for the purpose of evaluating regulations and making recommendations for their repeal, replacement, or modification. 

On September 8, 2017, the FDA opened a docket to accept comments from the public on any regulations established by the Center for Tobacco Products that ought to be repealed. The agency has opened a docket for each of its other regulatory centers and one docket for agency-wide regulation as well. This docket closed on February 2, 2018.