As the economy begins to recover and businesses start to plan for growth, all eyes are on Washington and the prospects for regulatory reform. The time and costs of understanding and complying with a myriad of regulatory requirements imposed by a numerous federal agencies is frustrating for industry, and American businesses are looking to Congress for answers.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, federal agencies promulgated 43 major new regulations, with several others in the works going into FY 2011. In December, Representative Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, sent letters to many trade associations (including NEMA) asking for assistance in identifying existing and proposed regulations that negatively impact the economy and job growth. This outreach has been applauded by the business community, which has been struggling to keep up with the avalanche of new regulations.

Not to be outdone, yesterday President Obama issued an executive order for "improving regulation and regulatory review." He also authored an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal that spoke to the importance of striking the "right balance" between protecting health, safety and the environment and preserving freedom of commerce.

If President Obama is serious about examining regulations and making reforms where necessary, his Administration should be applauded. Here's hoping the Administration and Congress can find a way to work together to improve the nation's regulatory system so that neither responsibility for health, safety and environmental protection nor potential economic growth are sacrificed.


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