New Federal Executive Order Eases Regulatory Enforcement

A new Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump is designed to ease regulatory enforcement on businesses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While helpful, this executive action falls short of granting any new liability protections to businesses, and leaves that action to Congress, which is divided over whether to grant legal protections from lawsuits.  It also does not apply to actions by state regulatory agencies.

The Order, signed Tuesday, May 19, encourages federal agencies to rescind, modify, waive, or provide exemptions to regulations and requirements that may slow economic recovery and discourages federal enforcement actions for businesses acting in reasonable good faith.

The President’s Order is part of the administration’s commitment to fighting “the economic consequences of COVID-10 with the same vigor and resourcefulness with which the fight against COVID-19 itself has been waged.”

The Order declares it to be the policy of the United States to address the economic emergency by “rescinding, modifying, waiving, or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery, consistent with applicable law and with protection of the public health and safety.”

Federal agency heads are also directed to use to the fullest extent possible all emergency authority previously invoked to combat the coronavirus outbreak to support the economic response to the virus.

The Order calls for fairness in all administrative enforcement actions, and outlines 10 specific criteria agencies should follow when considering enforcement actions, including that the “Government should bear the burden of proving an alleged violation.”

To read the full order, click here.

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