Task Force on Regulatory Relief

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President Ronald Reagan established the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief on January 22 1981 as one of his first acts after moving into the Oval Office. Regulatory reform was one of the "four pillars" of his initial program for economic recovery. The Task Force was a unit of the Executive Office of the President. He said it would...

... review pending regulations, study past regulations with an eye toward revising them, and recommend appropriate legislative remedies. [snip] Vice President George Bush, has agreed to serve as Chairman of this task force and to coordinate an interagency effort to end excessive regulation.

The regulatory reform, as you know, we've been talking about for a long time is one of the keystones in our program to return the nation to prosperity and to set loose again the ingenuity and energy of the American people.

Government regulations impose an enormous burden on large and small businesses in America, discourage productivity, and contribute substantially to our current economic woes. To cut away the thicket of irrational and senseless regulations requires careful study, close coordination between the agencies and bureaus in the Federal structure.

James C Miller

James C Miller III was nominated by Reagan as administrator for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the WhiteHouse which came under the 'Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The OIRA was tasked with "health-risk regulation" and it was later run by James J Tozzi who became notorious as Reagan's "Deregulation Czar". As head of OIRA Miller therefore became the executive director of the Task force on Regulatory relief (headed politically by VP George HW Bush), until he was transferred to run the Federal Trade Commission. His background before Reagan had been a period as co-director of the Center for the Study of Governmental Regulation at the American Enterprise Institute.

C. Boyden Gray

C. Boyden Gray took a leave of absence from his law firm Wilmer Cutler & Pickering in 1981 to serve as legal counsel for Vice President George H. W. Bush and he also served as Counsel to the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief, which was chaired by Vice President Bush. Gray was a member of the Bowman Gray family which had part-owned and controlled RJ Reynolds Tobacco for two generations: his father was the CEO.

Gray later served as Director of the Office of Transition Counsel for the Bush transition team, and as Counsel to President Bush from 1989–1993. During this time, Gray became one of the main architects of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments that suggested market solutions for environmental problems. Later he established and ran a think-tank opposed to the EPA's new Clean Air standards: the Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and its related funding organisation Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation (CSEF). These now continue to influence public policy under the names of two related entities, FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity.

Christopher DeMuth

Christopher DeMuth took over as head of the OMB and the Regulatory Relief task force from 22 September 1981 until early in 1984 when the Reagan regulatory agency scandal broke out into the media and about 20 of the top officials were forced to resign. DeMuth took over the American Enterprise Institute in December 1986 and converted it from a social-economic Libertarian think-tank into a hawkish defense/intelligence/armaments organisation.