Trump signs executive order to curtail regulations

President Trump, accompanied by small business leaders, signs an executive order in the Oval Office cutting regulations. Carlos Barria / Reuters

Washington, D.C. (NBC News) — President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order aimed at slashing federal regulations to help businesses, the latest in a string of presidential directives he has unveiled in his first ten days in office.

The “one in, two out” plan requires federal agencies requesting new regulations to cut two existing regulations. Trump said the order will reduce the regulatory burdens on the private sector, particularly small businesses.

“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,” Trump said while signing the order surrounded by small business leaders. “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.”

Government agencies must self-identify the regulations to cut, though the White House will ultimately decide what to nix. There is currently a temporary regulatory freeze that was issued by White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. But Monday’s directive sets a budget for new regulations, though the order does not apply to military or national security. There is also an exception to allow flexibility during emergencies.

Before signing the order, Trump held a listening session with the business leaders at the White House where he pledged to create a climate that will allow businesses to thrive.

“We’re going to create an environment for small business like we haven’t had in many, many decades,” Trump said. “This isn’t a knock on President Obama, this is a knock on many presidents preceding me. It’s a knock on everybody.”

The businessman turned politician campaigned heavily against overbearing government rules that he said stifle entrepreneurship. Trump has pledged to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act aimed at regulating Wall Street, which he claims made the big banks bigger, and replace it with “new policies to encourage economic growth and job creation.”

Wall Street has embraced Trump’s presidency so far, with the Dow hitting 20,000 points for the first time ever last week. Stocks dipped, however, on Monday as uncertainty swirled around Trump’s order to close the U.S. to people from certain predominantly Muslim countries.

Trump has relied heavily on executive orders since his Jan. 20 inauguration to begin addressing his biggest campaign promises. He has declared the U.S. will build a wall on the southern border with Mexico, advanced the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and weakened the Affordable Care Act.

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