This week, CPR is launching its Beyond 12866 initiative, an online platform focused on promoting a progressive vision for rebuilding the U.S. regulatory system. Such a regulatory system will be essential not only to achieving the progressive vision of a more just and equitable society; it will also do the heavy practical lifting needed for implementing key elements of a progressive policy agenda, such as the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and Black Lives Matter movement.
This initiative begins from the recognition that in the near term, such progressive regulatory reform will need to be accomplished administratively, as opposed to legislatively, given the divisive politics of the issue and ongoing congressional dysfunction more generally. Using such administrative tools as executive orders and memoranda, the president in particular has considerable influence over how the regulatory system operates, and appropriately so given his (gendered language intended, unfortunately) position in our constitutional system.
Unfortunately, even nominally "liberal" presidents have wielded this influence in decidedly conservative, anti-regulatory ways.
Nowhere is this better exemplified than in Executive Order 12866, which along with the Administrative Procedure Act, essentially functions as a part of the "constitution" of our regulatory system. Put in place in 1993 …