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Obama orders review of business regulations

/ Source: msnbc.com news services

President Barack Obama Tuesday ordered a government-wide review of regulations with the goal of eliminating those that hurt job creation and make the U.S. economy less competitive.

Obama took formal action after unveiling his plan in an op-ed piece in the The Wall Street Journal in which he said some government regulations have placed "unreasonable burdens on business -- burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs."

The move is apparently aimed at patching up the Obama administration's relationship with corporate America, which has been reluctant to make investments and hire more people, in part because of uncertainty over government regulations and tax policies.

The new review, Obama wrote in the Wall Street Journal, tells agencies to look for outdated regulations that make the U.S. economy less competitive.

"It's a review that will help bring order to regulations that have become a patchwork of overlapping rules, the result of tinkering by administrations and legislators of both parties and the influence of special interests in Washington over decades," Obama wrote.

Federal agencies also won't shy away from addressing gaps in regulations, such as new safety rules for infant formula and procedures that stop preventable infections from spreading in hospitals, Obama wrote.

"We are also making it our mission to root out regulations that conflict, that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb," the president wrote.

Other regulations, such as the Clean Air Act or child labor laws, are necessary to prevent abuse, he wrote, and "strengthen our country without unduly interfering with the pursuit of progress and the growth of our economy," he wrote.

The Republican chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform praised Obama's move.

"The anti-business policies of the past have hurt job creators, small and large. It's in the interest of every American that we create a modern, regulatory environment that fosters economic growth and makes U.S. companies globally competitive," said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).

Obama has struck a more business-friendly tone since his Democrats lost the U.S. House of Representatives and saw their Senate majority reduced in November congressional elections widely seen as a verdict on his handling of the stumbling economy and persistently high unemployment.

It was not immediately clear, however, how far-reaching Obama's new regulatory strategy would be in changing the way the federal government operates.

Despite Obama's promise, the administration's legislative victories are producing dozens of new regulations, on everything from credit card fees to health insurance premium increases, to the annoyance of the business community.