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Obama administration unveils plan to ax hundreds of rules

By JULIE PACE Published: August 24, 2011

The Obama administration disclosed plans Tuesday to cut or roll back hundreds of federal regulations, with changes that will streamline tax forms at the Internal Revenue Service, let railroad companies pass on installing expensive new technology, and speed the visa process for low-risk visitors to the U.S.

The administration said the changes will save businesses up to $10 billion the next five years and spur private-sector job growth.

The move, announced while President Barack Obama was on vacation in Martha's Vineyard, was the latest White House gesture to reach out to a business community that has often felt alienated from the administration. But it was criticized by some as too little, too late.

“The administration's findings and determinations, on their own, are a worthy effort at making technical changes to the regulatory process, but the results of this look-back will not have a material impact on the real regulatory burdens facing businesses today,” said Bill Kovacs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior vice president.

Administration officials said the plans include 500 regulatory reforms, including more than 100 from the Department of Transportation and more than 70 from Health and Human Services.

Cass Sunstein, head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, said the savings for businesses will give the private sector an opportunity to create new jobs. But Sunstein said he had no estimates on how much help the regulatory reforms would provide.

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