Energy & Environment

Obama’s regulations czar resigns

Obama's regulations czar resigns

Cass Sunstein is stepping down from his position as President Barack Obama’s contentious regulatory chief to return to his teaching duties at Harvard Law School.

The White House announced the resignation Friday, General Counsel Boris Bershteyn is expected to step into the role on a temporary basis until a replacement is nominated and confirmed by the Senate.

Obama issued a written statement and called Sunstein’s work “exceptional” and “historic.”

“From putting in place lifesaving protections for America’s families, to eliminating tens of millions of hours of paperwork burdens for our nation’s citizens and businesses, Cass has shown that it is possible to support economic growth without sacrificing health, safety, and the environment,” Obama said.

“Cass has shepherded our review of existing rules to get rid of those that cost too much or no longer make sense, an effort that is already on track to save billions of dollars. With these reforms and his tenacious promotion of cost-benefit analysis, his efforts will benefit Americans for years to come,” Obama said.

Sunstein’s nomination was controversial because of his provocative writings on the issues of animal rights, hunting and taxes.

For example, a joint opinion piece Sunstein wrote with Stephan Holmes for the Chicago Tribune in 1999 declared that tax day should be a celebration, not a burden.

“Without taxes there would be no liberty,” they wrote. “Do not get up tomorrow and drape your house in black! For tax day is not a day of national mourning.”

However, during his three and half year reign, many Republicans said Sunstein showed considerable restraint in an over-zealous, regulatory-minded administration.

“While I’m disappointed that this administration has not made more substantial efforts to cut red tape and create jobs, outgoing Administrator Cass Sunstein appeared to recognize the harm overly burdensome regulations inflict on economic growth and job creation — although he was not able to stop the tsunami of regulations enacted by the Obama administration,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

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