In a Senate Commerce committee hearing, “A Growth Agenda: Reducing Unnecessary Regulation,” on Wednesday, February 1, Senate Democrats called the January 31 regulatory executive order “arbitrary” and “mindless” (learn more about the order here). Ranking Member Nelson (D-FL) criticized the order for its hyper focus on the costs and lack of attention to the benefits of regulations for public health and safety. Chairman Thune (R-SD) briefly commented on the order, calling its intention positive, although its form “blunt.” One witness, Professor Lisa Heinzerling of Georgetown University, echoed Senator Nelson and called the order “arbitrary” and remarked that the two for one ratio is a better “soundbite” than policy. Another witness, Rosario Palmieri of the National Association of Manufacturing, stressed the need to form a better balance in the regulatory process, emphasizing the analysis of the cost/benefit value of a regulation. The hearing did little to illustrate any clarifying aspects of the order, which is still greatly unexplained by the White House. The execution of the executive order, the implications on the various elements of the already strenuous review process, and the authority of the OMB Director remain unclear and will have to be explained soon or criticism from Congress is likely to grow. One thing is clear, without further guidance, regulatory personnel at all agencies will have a tough time getting work done even after the current regulatory freeze is lifted.