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New Record Set in 2015 for Adding Regulations

As we've growled on numerous occasions, the nation's regulatory burden inhibits economic growth and economic freedom (see here, here, and here, or just use Growls' search facility and search for regulation or regulations).

Consequently, we were troubled by Stephen Dinan's front-page story in today's Washington Times that the Obama administration has "issued a record amount of heft in the federal rule book in 2015 as President Obama’s team, carrying out his orders to work around Congress, pushed his expansive government agenda on environmental, labor and Wall Street policy."

Here's how Dinan develops the story:

"With one day to go, the administration added 81,611 pages to the Federal Register, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s count of the official record-keeping digest of federal agencies’ rule-making. It’s the highest total on record and the third time Mr. Obama has crossed the 80,000-page level during his presidency, the institute’s Clyde Wayne Crews calculated.

“This is the pen and phone era, and the president has made clear he’s going to go around Congress when he gets the chance,” Mr. Crews said. “We expected Congress to do something about it, but it didn’t.”

"Instead, it was the federal court system that challenged the executive branch in 2015, and Mr. Obama was dealt several significant defeats in front of judges who shut down two of his biggest initiatives: to rewrite immigration law and to extend the hand of the federal government to permitting decisions throughout the country.

"The White House Office of Management and Budget, which oversees federal agencies’ rule-making, did not respond to a message seeking comment on the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s numbers, nor on the legal defeats judges delivered to Mr. Obama this year.

"All told, the administration has proposed 2,334 rules and finalized 3,378 rules and regulations during the year, Mr. Crews said."

"Among several that made headlines was the Food and Drug Administration’s proposal in December to ban people younger than 18 from using tanning beds. Others were particularly hefty and covered major parts of the U.S. economy, including the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality policy and the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean power plan and its effort to extend its power over land-use decisions through its Waters of the U.S. rule.

"Mr. Crews said the size and scope of the regulations are beyond anything seen before. He said with the exception of President Reagan, who managed to limit the Federal Register to under 50,000 pages of new rules and regulations per year, the recent level has usually been around 70,000. But under Mr. Obama it’s been hovering around 80,000.

"That means more government rules constraining businesses and private citizens’ decisions — and acting as a brake on the economy, he said." )emphasis added)

To read the remainder of Dinan's article, click here.

Clyde Wayne Crews writes about the "record year for the Federal Register" at this Competitive Enterprise Institute webpage, and includes the following chart:

Read about the Competitive Enterprise Institute here.

To read more stories by the Washington Times' Stephen Dinan, click here.

Concerned about the cost of federal regulations? If so, take a few minutes, and write to one of your Congressional representatives. Contact information is available at the Library of Congress' Thomas (use left-hand column). Taxpayers living in Virginia's Arlington County can contact:

  • Senator Mark Warner (D) -  write to him or call (202) 224-2023
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-4024
  • Representative Don Beyer (D) -- write to him or call (202) 225-4376

Remember to ask for a written response, and tell them ACTA sent you.

UPDATE (1/2/16): At The Hill yesterday, which reports on Capitol Hill, Devin Henry reports, "A slate of major environmental rules rolled out by the Obama administration in 2015 will face serious challenges in the new year, as opponents look to beat back the president’s ambitious policies — a core piece of his legacy."

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