President Barack Obama is on track to impose more regulations than any other American president. Yesterday, the Federal Register, which publishes the official rules and regulations of the federal government, crossed the 70,000-page mark for 2016. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Clyde Wayne Crews, it is the soonest in the year the register has ever hit that page mark.
Crews points out that the Obama administration has set numerous other rule-making records as well:
The all-time record-high Federal Register was 81,405 pages in 2010. In fact, six of the seven all-time high federal register page counts have happened under the Barack Obama administration.
Back in the 1980s, the all-time-high record for the Federal Register was 73,258 at year-end 1980. We’ll top that sometime next week, and it’s not even Halloween yet.
In the 1990s, the record was 71,161 in 1999. The bureaucracies will top that before this weekend.
For a bit more recent perspective:
In 2014 it took until November 24 for the Register to top 70,000
In 2015, it had taken until November 12 to top 70,000 pages.
Indeed, in 2010, when the all-time record count of 81,000 pages was set, the count at this time of the year, the day after Columbus Day, was 62,674, 7,000 fewer than now.
CEI estimates that the Federal Register will end this year with slightly fewer than 90,000 pages. The compliance cost for those regulations is up to $6.72 billion, which will be borne by private businesses and ultimately passed along to consumers and employees.
Last week, the American Action Forum compiled its own costs of the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda. They found that regulations were costing every American $2,496 per year.
Their report also calculated that the Obama administration has imposed 101 unfunded mandates on states, local governments, and private businesses, costing $1,842 per person. That is double the amount imposed by George W. Bush’s administration.
Congressional Republicans have been trying to limit the executive branch’s authority to make regulations. Since 2011, they have been championing the REINS Act, co-authored by Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Todd Young, which would require the approval of Congress before any regulation with an economic impact of $100 million or more could take effect. The House has passed the REINS Act multiple times, but it has been stalled in the Senate.
REINS Act supporters say it would improve democratic accountability and implementation of regulations.