President Barack Obama has promised that 2014 will be a “year of action,” during which Administration officials will do everything possible to avoid Congressional hurdles in furthering the White House’s policy agenda. Signaling that the Administration is poised to make good on Obama’s promise, the Federal government added 56 finalized regulations and 1,516 new pages to the Federal Register last week.
According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Obama Administration has added an average of one new regulation every three hours over the past two weeks. Since Jan. 1, the Administration has added 327 final regulations to the Register.
Remarkably, according to the free market organization, if the Obama Administration continues to enact new regulations at its current pace, there will be a total of 2,637 new regulations this year, the lowest total in decades.
The 2014 Federal Register has mushroomed to 9,079 pages in the year’s first two months. If government continued enacting new rules at its current pace, the Register will accumulate 73,218 pages by 2015. According to CEI, that would actually be the lowest number of new pages added to the Register in the past five years.
But keep in mind that the current President has vowed to legislate with his phone and pen and that he already has a higher average of yearly major rulemakings than President George W. Bush. Therefore, it’s likely that regulatory bombardments strategically timed around elections will expand the Register far beyond 73,218 pages by the end of the year.
Usually the number of “economically significant” new regulations, those with costs of $100 million or more in a given year, falls between 127 and 224 annually. In the first two months of 2014, the Obama Administration has pushed forward six such regulations (two from the Energy Department last week), costing somewhere between $614 million and $885 million.