You are here

OpenMarket: Regulatory Reform

  • Nobody Knows How Many Federal Agencies Exist

    August 26, 2015 2:27 PM

    As bureaucracy sprawls, nobody can say with complete authority exactly how many federal agencies exist.

    The twice-annual Unified Agenda of Federal Deregulatory and Regulatory Actions, which compiles agency regulatory plans in the federal pipeline, listed 60 agencies in the Spring 2015 edition, a count that can vary slightly from report to report. The Fall 2014 edition that also contained many agencies’ Regulatory Plan also listed 60.

    The Administrative Conference of the United States lists 115 agencies in the appendix of its “Sourcebook of United States Executive Agencies, but notes

    [T]here is no authoritative list of government agencies. For example, FOIA.gov [maintained by the Department of Justice] lists 78 independent executive agencies and 174 components of the executive departments as units that comply with the Freedom of Information Act requirements imposed on every federal agency. This appears to be on the conservative end of the range of possible agency definitions. The United States Government Manual lists 96 independent executive units and 220 components of the executive departments. An even more inclusive listing comes from USA.gov, which lists 137 independent executive agencies and 268 units in the Cabinet.

  • CEI's Battled Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    August 24, 2015 7:06 AM

    Nearly 2,000 Federal Register pages contain regulations for everything from pay ratios to apricots.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 76 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 83 the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 13 minutes.
    • So far in 2015, 2,105 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,248 new regulations this year, which would be several hundred fewer rules than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
    • Last week, 1,993 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,285 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 49,073 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 74,969 pages.
    • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Nineteen such rules have been published so far this year, none in the past week.
    • The total estimated compliance cost of 2015’s economically significant regulations ranges from $1.32 billion to $1.41 billion for the current year.
    • 177 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
    • So far in 2015, 352 new rules affect small businesses; 53 of them are classified as significant. 
  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    August 17, 2015 8:59 AM

    The number of this year’s new regulations zoomed past the 2,000 mark, though the pace is still slower than usual. This week’s new rules cover everything from mailboxes to macadamia tree insurance.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 83 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 71 the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and two minutes.
    • So far in 2015, 2,029 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,231 new regulations this year, which would be several hundred fewer rules than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
    • Last week, 1,285 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,586 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 47,080 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 74,969 pages.
    • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Nineteen such rules have been published so far this year, none in the past week.
    • The total estimated compliance cost of 2015’s economically significant regulations ranges from $1.32 billion to $1.41 billion for the current year.
    • 169 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
    • So far in 2015, 337 new rules affect small businesses; 51 of them are classified as significant. 
  • Regulations Endanger Democracy

    August 11, 2015 2:28 PM

    The House has passed some key regulatory reform measures this year, including the REINS Act most recently (which stands for “Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny”) and the Regulatory Accountability Act.

    REINS would require Congress to approve the largest agency rules before they are effective, while the RAA would boost regulatory oversight in numerous ways.

    Relatively speaking when it comes to regulatory liberalization, the Senate has dragged its feet. An interesting new exception is Sen. Dan Sullivan’s (R-Alaska) RED Tape Act (S. 1944), where the RED stands for “Regulations Endanger Democracy.”

    This bill is an interesting twist on some “one-for-one” measures that have had some success in Canada. For every rule imposed, one has to go.

    In the case of Great Britain, it’s one in, two out.

    It is a reasonable principle that any time an agency issues a regulation, it should remove a similar magnitude regulatory burden (or two) somewhere else. Rules have been imposed for decades with very little rollback taking place.

    Here’s an NPR presentation on Canada’s one-in, one-out that is surprisingly favorable.

  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    August 10, 2015 9:03 AM

    As it zoomed past the 45,000-page mark, the 2015 Federal Register saw new regulations covering everything from space particles to raspberries.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 71 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 74 the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 22 minutes.
    • So far in 2015, 1,946 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,201 new regulations this year, which would be several hundred fewer rules than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
    • Last week, 1,586 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,540 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 45,795 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 77,882 pages.
    • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Nineteen such rules have been published so far this year, three in the past week.
    • The total estimated compliance cost of 2015’s economically significant regulations ranges from $1.32 billion to $1.41 billion for the current year.
    • 165 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
    • So far in 2015, 331 new rules affect small businesses; 51 of them are classified as significant. 
  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    August 3, 2015 6:42 AM

    One of this week’s 55 proposed regulations is a 264-page Interior Department regulation to prevent water stream pollution from coal mines. Final rules published cover everything from dairy tariffs to extension cords.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 74 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 65 the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 16 minutes.
    • So far in 2015, 1,875 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,189 new regulations this year, which would be several hundred fewer rules than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
    • Last week, 1,586 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,540 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 45,795 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 77,882 pages.
    • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Sixteen such rules have been published so far this year, none in the past week.
    • The total estimated compliance cost of 2015’s economically significant regulations ranges from $1.32 billion to $1.41 billion for the current year.
    • 157 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
    • So far in 2015, 323 new rules affect small businesses; 48 of them are classified as significant. 
  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    July 27, 2015 8:24 AM

    The Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill turned five years old this week (see CEI analysis herehere, and here). Other than that, it was business as usual, with 44 proposed regulations and more than 60 final regulations covering everything from bigeye tuna to heat pumps.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 65 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 78 the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 35 minutes.
    • So far in 2015, 1,801 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,171 new regulations this year, which would be several hundred fewer rules than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
    • Last week, 1,540 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 2,764 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 44,209 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 77,833 pages.
    • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Sixteen such rules have been published so far this year, none in the past week.
    • The total estimated compliance cost of 2015’s economically significant regulations ranges from $1.32 billion to $1.41 billion for the current year.
    • 150 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
    • So far in 2015, 313 new rules affect small businesses; 46 of them are classified as significant. 
  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    July 20, 2015 8:43 AM

    It was a busy week for the Federal Register, which included a 629-page proposed regulation from the EPA for greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy for cars and trucks, as well as final regulations covering everything from finishing wood to inspecting tunnels.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 78 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 56 the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and nine minutes.
    • So far in 2015, 1,736 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,168 new regulations this year, which would be several hundred fewer rules than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
    • Last week, 2,764 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,647 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 42,669 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 77,864 pages.
    • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Sixteen such rules have been published so far this year, one in the past week.
    • The total estimated compliance cost of 2015’s economically significant regulations ranges from $1.32 billion to $1.41 billion for the current year.
    • 145 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
    • So far in 2015, 298 new rules affect small businesses; 46 of them are classified as significant. 
  • Sunsetting Federal Regulations

    July 15, 2015 1:19 PM

    An average of around 70 rules and regulations are issued every week. There were 3,554 in 2015, and have been 1,693 in 2015 as of today.

    Rules appear, but rarely are rolled back even though the administration’s “Retrospective Review of Regulations.” E.O. 13563 calls for agencies to: 

    [P]periodically review its existing significant regulations to determine whether any such regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed so as to make the agency’s regulatory program more effective or less burdensome.

    (Gotta love the word “expanded” tossed in there.) Enforcement is unclear and rollbacks amount to a drop in the bucket and. Although prospects are dim, some in Congress is looking again at review and sunsetting of regulations.

    Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) introduced the “Small Business Regulatory Sunset Act”; versions appeared in this (S. 846) and the prior congressional session. It calls for agencies to publish plans for review of small business rules, assemble comments from the affected and sunset rules after seven years unless agencies reaffirm (see this coalition letter in support).

    Similarly Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) “Regulatory Review and Sunset Act“ (S. 1067) (The House version is H.R. 2010 from Rep. Randy Hultgren) provides for reviews of the heftiest of rules and for assessments of whether they should be “continued, modified, consolidated, or terminated.” 

    This isn’t new; President George H.W. Bush issued regulatory moratoria and review back in the early 1990s. And upon entering office, President Obama’s chief of staff announced a regulatory freeze of the second President Bush’s pending rules in the first press release the administration issued. These freezes didn’t reduce the march of rulemaking much. The Federal Register popped back up to where it had been as if nothing had occurred, even hitting record levels recently.

    Legislation like sunsetting matters since campaigns of a few months are inadequate to examine the fruits of an intense, thorough audit; plus rules often implement statutory requirements and are exempt from executive waiver and so require law. (Normally, that is; with respect to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, waivers were applied via bulletin, memo and press release by the Internal Revenue Service.) 

    Obama’s unilateral waivers notwithstanding, getting regulations off the books requires the same laborious public notice and comment procedures of a new rule (well, that new rules are supposed to, but may not actually, get).

  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    July 13, 2015 6:24 AM

    The newest batch of federal regulations cover everything from municipal fireworks shows to Venezuelan sanctions. On Monday, the Federal Register will likely pass the 40,000-page mark.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 56 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 91 the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation precisely every three hours.
    • So far in 2015, 1,658 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,140 new regulations this year, which would be several hundred fewer rules than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
    • Last week, 1,647 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,478 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 39,905 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 75,578 pages.
    • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Fifteen such rules have been published so far this year, one in the past week.
    • The total estimated compliance cost of 2015’s economically significant regulations ranges from $1.16 billion to $1.25 billion for the current year.
    • 138 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
    • So far in 2015, 281 new rules affect small businesses; 43 of them are classified as significant. 

Pages

Subscribe to OpenMarket: Regulatory Reform