This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The Senate passed the big infrastructure bill in a dramatic marathon vote. It now goes to the House. Up next is a $3.5 trillion spending bill, which will likely be followed by a $6 trillion spending bill. The 2021 Federal Register surpassed 45,000 pages, and is on pace to exceed 74,000 pages, though this would be far less than last year’s 87,352 pages. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from 4,4′-DMAR to market-dominant mail products.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 64 final regulations last week, after 67 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and eight minutes.
  • With 1,998 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,244 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,218 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 56 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 38 the previous week.
  • With 1,318 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,140 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 414 notices last week, after 394 notices the previous week.
  • With 13,461 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 21,852 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 2,236 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,998 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 296 pages.
  • With 45,619 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 74,057 pages in 2021. The 2020 total was 87,352 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (subtracting skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set in 2016.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. There are seven such rules so far in 2021, none from the last week. Agencies published five economically significant rules in 2020, and four in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules ranges from$1.17 billion to $2.13 billion. The 2020 figure ranges from net savings of between $2.04 billion and $5.69 billion, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 273 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with seven in the last week. This is on pace for 443 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 547 new rules affect small businesses; 73 are classified as significant. 2020’s totals were 668 rules affecting small businesses, 26 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.