This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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Congress seems to have reached a deal to combine the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. A $6 trillion budget bill remains on the agenda for later this year. The Supreme Court decided that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium exceeded its legal authority. And the Afghanistan evacuation turned violent with suicide bombing attacks on Kabul’s airport causing at least 170 deaths and 200 casualties. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from duck stamps to bumble bees.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 52 final regulations last week, after 58 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 14 minutes.
  • With 2,118 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,438 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,218 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 52 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 28 the previous week.
  • With 1,398 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,118 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 495 notices last week, after 426 notices the previous week.
  • With 14,382 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 23,347 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,342 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,328 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 294 pages.
  • With 48,294 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 78,399 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 nine such rules so far in 2021, two 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$1.42 billion to $4.81 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 284 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with five in the last week. This is on pace for 461 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 573 new rules affect small businesses. 76 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.