This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The House passed a $1.85 trillion spending bill, which a 50-50 Senate will now consider. An Alzheimer’s vaccine began human trials. If it proves safe and effective, we will then find out how many years the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will withhold it from patients. Hopefully the FDA learned the right lesson from its expedited approval of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from date taxes to refractory products.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 63 final regulations last week, after 52 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 40 minutes.
  • With 2,865 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,301 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,218 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 41 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 34 the previous week.
  • With 1,851 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,132 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,222 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 391 notices last week, after 343 notices the previous week.
  • With 19,725 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,725 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 3,255 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,225 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 299 pages.
  • With 66,150 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 76,210 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 21 such rules so far in 2021, three 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 $6.72 billion to $11.61 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 331 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with four in the last week. This is on pace for 381 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 789 new rules affect small businesses; 84 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.