Charting Midnight Regulation Before Dawn: Surge in Significant Rules

From: American Action Forum

Sam Batkins

In its series tracking regulation in the final year of the Obama Administration, this month evidenced more of the same: little evidence of a rush in regulation, but steady stream of significant rulemaking. Last month, the White House approved 15 economically significant rulemakings (economic impact of $100 million or more). This month, that figure dropped to 10, but it was still more than any comparable March during a presidential election year since 1996. Through the first three months of this year, regulators have approved 31 significant rulemakings; the two next closest years were 2008 and 2004, when regulators approved just 22 significant rulemakings. In other words, the White House has approved 40 percent more significant regulatory action than any comparable period since 1996.

With less than a year for President Obama to regulate, this is his midnight year for regulation. Although it’s not the official midnight period yet (defined as the period after Election Day, but before the next president takes office), each month the American Action Forum (AAF) will highlight the final regulatory activity of the administration and compare it to similar times in the past. This monthly series will highlight all of the rules leaving the White House scheduled for official publication, all economically significant measures, the length of time for White House review, the number of rules rejected or withdrawn from the rulemaking process, and the monthly cost of federal regulatory activity.

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