Think Tank: Obama accelerates rule-maiking says study

24 May 2013 09:09  [Source: ICB]

A new congressional study seems to ­confirm what chemical producers contend: that the Obama administration is a rules-making machine that chews up ­business and gobbles up growth.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in a multi-year analysis of federal regulatory action that there has been an escalation of rule-making in the last four years since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009.

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According to the CRS study, previous administrations have hardly been slackers in rule-making, but the last four years show a significant advance. During George W Bush's second term, the number of final regulations issued by the federal government was roughly in the range of just under 3,000-3,300 annually. In the first year of Obama's first term, 2009, the number of final rules rose to 3,471, according to the study.

It should be noted that some of those 2009 rules likely were carry-overs from the last year of the Bush administration. Indeed, in 2010 - the first full year of the Obama presidency - the number of final rules fell to 3,261.

Regulatory action picked up quickly in the next year, however, with 3,835 final rules being issued by the Obama White House and its various administrative agencies in 2011. The flow of rule-making fell sharply in 2012, according to the CRS, dropping to 2,482 in that year.

However, many in the chemicals ­industry and elsewhere in US business circles contend that the White House did not want to bombard the nation with a wave of new rules in the run-up to the election, and throttled back.

As a consequence business leaders expect that the newly re-elected Obama team will unleash a greater flood of regulations and executive orders this year in order to make up for election year policy.

In addition, the Obama White House and the administration's regulatory agencies have yet to come close to the rulemaking tide that swept the nation during Bill Clinton's eight years in office, when the number of final regulations was as high as 4,388 annually.

But the Obama administration takes top honours in the special and more costly regulatory category of "major" rules - also known as "economically significant" regulations. While the number of major regulations were in the 50-70 range during the Clinton presidency, and stayed closer to the 50-60 field during most of the Bush years, the figure jumped to 94 in the last year of the Bush administration, and then rose to 100 in Obama's first full year in office.

By: Joe Kamalick
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