Joseph Lawler reports: President Barack Obama’s last year in office set a high watermark for new federal rules and regulations as the outgoing Democrat sought to leave his mark on the country through a “pen and phone” strategy.
The total number of Federal Register pages in 2016 rose nearly 20 percent to 95,894, the most ever, and the number of final rules, at 3,853, was the most since 2005, according to a new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Read the rest of this entry »
‘It’s uncertain how many federal regulatory agencies exist.‘
Ethan Barton writes: Government agencies use “regulatory dark matter” to insert themselves into everyday life without congressional or public approval, a conservative nonprofit watchdog group reported Tuesday.
“The problem with regulatory dark matter is that it allows the executive branch of our government to rule sectors of our economy through mere announcements, rather than actual lawmaking or even proper rule-making.”
Federal regulatory orders include presidential and agency memoranda, guidance documents, bulletins and public notices that don’t require prior congressional consent, and empower the government to interfere in business and personal lives, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute report.
“There are hundreds of ‘significant’ agency guidance documents now in effect, plus many thousands of other such documents that are subject to little scrutiny or democratic accountability.”
“Congress needs to take back its authority over federal agencies,” CEI Vice President Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. said. “The problem with regulatory dark matter is that it allows the executive branch of our government to rule sectors of our economy through mere announcements, rather than actual lawmaking or even proper rule-making.”
Crews praised President Donald Trump’s efforts to curb government regulations, but said agencies “can still create dark matter behind the scenes,” and that additional congressional action is needed to curb the problem.
Recent examples of federal regulatory dark matter include Obamacare mandate waivers that extended employer mandate deadlines, Department of Justice guidance on transgender students, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s driverless car guidance.
“Congress lacks a clear grasp of the amount and cost of the thousands of executive branch” dark matter regulations, the CEI report said … (read more)
Source: The Daily Caller
What is Regulatory Dark Matter?
How do regulations get made? Agencies have to follow specific procedures, first outlined in the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act. The trouble is that many agencies simply ignore the law. Wayne Crews documents several cases of such procedural abuse in his new paper, “Mapping Washington’s Lawlessness 2016: A Preliminary Inventory of ‘Regulatory Dark Matter.’”
The rulemaking process has been updated and amended over time, and it can get technical. But the basic principles are pretty simple. For a detailed look at the process, see Susan Dudley and Jerry Brito’s excellent primer. Wayne’s point is that more and more often, agencies are ignoring proper procedure. Perhaps folks at the EPA, HHS, and other agencies should read Dudley and Brito.
The first principle is that only Congress can legislate. Agencies can’t just unilaterally issue regulations; Congress has to pass legislation directing them to issue rules. Agencies do have some discretion, but their regulations do have to have statutory authority. More and more, agencies are flouting Congress and acting on their own. In 2014, Congress passed 224 laws—while agencies issued 3,554 regulations. Recent examples of non-congressional legislating include net neutrality, carbon emissions, and subsidies to health insurance exchanges—which led to the King v. Burwell Supreme Court case.
Another principle is public participation and transparency. Before a new regulation can take effect, an agency has to publish a proposed version of the rule in the daily Federal Register. Once it’s published, that opens a comment period where anyone, from the general public to policy experts, can submit comments about the rule. Comment periods vary, but typically last from 30 to 90 days. Agencies are required to respond and take into account the public’s comments before the final version of the regulation takes effect. Read the rest of this entry »
— Bill (@DefendWallSt) June 9, 2015
Feds adding new regulation every 3 hours…
Breanna Deutsch writes: Last week Mother Nature shut down Washington’s government offices for a day, but the extreme weather was no match for federal regulators.
Broken down, that is the equivalent of a new regulation added about every three hours.
We are only in the second month of 2014 and already the Federal Register has mushroomed to 9,079 pages. At this pace, the register will accumulate 73,218 pages by 2015. Shockingly, this would be the lowest total in five years.
Senator Mike Lee knows…
Government force and fraud is for our own good.
The government thinks you’re stupid, or at least ignorant.
Jonah Goldberg writes: This isn’t just an indictment of the current government or an indictment of government itself. It’s simply a statement of fact. At its core, the government exists to do certain things that people aren’t equipped to do on their own. The list of those things has gotten longer and longer over the years. In 1776, the federal government’s portfolio could have easily fit in a file folder: maintain an army and navy, a few federal courts, the post office, the patent office, and maybe a dozen or two other pretty obvious things.
Now, the file folder of things the federal government does is much bigger. To paraphrase Dr. Egon Spengler from Ghostbusters, let’s imagine that the federal government in 1776 was the size of this Twinkie (take my word for it, I’m holding a normal-sized Twinkie). Today that Twinkie would be 35 feet long, weighing approximately 600 pounds. Or, if that illustration doesn’t work for you, consider this: The number of civilians (i.e., not counting the military) who work for the executive branch alone is today nearly equal to the entire population of the United States in 1776. The Federal Register, the federal government’s fun-filled journal of new rules, regulations, and the like, was about 2,600 pages in 1936 (a year after it was created). Today it’s over 80,000 pages.
(CNSNews.com) – Since March 2010, when President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and its companion Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (HCERA), the administration has published in the Federal Register 109 final regulations governing how Obamacare will be implemented. These regulations add up to 10,516 pages in the Federal Register—or more than eight times as many pages as there are in the Gutenberg Bible, which has 642 two-sided leaves or 1,286 pages. Read the rest of this entry »