Obama Administration's Midnight Regulations to Total $44 Billion

Regulatory costs are more than eight times higher than what was originally projected

Barack Obama
December 5, 2016

The Obama administration has put forth 25 so-called "midnight" regulations, which will cost the economy $44.1 billion, according to a report from the American Action Forum.

Midnight regulations are rules that are published after Election Day and before the next president is inaugurated in January 2017. Earlier this year, the administration estimated that there would be $5.2 billion in regulatory costs incurred during that time.

The $44.1 billion in regulatory costs have overshot that estimate by more than eight times.

The administration's final regulatory agenda includes $75.3 billion in costs, which includes the cost of the midnight regulations, but is added to the $150 billion in regulatory costs the administration has produced already this year.

"The Administration has implemented many of its regulatory priorities: virtually all of the [Affordable Care Act], a majority of Dodd-Frank, and dozens of rules aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions," the report states. "However, as this agenda demonstrates, and recent regulatory output corroborates, there are still key rulemakings left for the waning days of the Obama Administration."

Some of the key rules involve efficiency standards for the Department of Energy, corporate average fuel economy standards for the Department of Transportation and the Department of Education's rule the "Every Student Succeeds Act Supplement."

For example, efficiency standards for housing, power supplies and heating equipment put forth between November and December of this year will total $11,232,000,000.

The most expensive regulation put out during this time will go to the Department of Health and Human Services for a rule called the "Protection of Human Subjects." The rule will cost $13,342,000,000 and is designed to "better protect human subjects involved in research, while facilitating valuable research and reducing burden, delay, and ambiguity for investigators."

"Everything not yet final could come under scrutiny from President-elect Trump and the Republican Congress next year," the report states. "The agenda might reveal $44 billion in midnight regulations today, but they could vanish quickly in a series of votes or executive actions in 2017."

The White House did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Published under: Barack Obama , Regulation