Record 600 Major Regulations Imposed Under Obama

Report: New burdensome regulation issued every 3 days

Barack Obama
August 8, 2016

The federal government has imposed a new major regulation every three days since President Barack Obama took office, as the administration has shattered the record for implementing regulations costing the economy $100 million or more.

The Obama administration has now issued 600 major regulations, the center-right policy institute the American Action Forum noted in a recent report.

"One year ago, the American Action Forum (AAF) celebrated a regulatory milestone, of sorts: 500 major regulations," wrote Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy. "A major regulation has an economic impact of $100 million or more and can significantly affect prices for consumers."

Obama has exceeded the 426 regulations introduced under eight years of George W. Bush despite serving less time in office so far.

"In more than six years in office, President Obama had imposed more regulations than President Bush did in eight years," Batkins said. "Now, the administration has once again reached another record-breaking figure: 600 major regulations in roughly 7.5 years, which is 20 percent more than the previous president did in eight years."

The American Action Forum said President Obama’s work expanding regulation in the U.S. economy is not finished, as new rules are still being finalized. The administration is set to impose new greenhouse gas standards for heavy-duty trucks at a price tag of $31 billion, and efficiency standards for manufactured housing that will cost $4.1 billion.

Obama is on pace to issue 641 major regulations through the remainder of his term.

Even though major regulations are defined as rules that cost the economy at least $100 million, major rules imposed during the Obama years have cost much more.

"To date, the administration’s major rules have cost, on average, $1.4 billion," Batkins wrote. "With the possibility of 50 more rules, the lame duck tally could push this regulatory cost figure to $813 billion ($743 billion base plus $70 billion in future rules). That’s more than the GDP of the Philippines, a country with 100 million people."

On average, the Obama administration has issued one major rule every three days.

"The federal government is open approximately 250 days annually, so this equates to a major regulation every three days or nearly two per week," according to the report.

The 600 major regulations have cost the economy at least $743 billion, or $2,294 for every person in the United States. The figure is "larger than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Norway and Israel combined."

"Implementing 600 major rules might sound like eight or nine years of regulation, but this doesn’t mark the end of President Obama’s regulatory streak," Batkins said. "Even though the president and his regulators have already issued 40 major rules in 2016, with an average of 81 major rules annually, the nation is still not halfway to the administration’s ‘regulatory budget’ this year."