Washington enacts between two and three-hundred laws annually. They run the gamut from creating new programs to naming federal buildings.
Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.
Washington adds ten to 15 times as many new regulations as it passes laws each year. More than 3400 new regs were added last year. Some have just as big an impact as laws. Many cost just as much.
Twice a year, the White House Office of Management and Budget publishes a list of regulations that are snaking their way through the approval process. According to OMB, there were more than 3300 rules under review or were approved in the previous six months.
More than 200 of these regulations will cost the public at least 100-million dollars.
Some regulations are relatively obscure. Others have a significant effect on – and, some say, pose a major threat to — society.
Consider the recent EPA rule to regulate coal plant emissions. The Supreme Court took the highly unusual step of blocking this rule before it completed the formal review process. This underscores the high court’s skepticism of the administration’s efforts to misuse regulatory rulemaking to achieve political goals.
The Administration turned to the EPA to issue rules after Democrat majorities in the Congress killed the president’s proposed legislation back in 2010.
Federal regulations get very little media scrutiny compared to Capitol Hill votes. Even when there’s so much at stake.