A new report from the conservative American Action Forum (AAF) has identified tens of billions of dollars worth of proposed regulations that are scheduled to be issued after November’s midterm elections.
The AAF study counted 15 major regulations with associated projected costs of roughly $34 billion that are due in November, December and January.
Among them are a series of contentious Environmental Protection Agency regulations, including a final rule imposing new limits greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and standards for ground-level ozone.
Various labor, energy and healthcare regulations also made the list.
“Regardless of possible motive, if this schedule remains in place, there will be no shortage of major regulations issued immediately after Election Day,” according to the report, authored by Sam Batkins, the group’s director of regulatory affairs.
Administrations led by both parties have been accused of delaying regulations before elections and, in cases where the opposing party wins the White House, presidents issuing a flurry of “midnight regulations.”
While President Obama is not on the ticket this year, his administration has much at stake in November. If Republicans are able to secure control of the Senate, Obama’s policy agenda would have even longer odds than it does now.
A report released late last year by the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) said election-year politics were among several factors that contributed to regulatory delays in 2011 and 2012.
The ACUS, an independent federal agency charged with monitoring the government’s rule-making process, also attributed the delays to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs's (OIRA) exhaustive analysis of rules, reviews by other agencies, staffing shortages at OIRA and an absence of strict deadlines.
Politics were also a factor, according to federal officials interviewed as part of the ACUS probe.
“Several of the senior agency employees indicated that OIRA rules took longer in 2011 and 2012 because of concerns about the agencies issuing costly or controversial rules prior to the November 2012 election,” according to the report.