Study: Obama administration issued $40B in 'midnight' regs

Study: Obama administration issued $40B in 'midnight' regs
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The Obama administration issued more than $40 billion worth of "midnight" regulations, according to a new study.

The business-minded American Action Forum (AAF) said Monday that federal agencies issued 102 major rules in 2016 — including 38 major rules during the two-month period between when President Trump was elected on Nov. 8 and his inauguration last Friday.

The last-minute rush to regulate included $41.2 billion worth of final rules issued since the election.

“There is little doubt politics motivated some of the historic midnight surge from the Obama administration,” Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the AAF, told The Hill.

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“Publishing a year’s worth of regulatory burdens in less than three months is no easy task,” he said.

The AAF's "Regulation Rodeo" tracks the total number of rules issued each year, and how much they cost the economy.

Last year, federal agencies issued nearly $165 billion in final rules, according to the AAF, compared to $99 billion in 2015 and $79 billion in 2014.

When Batkins claims the Obama administration published “a year’s worth of regulatory burdens in less than three months,” he is referring to 2013, when federal agencies issued less than $30 billion in final rules.

The most expensive midnight rules were the Energy Department’s efficiency standards for central air conditioners ($12.3 billion) and ceiling fans ($4.4 billion). Others include the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard ($1.5 billion), as well as the Interior Department’s natural gas standards on public lands ($2.4 billion) and stream protection rule ($1.2 billion).

Each of these rules is ripe for repeal.

Trump and Republican lawmakers could turn to the Congressional Review Act to overturn as many as 20 regulations they disapprove of that were issued by the Obama administration, according to Batkins.