President Trump’s regulatory moratorium stands in sharp contrast to the Obama administration's rise in midnight rules.
The Trump administration has issued an average of 153 pages of rules in the Federal Register each day since the inauguration. That’s a steep 72 percent decline from the average of 542 pages federal agencies issued during President Obama’s final two months in office, according to a Hill analysis.
The reduction in the Federal Register reveals less about the regulatory priorities of Trump and Obama than it does about the contrast between an incoming and outgoing administration.
It is not uncommon for outgoing presidents to issue a flurry of so-called “midnight regulations” when the next president holds different political persuasions — nor is it uncommon for new presidents to freeze many of those existing rules once they take office.
What the numbers in the Federal Register show is just how quickly federal agencies are expected to flip the switch in Washington.
From the time that President Trump won the 2016 election to his Jan. 20 inauguration, the Obama administration issued 26,019 pages of rules in the Federal Register. Many of these were last-minute regulations agencies were hoping to squeeze in before it was too late.
Since the inauguration, when Trump’s chief of staff Reince Priebus issued a regulatory moratorium, federal agencies have issued only 3,362 pages, and much of that space has been dedicated to delaying or removing existing regulations.
For comparison, the Obama administration issued more pages of rules in the three busiest days of the midnight period: Jan. 19 (1,464 pages), Dec. 20 (1,071 pages), and Nov. 18 (1,465 pages).
The outlier was Jan. 23, three days after Trump’s inauguration, which actually served as the Obama’s administration final edition of the Federal Register due to a scheduling conflict.