- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Obama administration pushed through $181.5 billion in new or expanded regulations in 2014, according to a new report from a conservative think that said California, Texas and Ohio were hardest hit by the additional red tape.

The American Action Forum said the new rules mostly focus on clean energy and auto emissions regulations, saying the rules cost California $7.9 billion, Texas $6.5 billion and Ohio $3.4 billion.

Last month, the group estimated that the administration’s regulations would cost a total of $143.3 billion in 2014.

“President Obama’s pen and phone imposed $181.5 billion in regulatory costs during 2014, including proposed and final rules,” said a summary of the report, written by Sam Batkins, AAF’s director of regulatory policy. “In 79,066 pages of regulation, Americans will feel higher energy bills, more expensive consumer goods, and fewer employment opportunities. No one can accuse the president of abandoning his promises on regulation in 2014.”

Speaking to a group of federal employees last month, Mr. Obama said Republicans “are about 25 percent right when it comes to regulatory burden.” He said his administration continues to take steps to eliminate outdated rules and to work with the business community for more sensible policies.

But a report last month by the Congressional Research Service showed that businesses have been hit with nearly 50 percent more “economically significant” regulations under Mr. Obama than under the presidency of George W. Bush.

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Mr. Obama has issued 406 of these regulations, estimated to cost businesses more than $100 million per year, over his first six years in office — an average of 68 per year. Mr. Bush issued 277 such regulations over his first six years in office, for an average of 46 annually.

CRS found that the number of final rules has declined slightly, from 3,830 in 2008 to 3,659 last year.

The AAF report also said the impact of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory act and Obamacare were $16.7 billion and $1.9 billion, respectively.

AAF was is led by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office. The group was founded in 2010 by Norm Coleman, a former Republican senator from Minnesota, and Fred Malek, a longtime Republican fundraiser and strategist.

Overall in 2014, the AAF report said, there were six regulations that could have an annual impact of more than $1 billion, and regulators published 39 rulemakings with yearly burdens of more than $100 million. Those 39 regulations also carried 25.6 million hours of paperwork.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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