- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 20, 2022

Regulations issued by President Biden during his first year in office will cost $201 billion and add 131 million hours in annual paperwork, far exceeding the first-year outcomes of Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, according to an analysis released Thursday.

The American Action Forum, a center-right policy institute that has tracked regulatory costs since 2005, said a vehicle emissions rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency was by far the most costly rule, at $180 billion.

It nudged Mr. Biden‘s total regulatory costs to three times that of Mr. Obama‘s first-year total of $65 billion and 40 times that of Mr. Trump, who made cutting red tape a signature part of his first-year agenda by requiring two rules to be rescinded for every new one implemented.

“Fundamentally, we’re looking at a Republican administration that sought to reduce the size and scope of government, and Democrat administrations that grow it,” said Michael Bars, a former senior communications adviser in the Trump White House. “Trump wasted no time undoing the heavy-handed rulemaking of the Obama administration, and Biden predictably came ready to put it right back.”

The deluge of paperwork hours under Mr. Biden is largely due to a pair of COVID-19 rules issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the forum said.

The Supreme Court stayed the second of those rules, which would have required large companies to test unvaccinated workers, meaning the burden might ease after the litigation is resolved.

For now, Mr. Biden‘s first-year paperwork total of 131 million additional hours outstrips the Obama total of 26 million hours and the Trump total of 8 million hours.

“The span of January 21, 2021, through January 20, 2022, represented a historically prodigious year in the realm of regulatory activity. Federal agencies under the Biden administration produced regulatory costs and paperwork burdens that exceeded the ‘Year One’ totals produced under the past two administrations many times over,” wrote the forum’s Dan Goldbeck, a senior regulatory policy analyst, and Dan Bosch, director of regulatory policy.

Democrats are likely to cheer Mr. Biden‘s pivot from Trump-era deregulation, but the GOP held up the analysis as a sign the new administration is bad for business and the economy.

Members of the Senate Finance Committee said Thursday they are particularly concerned about drug price controls as written in Mr. Biden‘s social welfare bill, which is stuck in Congress but might be passed in smaller pieces.

“The tax-and-spending proposal currently under consideration would double down on this concerning trend toward over-regulation and advance a series of sweeping new government mandates for stakeholders across the health care system,” the senators wrote in a letter to colleagues.

Also Thursday, the forum said Mr. Biden signed the most executive orders of any president in his first year since Gerald Ford — 77 — placing him slightly ahead of Mr. Obama‘s first year total and Mr. Trump, who issued fewer than 60 in his first year, according to the forum.

More than a third of Mr. Biden‘s orders were related to COVID-19 or mentioned the pandemic, researchers said.

Other topics included climate change, efforts to reverse Trump administration regulatory policies, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, and “equity advancements for several historically disadvantaged and marginalized communities,” the forum said.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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