• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: Administration Ignores Law, Delays Exposing New Regulations

    After three years of hyper-regulation, the Obama Administration has noticeably slowed its rulemaking in recent months. A variety of major rules have been parked in prolonged “review” by the White House, while the regulatory agenda required by statute has failed to materialize—twice. This flouting of the law is disturbing enough, but it’s made worse by the mounting regulatory uncertainty that has ensued.

    Congress mandated a regulatory agenda from each agency in 1980, under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The statute calls for release every April and October of a summary of all rules likely to have a “significant economic impact” on a substantial number of small firms. Subsequent executive orders extended the requirements to all regulations under development or review by some 60 departments, agencies, and commissions.

    President Obama has ignored both the April 2012 and October 2012 agenda deadlines. The last agenda from the Administration, with 2,676 regulations, was published in fall 2011. The President’s neglect of the law contradicts his promise of an “unprecedented level of openness in government transparency.”

    Notice of upcoming regulatory actions is an essential tool of government transparency and accountability. The agenda enables citizens to participate in the rulemaking process, businesses to plan, and Congress to engage in oversight. The stakes are especially high now because of the hundreds of rules yet to be finalized relating to the Dodd-Frank financial regulation statute and Obamacare.

    The Administration has postponed action of late on some of its most ambitious regulations. For example, stricter standards on ozone emissions have been shelved until 2013. The original proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency would cost $90 billion or more annually and, potentially, jeopardize millions of jobs.

    Also on hold are various regulations to control power plant emissions of so-called greenhouse gases that would dramatically increase energy costs, as well as the designation of coal ash as a “hazardous substance”—estimated to cost $79 billion to $110 billion and thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Missouri and Ohio.

    There is ample reason to believe that this recent “draw-back” of rulemaking portends a regulatory tsunami in the coming year. Of particular note is the large number of proposed regulations that are piling up at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the department within the Office of Management and Budget which reviews rules before they are published in the Federal Register.

    According to OIRA data, a whopping 78 percent of the 151 regulations awaiting review have been pending at the office for more than 90 days—thus exceeding the maximum time allotted under executive order.

    Among the most costly:

    • A Department of Transportation rule to require a rear-view camera and video    display for all new cars and trucks, at an estimated cost of up to $2.7 billion.
    • Revisions to the so-called Boiler MACT rules that impose stricter limits on industrial and commercial boilers and incinerators. The EPA pegged the cost of its original proposal at $9.5 billion, but independent analysts estimated the cost to be as much as $20 billion.
    • Energy conservation standards for walk-in coolers and freezers as well as commercial refrigeration, which would apply to virtually all equipment used in retail food stores. This is estimated by the Department of Energy to increase manufacturing costs by $500 million over four years.
    • Department of Labor restrictions on worker exposure to crystalline silica (fine particles of sand common to mining, manufacturing and construction). One analysis submitted to OIRA by engineering and economic consultants estimated compliance costs would be $5.5 billion annually, the loss of 17,000 “person-years” of employment, and $3.1 billion of economic output each year.

    It would be good news for both the economy and consumers if the rulemaking delays are a result of more thorough cost analysis or consideration of regulatory alternatives. But there’s no indication that the Administration has embraced a newfound skepticism toward red tape. The evidence instead suggests that a multitude of major rules are simply awaiting release next year.

    No one knows for certain, of course. But that very uncertainty is itself damaging to the economy. That is one important reason Congress requires the Administration to disclose its regulatory intentions in semi-annual agendas. President Obama should follow that law.

    Read the full report: Obama’s Regulatory Agenda: Calm Before the Superstorm

    Quick Hits:

    • Fox News has uncovered a smoking gun on the terrorist attack in Libya—showing that the Secretary of State’s office was warned weeks earlier that the consulate could not withstand a “coordinated attack.” Heritage’s James Jay Carafano has serious questions.
    • More than half of the gas stations in New York City and New Jersey are still closed. The fuel shortage is making it difficult for people to get back to work.
    • The New York City subway has resumed service this morning.
    • Researchers are scrambling to preserve medical research specimens stored at NYU Langone Medical Center, which lost power during the storm. They worried that it could set back years of cancer research.
    • Why was Halloween candy so expensive? Maybe because the U.S. still has the sugar tariff from the Great Depression.
    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    20 Responses to Morning Bell: Administration Ignores Law, Delays Exposing New Regulations

    1. Lloyd Scallan says:

      The November 6th election is upon us. Obama is not stupid. He will not force more regulations down our throats this close to November. What Obama "should do" and what he actually does are completely different. Does the author think this is the first time Obama a flaunted our laws? How many more times must Obama prove he doesn't intend to follow the laws of a nation. How many more times before we realize and admit Obama has no moral compass, no honor? Obama was invented to destroy America as we have known it. Yet because of the treasonous media deliberately covering and hiding Obama agenda, about half of the people do not understand that an elected American president can do exactly what Obama is doing.

    2. Libba says:

      This is no surprise. This administration has operated, openly and notoriously, without any restraint from Congress or any "rules and regulations". This has been done transparently….just not the tranparency that the citizenry of the U.S. expected. This administration is laughing out loud at what they have been able to accomplish. Those that abide by the rules do not "get it". The only way the rules work is just like currency. A dollar bill is only believed to be worth something because we are told it does. Same as the three branches of govt. work only when we believe they do. This administration has shown the U.S. citizenry that we still believe that "it" works when in reality they have been operating as a separate entity all together, untethered by the restraint of common law, federal rules and regulations.

    3. jurgy says:

      "The Administration has postponed action of late on some of its most ambitious regulations."
      obama has been too busy campaigning to have time for such frivolous presidential tasks …

      • Jules Guidry says:

        Plus, if these regs would come into a more public view just before election day, he would leave office on a rail. I'll be satisfied to just see him out of office, thank you.
        These regs would institute the death blow to the economy, if implemented. The R/R campaign needs to make it known to the public the status of these regs and how they will effect everyone.

    4. kid Richie says:

      Why is our Congress so afraid to impeach Obama? Certainly, what he has done over and over, in violating the Constitution and enacted laws, has been worthy of impeachment,
      Do we no longer have a Constitution? Are we no longer a nation of laws?
      The Congress,in allowing Obama to do all the damage he has done throughout his term as President, makes the Congress just as guilty!

      • Satelliter says:

        Congress will do nothing while Obama is in office because they are afraid of losing their spot at the hog trough…. the truth is we have no congress, just a bunch of gutless, Obama "yes men" who are hoping to save their own butts when the hammer (and sickle) comes down on America,

    5. toledofan says:

      One thing is very clear, four more years of the Democrats and the Obama Administration will signal the end of the America so many have fought and died for. The entire past four years have shown us how radical this administration is and inept they are at managing the country, the economy and the military. So, we either change the players on November 6th or we continue down the path of total disintergration of the Constitution, it's that simple.

    6. Sheryl Dolan says:

      This President obviously "through his whole presidency" thinks he is "ABOVE THE LAW" and yet half the country wants him back in office? Just baffles my mind!!

      • Satelliter says:

        My wife came from Yugoslavia. She was stripped of her (very large) home and all possessions by the new government because she refused to join the communist Party. She was given a small, one bed room apt. on 4th floor (with no elevator) for a family of four. Those who joined the party were well taken care of and became pretty well off. Our congress wants to retain their salaries, free insurance, life time retirement benefits and all the other perks and the best way to insure that is to "join the Obama party". The reality is we really don't have a congress any more, just another gov. agency who has their hand in the taxpayers pie of cash.

    7. Here is another of many examples that proves the Obama administration truly believes its above the law. It also explains the current state of the economy and why there is so much uncertainty when it comes to businesses planning, both short-term and long-term. With all of these new regulations, new taxes plus those that are imbedded in Obamacare. Businesses hands are tied. Therefore, they have to put hiring and expanding or taking risks in starting up new businesses on hold. If this administration is bold enough to openly ignore the limits of its constitutional authority during its first term. Even to the point of breaking current laws on the books and bypassing the legislative process. While being helped by the main stream media that have failed to inform the American people regarding these over steps. Imagine what they would do in a second term where they don’t have to answer to anyone. The President will succeed in doing what he promised. “FUNDIMENTALLY TRANSFORMING AMERICA”. The question is, into “WHAT”? I know the answer and I don’t think most Americans will like the new America.

    8. @undefined says:

      The term "Regulation" is merely a key word for the people to understand that Congress has abrogated it's responsibility to create laws, with the Administration enforcing the laws. When the Administration WRITES laws, the balance gets all out of whack.

    9. RennyG says:

      Rules, regulations, Constitution, who needs them! He knows no one is going to stop him or force him to do anything so why should we complain!! Shame on us to allow this to happen!!!! LORD FORGIVE US FOR TURNING OUR BACK ON YOU!

    10. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      If Obama steals this election, it'll be more of the same.

    11. M K K says:

      So we know this and so many other blatant violations by this President. . .my question is who takes action? Please don't tell me to vote, I know that. I mean if the regulation or law requires something specific, what does the regulation or law require when it is not followed? We have been inundated with news of the out of control administration; and it seems that he goes unchallenged to continue his reign.

    12. James V. Burnette says:

      And the deception keeps getting deeper and deeper. If Obama is re-elected and Congress opens the doors to begin the 2013 session the flood of regulations will fill the building faster than hurricane Sandy filled New York and New Jersey.

    13. Mike says:

      Now the answer: There's nothing new, surprising, or outside that now same old pattern! Not only that, but we should also see how such ignoring and delaying fits in perfectly with Obama's re-election efforts, so of course he and his administration will ignore and delay things which would expose him, his administration, and are bad news for the people (such as the coming regulatory tsunami) until after the election. This isn't rocket science and it doesn't require college degrees or being career politicians to see what is being made evident and obvious enough…not only the rule of law but also even government's own rules, regulations, and required actions, are being ignored and, as in this case, delayed, by the Obama “administration”, for both political expedience (re-election) and more grabs for money and Statist power, at the expense of, as always, the freedoms and resources of the people.

    14. Jim Johnson says:

      It is self evident that regulation passed illegally is ILLEGAL and cannot be enforced. Are there no sane people left that have the guts to refuse to comply with tyrannical law?

    15. Sandra says:

      Obama has long touted his total commitment to the "Rule of Law". He loves that phrase so long as it doesn't apply to him or his agenda. He has thumbed his nose at the constitution and the American people. We can only hope Nov 6 brings real change. God bless the United States of America

    16. ken says:

      I want freedom not government control.

    17. Richard says:

      This is actually the fault of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. The House has the sole power to impeach. By not taking steps to impeach a law-disregarding President, they have encouraged further law-flouting. The fact that no impeachment would ever result in removal from office after a Senate trial is irrelavent. The process of impeachment places attention on the behavior of the Executive and would have clearly pointed out to the American people just how flagrant this President is in ignoring law. In addition, there should have been no hesitation–if further impeachable offenses were to come up between impeachment and trial, they should have been addressed subsequently. Further, impeachment could not possibly be ignored by the media–even if they thought it was frivolous–witness the Clinton Impeachment. It’s one thing to ignore one’s Constitutional Duty, which should override some political calculation of “we can’t win, we’ll only look like buffoons.” We’ll never know, now.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×