There has been a dramatic increase in new government regulations issued by the Obama administration after the election. In some cases the comment period for public feedback has also been reduced below the standard 60 days.
As of Thursday, there have been 1,886 newly posted regulations in the last 30 days and 5,481 newly posted regulations in the last 90 days, according to regulations.gov, the federal government's regulation tracking website.
The Obama administration is required by law to publish its regulatory agenda twice a year, in April and October. It failed to meet both of those deadlines. Instead, the White House released its regulatory agenda report at around 3 p.m. on Dec. 21, the Friday before Christmas, when it would receive less notice due to the long holiday weekend.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) sent two letters to the president, one in August and another on Dec. 13, asking why the regulatory agenda for the spring or fall had not been published, but received no reply.
"For nearly three decades, presidents of both parties have published their plans for new regulations twice a year. This practice is legal obligation grounded in a longstanding executive order and a federal statute that calls for a spring and fall regulatory agenda," Portman wrote.
In the months prior to the election, new regulations were put on hold, and after the election new regulations began again at a rapid pace, reported Matthew Daly for The Associated Press.
"The rules had been largely put on hold during the presidential campaign as the White House sought to quiet Republican charges that President Barack Obama was an overzealous regulator who is killing U.S. jobs," Daly wrote. "But since the election, the Obama administration has quietly reopened the regulations pipeline."
Americans for Limited Government, a conservative government watchdog group, has complained that the comment period for these new regulations has been greatly reduced. Since the Bill Clinton administration, most new regulations are given 60 days in which citizens can review the regulations and provide feedback to the administration.
ALG sent four letters to the Obama administration complaining about the reduced comment period for new regulations. The comment period was 30 days for three of those regulations and 24 days for the fourth regulation. One of those had a deadline of the day after Christmas. All four regulations deal with implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare."
Conservative and pro-business groups have also complained that many of these new regulations threaten to dampen the prospects of an economic recovery and cause layoffs at a time of high unemployment.
The National Association of Manufacturers released a study in November estimating that six new Environmental Protection Agency regulations will cost U.S. industries $404.5 billion to $884.5 billion in new capital expenditures and $63.2 billion to $138.2 billion in yearly compliance costs. The EPA's own estimates are about half that amount.
At HotAir.com, a conservative website, Erika Johnsen argued that Obama purposely delayed implementing the new regulations because they would have hurt the economy and his chances of getting re-elected.
"For months now, lawmakers have been complaining about the Obama administration's glib dismissal of their explicitly promised commitment to transparency and their blithe failure to publish either a spring or a fall regulatory agenda – which is even worse when you consider the fact that his administration has been rolling out new regulations at an economically soul-crushing pace. Wouldn't want to start circulating anything that might damper the president's chances ahead of the election, especially with all the mega-rules of Dodd-Frank and ObamaCare still unwritten, now would we?" Johnsen wrote.