Government Shutdown Produces Regulatory Slowdown

By:  Michael Tennant
10/08/2013
       
Government Shutdown Produces Regulatory Slowdown

The pace of federal regulations has slowed dramatically as the government shutdown has forced agencies to furlough many of their employees.

Amid the various inconveniences caused by the temporary shutdown of the federal government, including the closures of national parks and the unavailability of passports, comes some good news. According to The Hill, the “shutdown has all but turned off the regulatory spigot, reducing the flow of new rules from federal agencies to a trickle.”

With only skeleton crews at many regulatory bodies — “several agencies are operating with fewer than 10 percent of their workforce,” the paper says — there simply aren’t enough people to continue issuing the dozens of diktats that normally emanate from Washington on a daily basis. As a result, the Federal Register has shrunk considerably, from over 400 pages with 40 rules or proposals on the day before the shutdown to an edition “less than a third the size” with “just six rules” on the fourth day of the stoppage. “More than 100 proposed regulations already forwarded to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for approval are also frozen.”

As far as conservatives and business groups are concerned, this is cause for celebration. Most of the regulations that would have been issued under normal circumstances are almost certainly unconstitutional. In addition, they would infringe on individual liberty and hamper economic growth.

“We’re very pleased that the Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to wreck the U.S. economy with more and more heavy-handed and colossally expensive regulations has been put on hold,” the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) Myron Ebell told The Hill.

Chief among those rules is a “series of contentious regulations as part of President Obama’s initiative to combat climate change, including rules that would limit emissions from new and existing power plants, clarify its regulatory jurisdiction over smaller bodies of water and reduce smog,” the newspaper writes.

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