Week in Regulation

VA Goes Negative

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) succeeded, somewhat, in reducing its regulatory burden. This week it reduced costs by $1.9 million, putting it on track to meet the requirements of the one-in, two-out executive order. For the week, regulators published $25 million in costs and 560 new paperwork burden hours. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) also began review of several notable rules. The per capita regulatory burden for 2017 is $450.

Regulatory Toplines

  • New Proposed Rules: 49
  • New Final Rules: 69
  • 2017 Total Pages of Regulation: 26,842
  • 2017 Final Rules: $31.5 Billion
  • 2017 Proposed Rules: $114.2 Billion

The American Action Forum (AAF) has catalogued regulations according to their codification in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The CFR is organized into 50 titles, with each title corresponding to an industry or part of government. This snapshot of final rules (a change from earlier versions) will help to determine which sectors of the economy receive the highest number of regulatory actions.

The VA amended regulations for temporary lodging while veterans receive care at medical facilities. The three-page final rule mentions only once that costs are expected to fall by $1.9 million. Because it reduces regulatory burdens, this rulemaking acts as VA’s first deregulatory action of the year. The agency is not historically an aggressive regulator, so an additional cost-cutting measure might be all that is required to comply with the one-in, two-out executive order.

This week, OIRA finished review of the rescission of the “Persuader Rule.” Although not deemed a major rule, it was considered a significant boon to labor unions, especially during the organizing process. OIRA also started review of the Clean Power Plan, although this assessment is expected to lead to major changes, or even full repeal of the measure. Finally, OIRA is considering a formal stay of some of EPA’s recent fracking standards.

Tracking Regulatory Modernization

For the immediate future, the CRA has run its course. Unless Congress exercises the so-called CRA “loophole” or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalizes a controversial rule, the CRA likely won’t be used again until 2025. The numbers are now final for CRA resolutions addressing Obama-era rules; the House and Senate both passed 14 CRA resolutions, with the Senate passing 14 total and the House 15 in all. President Trump has signed all 14 and Congress and the administration have eliminated $3.7 billion in total regulatory costs and 4.2 million paperwork burden hours. There were 35 resolutions of disapproval introduced.

On regulatory budget implementation, below are the agencies that have accrued annual savings and are technically compliant with the president’s one-in, two-out budget:

  • Defense: $400 million
  • Interior: $360 million
  • Education: $100 million
  • Labor: $78 million
  • Veterans Affairs: $1.9 million
  • HHS: $0.02 million

All non-Labor and Veterans Affairs figures are the result of CRA resolutions of disapproval. Given their historic regulatory output, AAF can predict that Defense, Interior, and Education will likely meet the goal of $0 in net regulatory costs by the end of this fiscal year. However, if the $60 million rule that was proposed recently becomes final, HHS will need to find at least two regulations to offset the cost.

Affordable Care Act

Since passage, based on total lifetime costs of the regulations, the Affordable Care Act has imposed costs of $53 billion in final state and private-sector burdens and 176.9 million annual paperwork hours.


Click here to view the total estimated revised costs from Dodd-Frank; since passage, the legislation has produced more than 74.8 million final paperwork burden hours and imposed $38.5 billion in direct compliance costs.

Total Burdens

Since January 1, the federal government has published $145.8 billion in compliance costs ($31.5 billion in final rules) and has cut 18.8 million paperwork burden hours (due to 23.8 million in reductions from final rules). Click below for the latest Reg Rodeo findings.