In 2013, Regulations Cost Americans $447 Million Each Day Government Was Open

Barbara Hollingsworth | January 9, 2014 | 4:13pm EST
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A Senate staffer moves the stack of federal regulations implementing Obamacare. (AP photo)

( – Regulations that went into effect in 2013 cost Americans $112 billion – or $447 million for each of the 251 days the federal government was open - according to a study by the American Action Forum (AAF), which predicts that the regulatory burden will increase to $143 billion in 2014.

“That’s in part because they’re going to finalize a lot of the big proposals that they had this year and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is going to regulate existing greenhouse gases from stationary sources for the first time, and we recognize there’ll be a big price tag for that,” Sam Batkins, AAF’s research director, told

“And in January, they are going to finalize new rules for cooling water intake structures for power plants to preserve aquatic wildlife, and we’re also going to see the final push of Dodd-Frank and Affordable Care Act implementation. There are two notable Affordable Care Act rules that will be finalized.”

New regulations will also include calorie labeling for vending machines, Batkins added, even though the products sold in the machines already have nutritional information on their labels.

“You will be able to see that chocolate and fried potato chips have a lot of calories, and you will be able to see that twice when the new regulations become final, if you didn’t already know that,” he told

“Overall regulatory activity was up over 2012,” Batkins added, in part because “the White House delayed some controversial rules until after the 2012 election.”

Federal regulators added 2,974 more pages of rules to the Federal Register in 2013 than they did in 2012, a 2.5 percent increase, the study found, and added 157 million hours of additional paperwork Americans were required to fill out last year.

The AAF study also found that 104 of the new regulations issued in 2013 were classified as “economically significant” by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, defined by the Congressional Review Act as having an impact of $100 million or more on the U.S. economy. This represents a 25 percent increase over 2012.

“The scope is astounding,” said Batkins, who expects even more regulatory activity in 2014. “The president has three years left in office,” he told “If he really wants to cement his regulatory legacy, now is the time to do it.”

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