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Report: No evidence for charges of excessive regulations

October 2, 2012
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A new report issued by a government watchdog group says there is little difference between the Obama administration and past administrations in their overall level of regulatory activity, nor is there evidence that a "flood" of new rules will be unleashed after the November elections.

OMB Watch, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization that examines activities by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), blames the perception of excessive government regulation on escalating rhetoric by “business interests and their allies on Capitol Hill.”

The report, “The Regulatory Tsunami That Wasn't,” does show an increase in the number of significant rules approved during the first 42 months of the Obama administration relative to a similar period in the first terms of the Clinton and Bush administrations. “But this has been largely driven by the fact that the Obama administration was faced with more economically significant rules required by statutory or judicial deadlines than prior administrations,” according to the authors, who note that a number of the most controversial rules were initiated by a previous administration.

"Significant rules can take years to develop and stretch across administrations," said Randy Rabinowitz, Director of Regulatory Policy at OMB Watch. "They can be started in one administration and finalized under another president. It's unfair to criticize the Obama administration for doing the job Congress gave it to do."

"The overheated rhetoric about the number of regulations finalized under this administration demonstrates a lack of understanding about the rulemaking process," said Katherine McFate, President and CEO of OMB Watch.

The full text of the report is available online at

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