While a recent report from OMB Watch criticized the Obama administration for moving too slowly on regulatory enforcement during its first two years, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce describes the same period as having "an unprecedented exposion of new regulatory activity."

In his recent "State of American Business" speech, Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue predicted a "regulatory tsunami" ahead, with the administration likely to turn increasingly to the regulatory agencies since midterm election results will make getting legislation out of Congress more difficult than in the past.

Donohue said that would pose, in the Chamber's view, "the single biggest challenge to jobs, our global competitiveness, and the future of American enterprise." He named addressing regulatory restraint and reform as a top priority on the group's 2011 agenda, along with expanding American trade, rebuilding the nation's economic foundation and reduicng runaway spending, deficits and debt.

Despite regulatory restraint, Donohue said that the state of American business is improving. "I can report that when it comes to the nation’s economy, we begin 2011 in better shape than we found ourselves last year."

Fears of a double dip recession have given way to cautious optimism about a continued recovery. Donohue said he expects the economy to continue to expand by 3.2 percent in 2011, create 2.4 to 2.6 million net new jobs by the end of the year.