Surpassing His Predecessors, Biden Racks up Regulatory Costs

Surpassing His Predecessors, Biden Racks up Regulatory Costs Barack Obama, left, Joe Biden and Donald Trump Former President Barack Obama, left, and Vice President Joe Biden, center, speak with President Donald Trump at the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. (Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images)

By Nicole Wells | Thursday, 20 January 2022 11:23 AM

President Joe Biden has racked up quite the tab in regulatory costs in his first year in office, surpassing both Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, according to a new analysis.

According to the American Action Forum (AAF), a conservative policy institute that tracks government regulation, the Biden Administration is finishing its first year in office having added more than $201 billion in regulatory costs and about 131 million hours in new paperwork annually.

The group found that Biden’s regulatory costs are three times more than those added in Obama’s first year and nearly 40 times more than in Trump’s. The 131 million hours in annual paperwork attached to Biden’s regulations exceeded the totals from Trump and Obama by 123 million hours and 105 million hours, respectively.

The single biggest regulatory change during Biden’s first year was a rule that changed tailpipe emission requirements for new cars, trucks and SUVs, the researchers said.

Added near the end of 2021, the rule requires automakers to meet a fleetwide average of 55 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2026, which is a significant increase from the 38 mpg average required today and is higher than the 43 mpg target the Trump administration set for 2026.

In total, the cost of the emission rule change is projected to be roughly $180 billion, making it the costliest final rule tracked by the AAF since 2005, the group said.

The next most expensive regulation was designed to restrict billing surprises for patients with individual and employer-based healthcare plans “who receive emergency care, nonemergency care from out-of-network providers at in-network facilities, and air ambulance services from out-of-network providers.” Mandated by bipartisan legislation signed by Trump, the price tag for that regulation is approximately $10.5 billion, according to AAF.

An emergency temporary standard rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to protect healthcare employees from workplace exposure to the coronavirus has an expected cost of nearly $4 billion, and would require approximately 19.3 million hours of paperwork, according to the Department of Labor.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a significant contributing factor to the paperwork associated with regulatory changes during Biden’s first year, according to the researchers.

Wayne Crews, vice president for policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told the Washington Examiner that one of the biggest changes since Biden took office was ending Trump’s “one-in, two-out” executive order that directed agencies to repeal two existing regulations for every new one and keep costs low.

Biden has instead worked to expand the regulatory state since being sworn in, Crews said.