President Trump has declared passing the new NAFTA/USMCA as his top legislative priority, but congressional ratification will not be automatic. Mexico and Canada are also refraining from ratifying the deal due to President Trump’s recent steel and aluminum tariffs against them. The Senate also pushed back against his national emergency declaration, and the world mourns with New Zealand after a terrible tragedy. Meanwhile, rulemaking agencies issued new regulations ranging from vegetable power of attorney to Honduran archaeology.
On to the data:
- Last week, 69 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 68 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 21 minutes.
- Federal agencies have issued 447 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,191 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
- Last week, agencies published 494 notices, for a total of 3,885 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 19,045 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 22,205.
- Last week, 1,102 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,326 pages the previous week.
- The 2019 Federal Register totals 9,691 pages. It is on pace for 47,505 pages. The 2018 total was 68,082 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (which subtracts skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set in 2016.
- Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. One such rule has been published this year. Six such rules were published in 2018.
- The running compliance cost tally for 2019’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $139.1 million to $175.8 million. The 2018 total ranges from $220.1 million to $2.54 billion, depending on discount rates and other assumptions.
- Agencies have published 15 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
- So far in 2019, 92 new rules affect small businesses; 5 of them are classified as significant. 2018’s totals were 660 rules affecting small businesses, with 29 of them significant.
Highlights from last week’s new final regulations:
- An extension of import restrictions on Honduran archaeological artifacts.
- The Defense Department has a Program to Encourage Public and Community Service.
- The Agricultural Marketing Service is removing power of attorney rules for fruit and vegetable certification.
- Per the Milk Marketing Fund, new price regulations for skim milk.
- New membership structure for the federal government’s Committee on Processed Pears.
- Ominous-sounding: Classification of the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation System for Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders and Conditions.
- Revisions to Medicare payment policies.
- A rule for bump stocks. Note that this rule is for firearms, not financial investments.
- The Internal Revenue Service is eliminating unnecessary tax regulations. This is good to see, but seeing as the tax code is more than 70,000 pages long, there is likely much more they could do to raise the same amount of revenue with less cost and hassle.
- Engine testing procedures from the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Audit and Enforcement Team Deployment.
- Tariff of tolls on the St. Lawrence Seaway. The U.S. and Canada both have jurisdiction over the river; this agreement covers how the two governments share toll revenue.