The Highs and Lows in OIRA’s Report to Congress

This article originally appeared in Regulation. Click here to read the full article.

By Ike Brannon and Sam Batkins

As part of a Friday evening “document dump” last May, the Obama administration’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) released its annual report on the “Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulation.”

It confirmed that Fiscal Year 2012 was the costliest year ever for federal regulation, which can be credited in part to finalized major rules on vehicle fuel efficiency and coal-fired power plant emissions. In contrast, FY 2013, which is the main subject of the 2014 report, imposed the lightest burden of any year during the Obama administration and was one of the least active years of the past decade. The 2014 report estimates roughly $2.3 billion (in 2001 dollars) in annualized costs from regulation in 2013. But it derives that estimate by examining just seven rules that were finalized that year. If the report had examined all of that year’s rules, the cost figure would be around $7.2 billion, or roughly three times the “official” figure.