Family Research Council

Obama Administration Rules by Regulation

By Chris Gacek Senior Fellow for Regulatory Policy


The Obama Administration has run up enormous deficits in its first term. It has also used the administrative state to impose costly regulations on the nation.

According to a recent paper by the Heritage Foundation, in the first three years, the Obama Administration issued 106 new "major" regulations that added "more than $46 billion per year in new costs for Americans."[1] According to the study: "This is almost four times the number - and more than five times the cost - of the major regulations issued by George W. Bush during his first three years."[2]

Here are several examples:

Dodd-Frank signed into law, creating 100+ new rules: July 21, 2010 - The Dodd-Frank financial regulation statute was responsible in 2011 for 12 "major" rules - that is, with an estimate cost of $100 million. Hundreds of Dodd-Frank rules remain to be written.[3]

EPA issues final rule on boilers: March 21, 2011 - The Environmental Protection Agency issued a "final" rule that established new emission standards for hundreds of thousands of commercial, institutional, and industrial boilers.[4] The costs are staggering. According to Heritage, the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners estimated the cost at $14.5 billion. Additionally, the U.S. Commerce Dep't the original version of the rules could cost 40,000 to 60,000 jobs.[5] Even EPA estimated the initial cost would $5.2 billion with an additional $1.8 billion annually.

HHS requires contraceptive/sterilization/abortifacient coverage: August 1, 2011 - HHS announced (August 2011) that consistent with Obamacare employers would be required to provide contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacients with no co-pays. Churches would not be covered by the mandate.[6] However, religious employers including religious hospitals, universities and colleges, soup kitchens, etc., would fall under the requirement. Private employers religiously opposed to the provision of contraceptives would not be exempted either. FRC testified before Congress regarding the troubling nature of these regulations.[7]

Energy Dept. issues final rule on refrigerators and freezers: September 15, 2011 - The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a "final" rule setting higher energy efficiency standards for residential refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers.[8] DOE calculated the annual cost at $1.4 billion.

Obama makes recess appointments while Senate is in session: January 4, 2012 - In January 2012, President Obama made recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board[9] and the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.[10] The action was taken to avoid the Senate confirmation process where two of his nominees faced tough sledding.[11] However, the Senate was in session, and the legality of the president's recess appointments are being challenged in court.

CBO estimates 10-year cost of Obamacare to be $1.79 trillion: March 13, 2012 - The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported in March 2012 that the 10-year gross cost of the law is estimated to be $1.79 trillion.[12] The costs of the program will be so high that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has granted waivers from various requirements of Obamacare. As of January 2012, HHS had granted 1,200 waivers. More specifically, Obamacare mandates an increase in benefit limits, with all annual limits becoming unlawful in 2014.[13] However, the companies and unions that were granted waivers can keep their benefit caps in place until 2014. This illustrates the fundamental flaws in the economic logic behind the law. It also raises concerns regarding the fairness of granting waivers to only those savvy enough to play the Washington insider game.

Chris Gacek is the Senior Fellow for Regulatory Affairs at the Family Research Council.

[1] James L. Gattuso and Diane Katz, "Red Tape Rising: Obama-Era Regulation at the Three-Year Mark," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2663, March 13, 2012, accessed on June 21, 2012,

[2] Gattuso and Katz, "Red Tape Rising: Obama-Era Regulation at the Three-Year Mark."

[3] Gattuso and Katz, "Red Tape Rising: Obama-Era Regulation at the Three-Year Mark."

[4] "National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Area Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers," Federal Register 76:54 (21 March 2011) p. 15554, accessed on June 21, 2012,

[5] Gattuso and Katz, "Red Tape Rising: Obama-Era Regulation at the Three-Year Mark."

[6] Robert Pear, "Obama Reaffirms Insurers Must Cover Contraception," New York Times, January 20, 2012, accessed June 20, 2012,

[7] Family Research Council, "U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Testimony of Jeanne Monahan, M.T.S.," accessed on June 21, 2012,

[8] "Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Refrigerators, Refrigerator-Freezers, and Freezers," Federal Register 76:179 (15 September 2011) p. 57516, accessed on June 21, 2012,

[9] Lisa Mascaro, "Bypassing Congress, Obama will appoint three to NLRB," The Los Angeles Times, January 4, 2012, accessed on June 21, 2012,

[10] Helene Cooper and Jennifer Steinhauer, "Bucking Senate, Obama Appoints Consumer Chief," The New York Times, January 4, 2012, accessed on June 21, 2012,

[11] "Obama Plays Recess Games with His New Team," Family Research Council, accessed on June 21, 2012,

[12] Congressional Budget Office, "Updated Estimates for the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act" March 2012, accessed on June 21, 2012,

[13] The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, "Annual Limits Policy: Protecting Consumers, Maintaining Options, and Building a Bridge to 2014, accessed on June 21, 2012,

Meet The Author
Chris Gacek Senior Fellow for Regulatory Policy

Dr. Chris Gacek is the Senior Fellow, Regulatory Affairs at Family Research Council. Dr. Gacek received a Bachelors of Science in economics from the Wharton School, University of (Full Bio)

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