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Study: 56 rules and regulations for every law in 2013

Congress passed fewer laws in 2013 than in 2012, but the devil is in the details.

With every new law passed last year there were an average of 56 rules and regulations to go with it, according to a report conducted by Wayne Crews at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Before President Obama left town for his seventeen-day Hawaii winter vocation, Congress had only passed 65 bills — a full 62 less than in 2012. However, that does not mean the government was inactive. Federal agencies managed to attach a total of 3,659 rules and regulations to the new pieces of legislation, the report says.

This number amounts to around one new regulation added to the books every few hours.

Among these additions to the federal registry were a 15-cent tax on every fresh Christmas tree to help fund a promotional campaign for the industry, restrictions on in-home genetic testing, a ban on trans-fats, and the nearly 1,000-page Volcker Rule that prevent banks from engaging in “proprietary lending.”

CEI estimates that implementing these new rules will cost around $1.8 trillion on an annual basis. A large chunk of these costs stem from the numerous environmental regulations, which CEI predicts will mushroom to $379 billion.

The number of bills passed over the ten-year history of Crews’ annual Ten Thousand Commandments report varies. His tally of the laws and regulations found that at the end of President Clinton’s second term in December of 2000, Congress had racked up a total of 410 bills plus 4,313 rules and regulations to go with them.

Aside from 2013, 2011 was the year with fewest number of bills passed by Congress with a total of 81. However, federal agencies made up for it by writing 3,807 supplementary rules and regulations.

The onslaught of expensive regulations added to the federal registry is making small business owners concerned about their bottom line. A study by the National Federation of Independent Business found that the rising number of rules and regulations issued by federal agencies is one of the top concerns among small business owners for the coming 2014 year.

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