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2012 Unified Agenda Less Informative Open Access

Regulations are a powerful tool for achieving policy goals and the Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (Agenda) has for years served as the public’s first notice of the federal government’s planned regulatory activities. Rules issued by agencies such as the Transportation Department or Environmental Protection Agency have the force of law, yet unlike statutory law, they can be put in effect without approval from Congress. Given today’s political climate—with concerns over the fiscal budget and divisions in Congress—regulations can be particularly attractive tools for achieving policy goals, and experts expect an ambitious lineup of new regulations over the next few years. The Administration’s most recent Agenda corroborates that expectation. It identifies 2,387 regulatory actions underway, of which 841 are listed for the first time. Some of these new regulations are mandated by legislation passed in President Obama’s first term, such as the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank Act, while others would rely on authority in older statutes to implement Presidential priorities such as climate change mitigation.

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