The 105th Congress, controlled by conservatives, is perceived to be rolling back the tide of federal regulation. But that's not the case, declares an analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank.
"During calendar year 1997, federal agencies issued 59 "major" rules -- each with an annual economic impact of more than $100 million -- and 3,938 lesser rules. Congress failed to disapprove a single one," says Angela Antonelli, director of Heritage's Roe Institute for Economic Studies. "After losing ground during the Reagan Administration and under the 104th Congress, regulators are once more on the march."
An analysis by Antonelli shows that the number of pages in the Federal Register, the government's digest of regulations, hit a record 87,012 pages in the Carter Administration, but had dropped to 53,376 pages by 1988, the last year of Ronald Reagan's presidency. Under President Clinton the page count reached 64,549 pages last year. "That may be just the beginning unless Congress shows some resolve," says Antonelli.