Federal Register weekly update: One week, two administrations

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.

From Jan. 18 through Jan. 22, the Federal Register grew by 1,950 pages for a year-to-date total of 6,824 pages. The Biden administration began in the middle of the week at noon EST on Jan. 20. From Jan. 18 through Jan. 20, the Trump administration added 1,368 pages. From Jan. 21 through Jan. 22, the Biden administration added 582 pages.

The Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.

This week’s Federal Register featured 401 documents. The Trump administration added the following 166 documents:

  • 117 notices
  • one presidential document
  • 16 proposed rules
  • 32 final rules

The Biden administration added the following 235 documents:

  • 195 notices
  • 14 presidential documents
  • 16 proposed rules
  • 10 final rules

The Trump administration issued one proposed rule concerning national emission standards and two final rules regarding debt collection practices and the taking and importing of marine mammals that were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—defined by the potential to have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules. The Trump administration in 2021 issued three significant proposed rules and seven significant final rules.

The Biden administration issued one significant proposed rule regarding modifications to privacy rules promulgated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).

Not all rules issued by the Trump administration were regulatory actions. Some rules were deregulatory actions pursuant to President Trump’s (R) Executive Order 13771, which required federal agencies to eliminate two old significant regulations for each new significant regulation issued.

Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.

Click here to find more information about weekly additions to the Federal Register in 2019, 2018, and 2017: Changes to the Federal Register 

Additional reading:

Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2018: Historical additions to the Federal Register, 1936-2018