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Molly Byrne

Molly Byrne is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Federal Register 2021 in review: 74,532 pages added

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 execution.

A total of 74,532 pages were added to the Federal Register in 2021. The page total will likely decrease after the National Archives processes the blanks and skips and finalizes the publication. 

The 2021 Federal Register included the following 27,712 documents: 

  • 21,985 notices
  • 376 presidential documents
  • 2,094 proposed rules
  • 3,257 final rules.

According to government data, the Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016. The lowest recorded page total since 2001 was 61,950 pages in 2017.

The 2021 Federal Register ranks as the second-lowest final rule count since the 1970s, with 3,257 final rules. The lowest final rule count since the 1970s was 2,964 final rules in 2019 under the Trump administration. 

The total number of proposed rules decreased from last year. The Trump administration issued 2,158 proposed rules in 2020, which decreased to 2,094 proposed rules in 2021. 

A total of 309 significant documents were added to the Federal Register in 2021, including 129 proposed rules, 176 final rules, and four notices. The Biden administration added 299 of the 309 significant documents, including 126 proposed rules, 169 final rules, and four notices. By contrast, the Trump administration in 2020 added 109 significant documents to the Federal Register, including 34 proposed rules, 74 final rules, and one notice. In 2019, the Trump administration added 121 significant documents, including 54 proposed rules, 66 final rules, and one notice. 

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.

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The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed a total of 502 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies in 2021

The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed a total of 502 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies in 2021. 

Under the Trump administration, the agency reviewed a total of 676 significant rules in 2020, 475 significant rules in 2019, 355 significant rules in 2018, and 237 significant rules in 2017. Between 2009-2016, the Obama administration reviewed an average of 545 significant regulatory actions each year.

As of January 3, 2022, OIRA’s website listed 72 regulatory actions under review.

OIRA is responsible for reviewing and coordinating what it deems to be all significant regulatory actions made by federal agencies, with the exception of independent federal agencies. Significant regulatory actions include agency rules that have had or may have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state and local governments and communities. These regulatory actions may also conflict with other regulations or with the priorities of the president.

Every month, Ballotpedia compiles information about regulatory reviews conducted by OIRA. To view this project, please click here.

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Federal Register weekly update: 609 new documents added

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, accounting for both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From January 10 through January 14, the Federal Register grew by 1,462 pages for a year-to-date total of 2,522 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 609 documents:

  1. 484 notices
  2. Zero presidential documents
  3. 46 proposed rules
  4. 79 final rules

Five proposed rules, including reopening of public comment for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Energy Conservation Standards for Manufactured Housing (DOE/EIS-0550) from the Energy Department, and seven final rules, including a delay of the effective date of an interim final rule to establish new cybersecurity controls for National Security and Anti-terrorism reasons from the Industry and Security Bureau 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 Biden administration has issued nine significant proposed rules, 13 significant final rules, and zero significant notices as of January 14.

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 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017.

Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2019.



Federal Register weekly update: 347 documents added

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, accounting for both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From Jan. 3 through Jan. 7, the Federal Register grew by 1,060 pages for a year-to-date total of 1,060 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 347 documents:

  • 283 notices
  • Eight presidential documents
  • 17 proposed rules
  • 39 final rules

Four proposed rules, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act with payment parameters and proposed user fee rates for 2023 from the Health and Human Services Department, and six final rules, including regulations for secure gun storage for any place that sells firearms and an amendment to the definition for antique firearm from the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Bureau 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 Biden administration has issued four significant proposed rules, six significant final rules, and zero significant notices as of January 7.

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.

Additional reading:



Federal Register weekly update: 1,428 pages added

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, accounting for both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From Dec. 27 through Dec. 31, the Federal Register grew by 1,428 pages for a year-to-date total of 74,532 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 427 documents:

  • 328 notices
  • Five presidential documents
  • 42 proposed rules
  • 52 final rules

Four proposed rules, including requirements for capital planning and stress capital buffer determination from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and 15 final rules, including reissuance of Nationwide Permits to authorize activities under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 from the Engineers Corps 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 Biden administration has issued 126 significant proposed rules, 169 significant final rules, and four significant notices as of December 31.

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.

Additional reading:



Federal Register weekly update: 461 documents added

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, accounting for both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From Dec. 20 through Dec. 24, the Federal Register grew by 1,312 pages for a year-to-date total of 73,104 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 461 documents:

  • 370 notices
  • Two presidential documents
  • 26 proposed rules
  • 63 final rules

Five proposed rules, including a policy to allow indemnification of employees of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and six final rules, including an extension to the expiration date of certification plans for pesticide applicators from the Environmental Protection Agency 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 Biden administration has issued 122 significant proposed rules, 154 significant final rules, and four significant notices as of December 24.

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.

Additional reading:



OIRA reviewed 36 significant rules in December

In December 2021, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed 36 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies. OIRA approved one of these rules with no changes and approved the intent of 31 rules while recommending changes to their content. Three rules were withdrawn from the review process by the issuing agencies. One rule was subject to a statutory or judicial deadline.

OIRA reviewed 90 significant regulatory actions in December 2020, 58 significant regulatory actions in December 2019, 31 significant regulatory actions in December 2018, and 30 significant regulatory actions in December 2017.

OIRA has reviewed a total of 502 significant rules in 2021. The agency reviewed a total of 676 significant rules in 2020, 475 significant rules in 2019, 355 significant rules in 2018, and 237 significant rules in 2017.

As of Jan. 3, 2022, OIRA’s website listed 72 regulatory actions under review.

OIRA is responsible for reviewing and coordinating what it deems to be all significant regulatory actions made by federal agencies, with the exception of independent federal agencies. Significant regulatory actions include agency rules that have had or may have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state and local governments and communities. These regulatory actions may also conflict with other regulations or with the priorities of the president.

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Federal Register weekly update: Tops 70,000 pages

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, accounting for both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From Dec. 6 through Dec. 10, the Federal Register grew by 1,814 pages for a year-to-date total of 70,688 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 513 documents:

  1. 384 notices
  2. Three presidential documents
  3. 49 proposed rules
  4. 77 final rules

Four proposed rules, including notification of a public hearing for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program Annual Rules from the Environmental Protection Agency, and four final rules, including an extension of the Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) which prohibits specified flights in areas of the Sanaa Flight Information Region (FIR) from the Federal Aviation Administration 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 Biden administration has issued 108 significant proposed rules, 136 significant final rules, and four significant notices as of December 10.

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.

Additional reading:



Federal Register weekly update: 250 significant documents added so far in 2021

Banner with the words "The Administrative State Project"

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, accounting for both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From Nov. 29 through Dec. 3, the Federal Register grew by 1,226 pages for a year-to-date total of 68,874 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 458 documents:

  1. 357 notices
  2. Five presidential documents
  3. 29 proposed rules
  4. 67 final rules

Three proposed rules, including a proposal to revise the methodology to determine Adverse Effect Wage Rates for temporary employment of workers in H-2A nonimmigrant status from the Employment and Training Administration, and five final rules, including an amendment to regulations governing conditions for the importation of sheep, goats, and other ruminants from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 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 Biden administration has issued 104 significant proposed rules, 132 significant final rules, and four significant notices as of Dec. 3.

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.

Additional reading:



OIRA reviewed 41 significant rules in November

Photo of the White House in Washington, D.C.

In November 2021, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed 41 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies. OIRA approved three of these rules with no changes and approved the intent of 37 rules while recommending changes to their content.

OIRA reviewed 58 significant regulatory actions in November 2020, 46 significant regulatory actions in November 2019, 36 significant regulatory actions in November 2018, and 15 significant regulatory actions in November 2017. During the Obama administration from 2009-2016, OIRA reviewed an average of 47 significant regulatory actions each November.

OIRA has reviewed a total of 466 significant rules in 2021. The agency reviewed a total of 676 significant rules in 2020, 475 significant rules in 2019, 355 significant rules in 2018, and 237 significant rules in 2017.

As of Dec. 1, 2021, OIRA’s website listed 75 regulatory actions under review.

​​OIRA is responsible for reviewing and coordinating what it deems to be all significant regulatory actions made by federal agencies, with the exception of independent federal agencies. Significant regulatory actions include agency rules that have had or may have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state and local governments and communities. These regulatory actions may also conflict with other regulations or with the priorities of the president.

Every month, Ballotpedia compiles information about regulatory reviews conducted by OIRA. To view this project, visit: https://ballotpedia.org/Completed_OIRA_review_of_federal_administrative_agency_rules