CategoryFederal

Federal Register weekly update; highest weekly page total since June

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.
 
During the week of August 5 to August 9, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,768 pages, bringing the year-to-date total to 39,722 pages. The week’s Federal Register featured a total of 525 documents, including 414 notices, five presidential documents, 39 proposed rules, and 67 final rules.
 
One final rule was deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that it may have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules.
 
During the same week in 2018, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,626 pages for a year-to-date total of 39,870 pages. As of August 9, the 2019 total trailed the 2018 total by 148 pages.
 
The Trump administration has added an average of 1,241 pages to the Federal Register each week in 2019 as of August 9. Over the course of 2018, the Trump administration added an average of 1,301 pages to the Federal Register each week. During the Obama administration, the Federal Register increased by an average of 1,658 pages per week.
 
According to government data, the Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.
 
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.


Ohio has not voted for a losing presidential candidate in 59 years

There have been 30 presidential election cycles since 1900. Voters in Ohio have selected the winning candidate in 28 of them, making it the state with the highest percentage of accuracy in presidential elections at 93.33%.
 
Ohio voters have backed a candidate who lost the presidential election since 1960, when the state voted for Richard Nixon (R) instead of winning candidate John F. Kennedy (D).
 
Most states have participated in all 30 elections; however, five states and the District of Columbia participated in their first election after 1900: Oklahoma (1908), Arizona (1912), New Mexico (1912), Alaska (1960), Hawaii (1960), and Washington, D.C. (1964).
 
Washington, D.C., has the lowest accuracy percentage in presidential elections at 42.86%. Voters there have backed the winning candidate in six out of the 14 elections in which it has participated since 1964.
 
The following states voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in 10 or fewer general elections between 1900 and 2016:
  • Alaska (1), Arizona (8), Idaho (9), Indiana (5), Kansas (5), Maine (10), Montana (10), Nebraska (6), North Dakota (5), Oklahoma (10), South Dakota (3), Utah (7), Vermont (8), and Wyoming (7).
 
During the same years, the following states voted for the Republican presidential candidate in 10 or fewer general elections:
  • Arkansas (9), Georgia (10), Hawaii (2), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (10), Minnesota (10), Rhode Island (10), and Washington, D.C. (0).
 
Third party candidates won at least one state in four presidential elections since 1900. In 1912, Progressive Party candidate Theodore Roosevelt won California, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Washington, and in 1924, Progressive Party candidate Robert M. La Follette Sr. won Wisconsin. In 1948, States’ Rights Democratic Party candidate J. Strom Thurmond won Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. American Independent Party candidate George Wallace won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi in 1968.
 


Judge receives federal court commission

On August 6, 2019, Judge Brian Buescher received commission for the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska.
 
Buescher was nominated to the court by President Donald Trump (R) on November 13, 2018, to succeed Judge Laurie Smith Camp, who assumed senior status with the court on December 1, 2018.
 
Due to the 115th Congress’ sine die adjournment on January 3, 2019, the Senate returned Buescher’s nomination to the president. Buescher, along with 50 other judicial nominees, was re-nominated by President Trump on January 23, 2019.
 
Following nomination by the president, a federal judge nominee completes a questionnaire that is reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee then holds a hearing to question the nominee regarding their judicial philosophy and their previous opinions and rulings. The committee also sends the nominee’s home state senators a blue slip, permitting them to show their approval or disapproval of the nominee.
 
After the hearing, the committee votes to approve or return the nominee. If approved, the full Senate votes on the nominee. If returned, the president may renominate the person. If the nomination is confirmed by the Senate, the individual receives commission to serve as a federal judge for a life term. If the nomination is not confirmed, the individual does not become a judge.
 
Buescher was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 24, 2019, by a vote of 51-40.
 
The United States District Court for the District of Nebraska has three active Article III judges including Buescher. The other two current judges are:
• Chief Judge John Gerrard – nominated by President Barack Obama (D)
• Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. – nominated by President Barack Obama (D)
 
The court’s four judges on senior status are:
• Laura Smith Camp – nominated by President George W. Bush (R)
• Joseph Bataillon – nominated by President Bill Clinton (D)
• Lyle Strom – nominated by President Ronald Reagan (R)
• Richard Kopf – nominated by President George H.W. Bush (R)
 
The U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska is one of 94 U.S. district courts, the general trial courts for the U.S. federal court system where both civil and criminal cases are filed. The main courthouse is located in Omaha.
 


Rep. Kenny Marchant (R) announces retirement; fourth Congressional Republican from Texas in two weeks

U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) announced he would not seek re-election in 2020. He has represented Texas’ 24th Congressional District since 2009 and won re-election in 2018 by 3.1 percentage points. His Dallas-area seat was already rated as competitive by three major race rating outlets.
 
Marchant is the fourth Congressional Republican from Texas to announce his retirement in the last two weeks. Pete Olsen (22nd District), Mike Conaway (11th), and Will Hurd (23rd) have all announced they would not be seeking re-election in 2020.
 
So far, 14 members of the U.S. House—three Democrats and 11 Republicans—have announced that they would not be seeking re-election in 2020. Eleven of those members are retiring from political office, while two are seeking a seat in the U.S. Senate and another is running for governor.


Marianne Williamson leads Democratic candidates in pageviews again following second presidential debate

Each week, we report the number of pageviews received by 2020 presidential campaigns on Ballotpedia. These numbers show which candidates are getting our readers’ attention.
 
Marianne Williamson’s (D) campaign received 7,588 pageviews on Ballotpedia the week of July 28-August 3 when the second round of Democratic presidential debates took place.
 
Williamson’s pageviews represented 8.1% of the pageviews for all Democratic presidential campaigns. Tulsi Gabbard received 7.0% of Democratic candidate pageviews for the week, while Joe Biden received 6.8%.
 
This is Williamson’s second time leading Democratic candidates in pageviews. The first time was the week of the first round of Democratic debates.
 
Gabbard’s campaign page had the largest increase in pageviews over the previous week, jumping 375.27%. Every Democratic candidate except Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris registered a pageview increase of 100% or more.
 
Pete Buttigieg’s campaign still leads Democrats in lifetime pageviews with 97,150. Andrew Yang again has the second-most lifetime pageviews after surpassing Kamala Harris last week. Harris’ lifetime pageviews had surpassed Yang’s the week before. Yang currently has 84,124 pageviews to Harris’ 83,846.
 
On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 26,651 pageviews to President Trump’s 2,354.


Federal Register weekly update; 2019 page total falls behind year-to-date 2018 page total from Caitlin Styrsky

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.
 
During the week of July 29 to August 2, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,500 pages, bringing the year-to-date total to 37,954 pages. The week’s Federal Register featured a total of 619 documents, including 488 notices, five presidential documents, 60 proposed rules, and 66 final rules.
 
Two proposed rules were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that they may 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.
 
During the same week in 2018, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,846 pages for a year-to-date total of 38,244 pages. As of August 2, the 2019 total trailed the 2018 total by 290 pages.
 
The Trump administration has added an average of 1,224 pages to the Federal Register each week in 2019 as of August 2. Over the course of 2018, the Trump administration added an average of 1,301 pages to the Federal Register each week. During the Obama administration, the Federal Register increased by an average of 1,658 pages per week.
 
According to government data, the Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.
 
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 yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2016: https://ballotpedia.org/Historical_additions_to_the_Federal_Register,_1936-2016


Resolution aims to block Trump administration guidance that gave states more flexibility from Obamacare requirements

On July 31, U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that would repeal a guidance document that gave states more flexibility when applying for waivers from Obamacare requirements. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued the guidance on October 24, 2018. The guidance aims to allow states to innovate within their individual health insurance markets.
 
Senator Warner’s CRA resolution, if passed and signed into law, would undo the health insurance waiver guidance and attracted 44 Democratic cosponsors and the two independent U.S. senators. U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said that the guidance gives states the authority to allow health insurers to offer short-term plans that do not cover pre-existing conditions. Under the CRA, the resolution would need to pass both houses of Congress and receive President Trump’s signature to repeal the guidance.
 
On July 15, 2019, the Government Accountability Office concluded that the guidance document was a rule according to the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The CRA gives Congress a chance to review and reject any new regulatory rules created by federal administrative agencies. Since the law’s creation in 1996, 17 out of the over 90,767 rules published in the Federal Register during that time have been repealed using the CRA. 13 additional attempts either failed to pass through Congress or were vetoed.
 
Guidance is a term in administrative law used to describe documents created by administrative agencies to explain rules, laws, and procedures. Guidance documents affect how agencies administer regulations and programs. However, they are not supposed to be legally binding in the same way as rules issued through the rulemaking processes of the Administrative Procedure Act. Congress used the CRA to repeal a guidance document for the first time on May 21, 2018.
 


Will Hurd announces retirement

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) announced August 1 that he would not run for re-election in 2020.
 
In a tweet, Hurd said, “I have made the decision to not seek reelection for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas in order to pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security.”
 
Hurd was first elected to Congress in 2014, defeating Democratic incumbent Pete Gallego, 49.8% to 47.7%. Hurd won re-election in 2018 by defeating Gina Ortiz Jones (D) 49.2% to 48.7%.
 
Prior to his election, Hurd served with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency from 2000 to 2009, working primarily in the Middle East and South Asia as an undercover officer.
 
He was the third Texas Republican to announce his retirement this cycle after Pete Olson and Mike Conaway announced their retirement in July. He also became the 13th member of the U.S. House to announce that they would not run for re-election. That list includes 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats.


U.S. Supreme Court allows Pentagon to fund wall on U.S. border, questions Sierra Club’s right to sue

On July 26, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to allow the Pentagon to use military funds to build a wall along the southern border of the United States. The ruling said that groups objecting to the use of money for the border wall had not shown that they have the right to challenge the government’s actions in court.
 
The Supreme Court’s decision temporarily blocked an injunction issued by California District Court Judge Haywood S. Gillam, Jr. until after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals resolves the case or after the case comes before the U.S. Supreme Court. While the five Republican-appointed justices voted to grant the temporary stay on the injunction, the four Democrat-appointed justices dissented.
 
In February 2019, the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) sued President Trump and members of his administration. They argued that the courts should not allow officials to construct a barrier on the border using funds appropriated by Congress for the Department of Defense.
 
Judge Gillam issued an injunction in May 2019 that blocked the Trump administration from diverting Department of Defense funds to build sections of the border wall. Gillam ruled that the Sierra Club and SBCC did not need a special right of action to ask for a court order to block executive actions they believed were beyond the executive branch’s legal authority. He held that the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) framework of judicial review did not apply in this case.
 
 


Congress has considered at least 10 Trump administration executive branch reorganization proposals in past year

The Trump administration on June 30 released a one-year update on the status of the administration’s executive branch reorganization plan.
 
The reorganization plan—released in June 2018 pursuant to Executive Order 13871—seeks to improve alignment between program administration and agency missions by consolidating and restructuring several agencies as well as shifting the administration of certain federal programs, such as the food stamps program, under different agencies. The full reorganization plan features 34 proposals aimed at aligning the core missions and responsibilities of executive agencies.
 
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimated that implementation of the full plan would take three to five years.
 
The one-year update included the following:
 
• Congress has considered at least 10 of the proposals through hearings, legislation, or discussions with members or staff.
• The Trump administration’s 2020 budget included all or part of 18 reorganization proposals.
• Agencies are implementing more than 20 of the proposals through existing authorities.
 
The president has the authority to reorganize federal agencies within existing statutory limits. However, Congress must delegate reorganization authority in order for the president to implement statutory changes to agencies. Once the president presents a reorganization plan to Congress, members must issue a resolution of approval in order for the plan to take effect.
 


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