CategoryFederal

U.S. weekly unemployment insurance claims fall to 204,000

New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits fell 19,000 for the week ending December 31 to a seasonally adjusted 204,000. The previous week’s figure was revised down from 225,000 to 223,000. The four-week moving average as of December 31 fell to 213,750 from a revised 220,500 as of the week ending December 24.

The number of continuing unemployment insurance claims, which refers to the number of unemployed workers who filed for benefits at least two weeks ago and are actively receiving unemployment benefits, fell 24,000 from the previous week’s revised number to a seasonally adjusted 1.694 million for the week ending December 24. Reporting for continuing claims lags one week.

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

For information about unemployment insurance programs across the country, click here.

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Federal Register weekly update: Lowest weekly document total since 2021

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 2 through January 6, the Federal Register grew by 1,132 pages for a year-to-date total of 1,132 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 288 documents:

  1. 221 notices
  2. Three presidential documents
  3. 23 proposed rules
  4. 41 final rules

Seven proposed rules, including amendments to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Lime Manufacturing Plants from the Environmental Protection Agency, and three final rules, including removal of the mask requirement for individuals ages two and older in Head Start programs from the Children and Families 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 seven significant proposed rules, three significant final rules, and zero significant notices as of January 6.

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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Federal Register 2022 in review: 80,756 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 80,756 pages were added to the Federal Register in 2022. The page total will likely decrease after the National Archives processes the blanks and skips and finalizes the publication. 

The 2022 Federal Register included the following 28,033 documents: 

  • 22,505 notices
  • 316 presidential documents
  • 2,044 proposed rules
  • 3,168 final rules.

The Biden administration added a total of 74,532 pages to the Federal Register in 2021. The 2022 page total exceeded the 2021 page total by 6,224 pages. 

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 2022 Federal Register ranks as the second-lowest final rule count since the 1970s, with 3,168 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 and final rules decreased from last year. The Biden administration issued 2,094 proposed rules in 2021, which decreased to 2,044 proposed rules in 2022. The administration issued 3,257 final rules in 2021, which decreased to 3,168 final rules in 2022.  

A total of 498 significant documents were added to the Federal Register in 2022, including 241 proposed rules, 252 final rules, and five notices. This is a notable increase from previous years. In 2021, 309 significant documents were added to the Federal Register, including 129 proposed rules, 176 final rules, and four notices. In 2020, the Trump administration 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. 

Click here to find more information about weekly additions to the Federal Register in 2018 and 2017: https://ballotpedia.org/Changes_to_the_Federal_Register 

Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2019: https://ballotpedia.org/Historical_additions_to_the_Federal_Register,_1936-2019 

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.



OIRA 2022 in review: OIRA reviewed 485 significant rules in 2022

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The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed a total of 485 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies in 2022. 

The Biden administration reviewed a total of 502 significant rules 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, 2023, OIRA’s website listed 100 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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Ben Sasse resigns from U.S. Senate

Ben Sasse (R) resigned from the U.S. Senate on Jan. 8 to become the University of Florida’s 13th president.

Prior to joining the U.S. Senate in 2015, Sasse served as president of Midland University. He most recently ran for re-election in 2020, winning with 62.7% of the vote.

Nebraska is one of 37 states where vacancies are temporarily filled by gubernatorial appointment. A special election is then held coinciding with the next regularly scheduled election to replace the appointee. 

As of Jan. 8, there has been one vacancy in the U.S. Senate. With Sasse’s resignation, there are 48 Democrats and Republicans, three independents (two of which caucus with Democrats), and one vacancy. 

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OIRA reviewed 45 significant rules in December

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In December 2022, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed 45 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies. OIRA approved three of these rules with no changes and approved the intent of 38 rules while recommending changes to their content. Two rules were withdrawn from the review process by the issuing agency. One rule was subject to a statutory or judicial deadline.

OIRA reviewed 36 significant regulatory actions in December 2021, 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 485 significant rules in 2022. The agency reviewed a total of 502 significant rules in 2021, 676 significant rules in 2020, 475 significant rules in 2019, 355 significant rules in 2018, and 237 significant rules in 2017.

As of January 3, 2023, OIRA’s website listed 100 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 80,000 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 December 26 through December 30, the Federal Register grew by 1,544 pages for a year-to-date total of 80,756 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 408 documents:

  • 320 notices
  • Three presidential documents
  • 25 proposed rules
  • 60 final rules

Three proposed rules, including standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program for 2023-2025 from the Environmental Protection Agency, and seven final rules, including regulations regarding exceptions for certain interests held by foreign pension funds from the Internal Revenue 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 241 significant proposed rules, 252 significant final rules, and five significant notices as of December 30.

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:https://ballotpedia.org/Changes_to_the_Federal_Register 

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Twenty-seven upcoming Article III judicial vacancies

According to the latest vacancy data from the U.S. Courts, there were 27 total announced upcoming vacancies for Article III judgeships as of January 5, 2022. Article III judgeships refer to federal judges who serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of International Trade, or one of the 13 U.S. courts of appeal or 94 U.S. district courts. These are lifetime appointments made by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

These positions are not yet vacant but will be at some point in the future with every judge having announced his or her intent to either leave the bench or assume senior status. In the meantime, these judges will continue to serve in their current positions.

The president and Senate do not need to wait for a position to become vacant before they can start the confirmation process for a successor. For example, Rachel Bloomekatz was nominated to replace Judge R. Guy Cole who retires on Jan. 9, 2023. There are currently 6 nominees pending for upcoming vacancies.

Eight vacancy effective dates have not been determined because the judge has not announced the date he or she will leave the bench. The next upcoming scheduled vacancy will take place on Jan. 9, 2023, when United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Judge R. Guy Cole assumes senior status.

In addition to these 27 upcoming vacancies, there are 84 current Article III vacancies in the federal judiciary out of the 870 total Article III judgeships. Including non-Article III judges from the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, there are 86 vacancies out of 890 active federal judicial positions.

President Biden has nominated 148 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts. Ninety-seven of those nominees have been confirmed. Of the 46 nominees going through the confirmation process, 29 are awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate, 10 are awaiting a committee vote, and seven are awaiting a committee hearing.



President Joe Biden (D) holds narrow lead in PredictIt’s 2024 presidential market

As of January 3, 2023, PredictIt’s 2024 presidential market shows incumbent Joe Biden (D) holding a narrow lead at $0.33, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) at $0.32, and former President Donald Trump (R) at $0.16. No other candidate has more than a $0.10 share price. 

Trump is the only candidate of this group to have officially announced his presidential campaign.

The Democratic presidential primary market shows Biden leading the pack at $0.61. The only other candidates to have more than a $0.10 share price are California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) at $0.12 and Vice President Kamala Harris (D) at $0.11.

DeSantis currently leads in the Republican presidential primary market at $0.44, followed by Trump at $0.26. No other candidate has more than a $0.10 share price. 

PredictIt is an online political futures market in which users purchase shares relating to the outcome of political events using real money. Each event, such as an election, has a number of contracts associated with it, each correlating to a different outcome. Services such as PredictIt can be used to gain insight into the outcome of elections. Due to action from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, PredictIt may halt trading on February 15, 2023.



President Joe Biden (D) issued 29 executive orders in 2022

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President Joe Biden (D) issued 29 executive orders in 2022, the fewest by a president in their second year in office since Bill Clinton (D) issued one executive order in 1994. President Donald Trump (R) issued 37 executive orders in his second year in office in 2018, the most since Clinton.

Biden has issued 106 executive orders in his presidency, an average of 53 per year. Since 1981, when Ronald Reagan(D) was sworn into office, this is the second-highest average per year. Trump’s average is highest within this timeframe, at 55 executive orders, and Barack Obama’s (D) is lowest, at 35.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) issued the most executive orders per year in American history, at 307 on average. William Henry Harrison (Whig) issued no executive orders during his one month in office. Three presidents issued only one executive order during their presidencies: James Madison (Democratic-Republican), James Monroe (Democratic-Republican), and John Adams (Federalist).