Deep Dive Episode 6 – Laws, Regulations, and “Regulatory Dark Matter”
Congress passes and the President signs several dozen laws every year. Meanwhile, federal departments and agencies issue well over 3,000 regulations of varying significance. Does Congress have a clear grasp of the amount and cost of the thousands of executive branch and federal agency proclamations and issuances, including guidance documents, memoranda, bulletins, circulars, and letters, that carry practical (if not always technically legally) binding regulatory effect? There are hundreds of “significant” agency guidance documents now in effect, plus many thousands of other such documents that are subject to little democratic accountability. Is the government trading the cost and benefits of informal as well as formal rules?