Recent Op-Eds

The Biden Regulatory Onslaught Continues

By Sen. John Thune

May 10, 2024

With Democrats in control of the White House and the U.S. Senate, much of my efforts lately are focused on stopping the dangerous Biden-Schumer agenda in Congress. However, the Biden administration has abused the power of regulation to enact a slew of bad policies without a single vote in Congress. All of those executive actions bear costs and consequences for our country and for the American people. A recent spate of regulations has brought the total cost of the Biden administration’s new rules to a whopping $1.47 trillion, which will be felt by workers and families across the country.

One of the areas where the Biden administration has been most prolific with new regulations is in the energy sector. For example, the president’s new power plant rule would force electric generation facilities to spend millions of dollars on carbon capture systems or be forced to close, while adding significant cost burdens for new natural gas-fired power plants. The so-called “Good Neighbor” rule would also drive up the cost of producing energy and manufacturing by imposing onerous emissions standards, likely resulting in a less reliable energy supply. And there’s the president’s inexplicable decision to pause permits for liquefied natural gas exports at a time when our allies depend on American natural gas.

At the same time, President Biden is pushing costly environmental regulations on the American people. There was his now-dashed attempt to revive the Obama administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that would have forced farmers, ranchers, and private landowners to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on environmental strictures on their land. Now he’s pushing a tailpipe emissions rule that is an effective mandate for more expensive electric vehicles. And new requirements on certain federally connected homes will add an estimated $7,000 to the cost of construction.

The Biden regulatory regime also extends the heavy hand of government to job creators. Take for example the new overtime rule, which imposes a 65 percent hike in the overtime exemption threshold. Small businesses are likely to face the difficult choice of raising prices, reducing the number positions, or lowering workers’ pay. I don’t see any of those as good for workers, customers, or business owners.

Unsurprisingly, a number of regulations coming out of Washington demonstrate a lack of understanding about life in places like South Dakota. WOTUS was simply unworkable and unreasonable for farmers and ranchers. South Dakotans aren’t eager to switch to electric vehicles, especially with our harsh winters and the demands we put on our cars and trucks. And last year, the Biden administration tried to prevent hunting and archery education programs from receiving federal funding. Thanks to congressional action, that regulation was stopped, but the fact that it was proposed at all is emblematic of Washington bureaucrats’ overreach and their lack of understanding of our way life.

The Biden administration has not been shy about using its regulatory power. The sticker shock of $1.47 trillion in regulatory costs is a lot, but it’s even worse when you consider that President Trump had actually reduced regulatory costs at this point in his administration. Even compared to President Obama, President Biden’s regulations cost almost five times as much. I shudder to consider how many more costly regulations the Biden administration is dreaming up for the future.