In late July, the Obama Administration's effort to obtain comprehensive energy legislation collapsed. Nonetheless, the next two years will be the most active period for new federal regulatory activity since the early-1970s, when the Nixon Administration imposed price controls and developed the bedrock principles that continue to govern environmental regulation.
This enormous level of regulatory activity will result from the legislation that the 111th Congress has adopted in the past 18 months. The health care reform legislation will require hundreds of regulatory actions, which will reshape the insurance, pharmaceutical and hospital industries. The 2,300 page long financial reform legislation, signed by President Obama on July 21, will necessitate adoption of 95 rules by the SEC, 61 rules by the CFTC, 54 by the Federal Reserve, and 80 rules between the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Financial Stability Oversight Council.