Federal Outlays for Agencies
The president’s FY 2021 budget requests $79.8 billion in regulatory outlays, compared to estimated outlays of $77.8 billion in 2020 (a 0.3 percent increase in real terms). The FY 2020 regulators’ budget is 5.5 percent higher than in 2019.
Consistent with previous budget requests from the Trump administration, regulatory activities in the Department of Homeland Security would receive a 3.1 percent real increase in resources in 2021, building on even larger increases the previous year. Proposed reductions for agencies with other regulatory functions largely offset increases, keeping overall regulatory spending relatively flat. Agencies involved in environmental and energy regulation would bear the biggest cuts—a proposed reduction of 13.1 percent below 2020 spending levels in real terms.
Overall, agencies conducting economic regulation would receive a 0.1 percent increase in real resources. The overall increase comes from 2.5 percent more funding proposed for general business regulation, while spending for the other two categories would fall under the FY 2021 request.
Federal Agency Staffing
The president’s FY 2021 Budget calls for a 0.6 percent increase in total FTEs at the regulatory agencies tracked here, resulting in 288,409 employees overall and 1,762 more than estimated 2020 levels. From 2019 to 2020, total FTEs increased by 3.2 percent.
In the social regulation categories, the proposed budget requests small staffing increases in agencies focused on consumer safety and health (1.4 percent), homeland security (1.6 percent), and transportation (1.6 percent). The proposed budget would reduce staffing for workplace regulation (-1.4 percent) and environment and energy regulation (-10.3 percent).
Relative to social regulation, economic regulation constitutes a substantially lower proportion of regulatory staffing. The FY 2021 Budget requests a 2.7 percent increase in staffing at agencies involved in economic regulation. These increases would primarily stem from the largest economic regulation category, general business (3.6 percent).