Last year was a productive year in Washington, if productivity can be measured in new regulations, as many on the left typically do.

How many regulations were passed in 2013?

President Barack Obama speaks about his Promise Zones Initiative, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Federal agencies issued 3,659 final rules in 2013, compared to Congress which passed 65 laws signed by President Barack Obama, according to a study by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market think tank. That’s a ratio of 56 regulations imposed by unelected federal bureaucrats for every one law enacted by elected representatives.

Wayne Crews, author of the study, said the flood of executive branch undermines constitutional principles, The Hill newspaper reported.

“The deterioration of the Constitution’s separation of, and balance of, powers means that regulators and bureaucrats now make most laws,” Crews wrote. “Congress is so 1789, after all.”

Crews said gridlock is not a bad thing because it should be difficult to pass laws. But he added it should also be more difficult to implement regulations.

“The executive branch increasingly imposes its will: President Obama and his administration repeatedly say they are not going to wait for Congress,” Crews said. “So brace yourselves.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney addressed regulation during the Wednesday press briefing.

“The president does not believe that we have to choose between protecting the health, welfare, and safety of Americans, and promoting economic growth, job creation, competitiveness, and innovation. We can do both and we are doing both,” Carney said.

Carney said agencies are reviewing 500 initiatives to reduce regulatory costs for business, which he said would save $10 billion in regulatory costs.

“The Obama administration has had a smart, pragmatic approach to ensure we are reducing burdensome regulations,” Carney said. “We continue to make significant progress in the president’s unprecedented regulatory retrospective review, or regulatory look-back initiative, where we are streamlining, modifying or repealing regulations to reduce unnecessary burdens and costs.”

A separate study this week by the conservative advocacy group American Action Forum said Obama administration regulations were responsible for $447 million in regulatory costs per day in 2013.

On the left, the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards sent a letter to the White House this week complaining of a “particularly egregious problem” of regulations being held up for too long, citing a December report by the Administrative Conference of the United States, a federal agency, which found an increase in the average amount of time it took for proposed rules to be issued during the 2012 election season.

The Hill reported that the Obama administration has issued about 3,500 to 3,800 rules per year since 2009. The difference is the regulation per law ratio. In 2012, the administration issued 3,708 regulations, while Congress passed 127 laws.

(H/T: The Hill)