The federal rulemaking machine is rumbling back to life as agency officials tackle the backlog of work that was created by the government shutdown.

Conservatives worry officials are preparing a surge of new regulations to make up for lost time and meet upcoming deadlines.

Liberals, meanwhile, are relieved that rule makers are back on the job to investigate hazards and issue strengthened protections.

The 16-day government shutdown choked the daily flow of regulations to a trickle as hundreds of thousands of federal workers were furloughed.

During the shutdown, days went by without a new regulation being published in the Federal Register, where the executive branch logs its daily work. On normal days, the book can run hundreds of pages.

Safety advocates warned that the lack of rules meant that cops were off the beat, unable to fight pollution, food-borne illnesses and other threats.

The lack of regulatory action has continued, even after Congress passed a last-minute funding bill on Wednesday night.

Rea

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