Trump & Congress Use Obscure Legislative Tool to Speed Deregulation
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by Countable | 4.13.17
On the campaign trail, then-candidate Donald Trump promised to roll back regulations that he viewed as excessive and detrimental to economic growth. Now, President Trump has made good on that pledge thanks in part to an obscure law known as the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which has allowed him to repeal a dozen of his predecessor’s regulations to date.
What is the Congressional Review Act?
Signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996 as part of then-Speaker Newt Gingrich’s (R-GA) "Contract with America," the CRA allows Congress to repeal a regulation that took effect within the last 60 legislative days (i.e. Congress’s work days). Congress can do so with simple majorities in both chambers, so there’s no threat of filibuster in the Senate. Whatever agency issued the newly-repealed rule is prohibited by the CRA from issuing a similar regulation without Congress’s approval.
Congress previously had the ability to overturn regulations through a vote in only one chamber, but the Supreme Court deemed that practice unconstitutional in 1983. That left lawmakers with no other option for stopping regulations other than passing an actual law to do so, until the inception of the CRA.
The CRA had only been used once successfully between its enactment and Trump’s inauguration — the administration of then-President George W. Bush blocked a Clinton-era workplace ergonomics rule in 2001. The 114th Congress passed five CRA bills, but all were vetoed by then-President Barack Obama. With Trump in the White House, congressional Republicans will be able to easily repeal some of Obama’s "midnight rules" and pursue deregulation without a presidential veto standing in their way.
Here are the CRA bills that at least one chamber of Congress has passed so far during the Trump administration.
S.J.Res. 34: Repealing the FCC’s data privacy rule for internet service providers Signed 4/2
H.J.Res. 37: Overturning a rule requiring federal contractors to disclose labor law violations Signed 3/26
H.J.Res. 38: Blocking the EPA’s "Stream Protection Rule" Signed 2/15
H.J.Res. 40: Repealing Social Security’s rule blocking "mental defectives" from buying guns Signed 2/27
H.J.Res. 41: Overturning an SEC rule related to disclosures by energy companies Signed 2/14
H.J.Res. 42: Repealing a Dept. of Labor rule blocking states from drug testing unemployment recipients Signed 3/30
H.J.Res. 43: Blocking a rule letting family planning grants go to abortion providers Signed 4/13
H.J.Res. 44: Repealing the Bureau of Land Management’s "Planning 2.0" rule Signed 3/26
H.J.Res. 57: Blocking a Dept. of Education rule on state accountability plans Signed 3/26
H.J.Res. 58: Repealing a Dept. of Education rule on teacher preparation Signed 3/26
H.J.Res. 69: Overturning a rule blocking predator hunting in Alaskan refuges Signed 4/3
H.J.Res. 83: Blocking OSHA’s rule that let it cite employers for safety recordkeeping violations over a five-year period Signed 4/2
H.J.Res. 67: Repealing a Dept. of Labor rule on savings plans set up by states for non-employees Signed 4/12
H.J.Res. 66: Repealing a Dept. of Labor rule on savings plans set up by states for non-employees Enacted 5/16
Needs Senate action
- H.J.Res. 36: Repealing the Bureau of Land Management’s "Methane Rule" Passed House 2/3
Tell your reps whether these regulations should’ve been repealed or if they got it wrong and Congress should put them back in place using the "Take Action" button.
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— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr / Creative Commons)
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