by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Sarah Westwood of the Washington Examiner explains why the road to federal regulatory reform is about to become more difficult to travel.
President Trump and his team have touted their extensive use of the Congressional Review Act to roll back Obama-era regulations as a major accomplishment of the president’s first 100 days in office. But their window for using this legislative tool is set to close, and Republicans must find new ways to erase rules put in place by Trump’s predecessor.
The Congressional Review Act gives lawmakers 60 legislative days to undo regulations enacted by the executive branch. Congress had used the obscure law just once before Trump’s tenure. Lawmakers succeeded in putting 13 bills on Trump’s desk to overrule Obama administration rules this year. …
… The Congressional Review Act resolutions tackled Obama-era rules on the environment, education and labor, among other issues. Then-President Barack Obama implemented those rules in the latter half of 2016.
But Paul Larkin, a senior legal research fellow at the right-leaning Heritage Foundation, noted the Congressional Review Act’s clock starts once the federal agency enforcing the rule submits its report on that regulation to Congress, not necessarily when the regulation is approved. …
… The nonpartisan Cause of Action Institute has identified hundreds of rules that agencies never properly submitted to Congress; those rules could be vulnerable to repeal under the Congressional Review Act.
The administration has acknowledged, however, that its best opportunity to pursue deregulation quickly has come and gone now that Obama-era rules are mostly beyond the reach of the Congressional Review Act.