by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Republicans this month will invoke the rarely used Congressional Review Act to extinguish some of the Obama administration’s more recent regulations they believe will damage the economy.
The act, which has not been used successfully since 2001, is certain to provoke strong opposition from Democrats who will seek to preserve Obama’s legacy. But there is little Democrats can do to stop the GOP.
The Congressional Review Act, pushed through Congress in 1996 by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich and signed by President Clinton, can be used to undo recent regulations issued by the executive branch with a simple majority vote in both the House and Senate.
The GOP controls the majorities in both chambers and President Trump is eager to sign the legislation undoing the regulations, which affect the environment, education and jobs.
Republicans last were able to use the CRA in 2001, when they briefly held majorities in the House and Senate and Republican President George W. Bush was able to sign into law a CRA-passed bill reversing a Clinton administration ruling on ergonomics.
“There is only a rare set of circumstances in which you can use it,” Rutgers University professor Stuart Shapiro, a public policy expert, told the Washington Examiner.
Republicans have for years talked of undoing Obama administration regulations through legislation, but the CRA gives them an easier route in the Senate by allowing Republicans to avert the 60-vote filibuster. The CRA can be applied only to regulations issued within 60 legislative days.