by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor | John Locke Foundation
Great news via Kimberly A. Strassel in The Wall Street Journal today:
The accepted wisdom in Washington is that the CRA [Congressional Review Act] can be used only against new regulations, those finalized in the past 60 legislative days. That gets Republicans back to June, teeing up 180 rules or so for override. …
But what Mr. Gaziano told Republicans on Wednesday was that the CRA grants them far greater powers, including the extraordinary ability to overrule regulations even back to the start of the Obama administration. The CRA also would allow the GOP to dismantle these regulations quickly, and to ensure those rules can’t come back, even under a future Democratic president. No kidding.
Read the article. Here’s a brief explanation:
The CRA requires the agency behind a rule to issue a report on it to Congress, which has 60 days to act to block it after its either published or Congress receives that report, whichever happens later.
That’s key because the Obama administration chose not to issue reports on those rules. So the clock on them hasn’t even started yet.
Furthermore, the CRA also applies to agency-issued guidelines, which include “the Obama administration’s controversial guidance on transgender bathrooms in schools or on Title IX and campus sexual assault.”
It is highly unlikely agencies submitted reports to lawmakers on these actions.
“If they haven’t reported it to Congress, it can now be challenged,” says Paul Larkin, a senior legal research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Mr. Larkin, also at Wednesday’s meeting, told me challenges could be leveled against any rule or guidance back to 1996, when the CRA was passed.
And here is the coup de grace:
The best part? Once Congress overrides a rule, agencies cannot reissue it in “substantially the same form” unless specifically authorized by future legislation. The CRA can keep bad regs and guidance off the books even in future Democratic administrations—a far safer approach than if the Mr. Trump simply rescinded them.
Republicans in both chambers—particularly in the Senate—worry that a great use of the CRA could eat up valuable floor time, as Democrats drag out the review process. But Mr. Gaziano points out another hidden gem: The law allows a simple majority to limit debate time. Republicans could easily whip through a regulation an hour.