Congress is using the Congressional Review Act to gut common-sense rules.
DAY 17 ACTION: Learn about the Congressional Review Act.
Last week’s headlines focused on President Trump’s executive actions to build a wall, shut down America’s refugee system, and ban immigrants from Muslim-majority countries. (See Day 7 and Day 12 on these orders.) Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Congress used an obscure law to kill two rules:
- An SEC rule requiring fossil fuel companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments. This rule is intended to crack down on bribes to foreign agents.
- A rule requiring tougher permitting requirements for mountain top removal mining. This practice blows the tops off of mountains and dumps the toxic debris into nearby streams and valleys. It also reduces coal mining jobs. Large banks have pulled financing for these controversial projects.
The House then voted to kill a rule making it harder for mentally impaired people to buy guns.
These common-sense rules fell victim to the Congressional Review Act, a law created in 1996 as part of the Republican Contract with America. Under the CRA, Congress has 60 working days to disapprove new agency rules (and bar future rules that are “substantially the same”).
The President must sign a Congressional disapproval, just as if this were a regular law. Because a President is highly unlikely to kill a rule issued by his own Administration, the CRA is only contemplated at the beginning of a new Presidency, when a different party comes to power.
Before 2017, the CRA had only been used once, to kill a Clinton-era ergonomics rule. Until recently, the law was thought of as obscure and unlikely to be used very often. But Congressional Republicans plan to use the CRA to gut as many post-June 13, 2016 Obama rules as possible before the clock runs out. Congress likely has 60 days from February 1 to pass more CRA resolutions.
Today’s Action: Learn about the Congressional Review Act and how it’s being used to help coal and Big Oil. Tell your friends (and anyone else who will listen!) Share this post with others!