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Jan. 25, 2021 by Daniel Farber

The Controversial Congressional Review Act

This post originally ran in The Conversation and on Legal Planet and is reprinted here under Creative Commons license CC BY-ND 4.0.

The Trump administration dedicated itself to deregulation with unprecedented fervor. It rolled back scores of regulations across government agencies, including more than 80 environmental rules.

The Biden administration can reverse some of those actions quickly – for instance, as president, Joe Biden can undo Donald Trump’s executive orders with a stroke of the pen. On his first day in office, Biden used that power to start bringing the U.S. back into the Paris climate agreement and the World Health Organization, and to rescind a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline and orders restricting travel from several predominantly Muslim and African countries. He also ordered a temporary moratorium on oil and natural gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Undoing most regulatory rollbacks, however, will require a review process that can take years, often followed by further delays during litigation.

There is an alternative, but it comes with risks.

Biden could take a leaf from the Republicans’ 2017 playbook, when congressional Republicans used a shortcut based on an obscure federal law called the Congressional Review …

Aug. 20, 2020 by James Goodwin
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The Congressional Review Act (CRA) is a bad law and should be repealed. Yet, it has taken on outsized importance given that it provides one of the few vehicles for moving substantive legislation through a hyper-polarized Congress. The upcoming elections are thrusting it back in the spotlight, so let’s talk about the CRA and how opponents of the Trump administration’s assault on public safeguards might put it to its highest and best use.

First things first, though: The CRA only becomes viable if the Democrats sweep the presidential election and secure majorities in both chambers of Congress. Some polling suggests that the stars appear to be aligning in this fashion, just as they did at the beginning of the Trump administration when the full aggressive force of the CRA was first deployed. If this happens, that means any rules issued “late enough” in the Trump …

Feb. 28, 2019 by James Goodwin
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The return of divided government promises to bring with it a welcome, albeit temporary, reprieve from the unprecedented abuse of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that we witnessed during the 115th Congress. As I argue in an article featured in the March/April edition of The Environmental Forum, published by the Environmental Law Institute, the CRA has become far too dangerous a law – and the happenstance of divided government should not be the only thing protecting the public interest from future abuses. Rather, recent experience has provided us with all the evidence we need to repeal the CRA – for the good of public health, safety, and the environment, as well as the integrity of our democratic institutions.

During the 115th Congress, anti-safeguard lawmakers demonstrated the full destructive potential of CRA, with Republicans working with President Donald Trump to deploy the law to repeal 16 different regulatory safeguards …

Jan. 17, 2019 by Daniel Farber
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Originally published on Legal Planet.

In theory, cost-benefit analysis should be just as relevant when the government is deregulating as when it is imposing new regulations. But things don't seem to work that way. This is the second of two blog posts analyzing how costs and benefits figured in decisions during the past two years of unified GOP control of the federal government (read the first post here). Today, I focus on Congress.

For the first time in history, Congress made aggressive use of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to roll back federal regulations. It had only been used once before, but in 2017, Congress overturned fifteen government regulations in short order. Liberals decried these regulatory rollbacks as a mass attack on the environment and the public interest more generally. Conservatives applauded Congress for cutting the heavy cost of government regulation and boosting the economy. It appears …

May 2, 2018 by James Goodwin
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Over the last couple of weeks, conservatives in Congress have continued their assault on public safeguards using the once-obscure and once-dormant Congressional Review Act (CRA). If their latest adventure succeeds, it will be the 16th public protection that these members, working with in concert with President Donald Trump, have obliterated over the last year, laying waste to a broad and diverse range of measures related to public health, safety, the environment, and consumer financial protection. 

The anti-safeguard lawmakers behind these CRA-fueled attacks have already demonstrated what a dangerous law the CRA is, especially in the wrong hands, but this latest action would take the law to an unprecedented and even more extreme level. It targets a 2013 "bulletin" by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) aimed at discriminatory auto lending practices. As such, this would be the first time the CRA has been used to wipe out …

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CPR HOMEPAGE
More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
Jan. 25, 2021

The Controversial Congressional Review Act

Aug. 20, 2020

The Congressional Review Act Could Be Put to Positive Short-Term Use, but It Should Still Be Repealed

Feb. 28, 2019

Resolution of Disapproval: Call for Repealing the CRA Featured in 'The Environmental Forum'

Jan. 17, 2019

Regulatory Review in Anti-Regulatory Times: Congress

May 2, 2018

New Report: It's Time to Repeal the Congressional Review Act