Senior Editor, Digital Content
February 06, 2017
Congress is rolling back some of the regulatory red tape created by the Obama administration.
Using the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress can disapprove of regulations that have been finalized in the last 60 days Congress has been in session. When the resolutions of disapproval are signed by the president, they’re taken off the books.
Early in this session Congress has jumped right in working to relieve some regulatory burdens on businesses.
The first regulation on its way for repeal is the Interior Department’s stream protection rule. This duplicative regulation harmful to coal mining was finalized six weeks after Election Day. In a key vote letter to House members, the U.S. Chamber explained the rule:
The U.S. Chamber also signed onto a letter with 30 state and local chambers of commerce asking Congress to repeal the stream protection rule:
After the Senate voted to repeal the regulation, Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy said:
The second regulation sent to President Trump also involves energy. Last summer, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finalized a regulation that requires American energy companies to release sensitive and detailed commercial information about foreign energy projects.
In a key vote letter to House members, the U.S. Chamber explained, “Similar rules from SEC have been killed by the courts because SEC violated the free speech protections of the First Amendment.”
The Chamber added, “In its own description of the rule, SEC recognized that the rule would result in a loss of competitive advantage by U.S. companies relative to some foreign firms.”
Ten days after Election Day, the Bureau of Land Management finalized a “venting and flaring” regulation to reduce methane emissions from wells on federal and tribal land.
The U.S. Chamber along with state and local chambers support nixing the rule:
On February 3, 2017, the House voted to repeal the rule, and it awaits action in the Senate.
Blacklist for Federal Contractors
Last year, the FAR Council finalized regulations enacting President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. The rules require that “federal contractors must disclose mere allegations of federal labor violations, potentially locking them out of federal contracts without giving them a chance to challenge the charges,” writes Marc Freedman, U.S. Chamber executive director of labor law policy, thereby earning the E.O. and regulations the nickname of "blacklisting." What’s more, it would give unions leverage in labor negotiations with companies who have federal contracts by threatening to file federal labor violation allegations.
As Jack Howard, senior vice president of Congressional and Public Affairs states in the Chamber’s
The U.S. Chamber joined a chorus of associations representing companies doing business with the federal government in opposing the Blacklisting rule. The House voted to repeal the rule February 2, prompting Randy Johnson, U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President for Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits to applaud:
With a president willing to sign them, look for Congress to make repealing harmful regulations a regular part of its work this year.
About the authors
Senior Editor, Digital Content
Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.