Neil Bradley Neil Bradley
Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer, and Head of Strategic Advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


April 11, 2017


Recent surveys—including the RMS/U.S. Chamber Middle Market Business Index—have shown rising business confidence. Much of this has come from the expectation that the federal government will make it easier for businesses to invest, grow, and create jobs.

Early on in 2017, that expectation is playing out in Washington.

Since January, Congress and President Trump have successfully utilized a very effective, but little known tool, the Congressional Review Act (CRA), to reverse recent, ill-conceived federal regulations that are burdensome to businesses and impede job creation and economic growth. 

The CRA, which was enacted into law in 1996, permits Congress to vote by a simple majority to disapprove recent rules and regulations from federal agencies under a limited time window.  For those rules that are disapproved, the CRA prevents future regulatory action that is substantially similar unless expressly authorized by Congress.  Prior to 2017, the CRA was used successfully only once in 2001 to overturn a Department of Labor rule regarding ergonomics.

The chart below lists seven CRA resolutions passed by Congress (six signed to date by President Trump) that garnered the U.S. Chamber’s support.  Additional CRA resolutions are expected to be enacted with the Chamber’s support before the CRA time window closes around May 9, 2017.

The Chamber’s support of the CRA process to address the regulatory overreach of the past administration is just one part of the Chamber’s broad program to obtain regulatory relief for American business.  These efforts include working with the new administration to achieve positive changes in agency guidance documents, rescind existing executive orders harmful to energy development and economic growth, a review of older, existing regulations with the aim of proposing new rulemaking to rescind or replace and revise overreaching rules, as well as ongoing engagement with legal challenges to various regulations. 

Finally, the Chamber is advocating for reform of the regulatory system itself.  This includes support for the bipartisan Regulatory Accountability Act, H.R. 5 (passed the House, pending in Senate), which would require that regulations costing more than $100 million to be subject to a cost/benefit analysis and provide the public the right to question the agency’s calculations and to submit calculations it believes more accurate.

So far this year, American businesses are optimistic that regulatory relief and reform is coming. Washington is off to a good start and must continue living up to those expectations.

About the authors

Neil Bradley

Neil Bradley

Neil Bradley is executive vice president, chief policy officer, and head of strategic advocacy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He has spent two decades working directly with congressional committee chairpersons and other high-ranking policymakers to achieve solutions.

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