May 11, 2017 - 9:45am

After the Successful Use of the Congressional Review Act, Here’s Where Regulatory Reform Goes Next


Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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President Donald Trump signs a Congressional Review Act resolution which rescinds the Labor Department's "Blacklisting" rule.
President Donald Trump signs a Congressional Review Act resolution which rescinds the Labor Department's "Blacklisting" rule.

Time may be up on Congress and President Trump employing a useful tool to roll back “midnight regulations” from the Obama administration, but the hard work of regulatory reform continues.

Since January, Congress and President Donald Trump have been using the Congressional Review Act, to roll back some of the many costly regulations imposed in 2016, Politico reports:

Under the act, lawmakers can use the tool to bypass Senate filibusters within 60 legislative days after a rule takes effect, a period that is due to expire on Thursday for Obama’s final regulations. Lawmakers could have tried to block any of the dozens of significant Obama-era regulations that took effect after June 2016, but their capacity was limited by other priorities on Congress’ calendar, such as confirming Trump’s Cabinet nominees and dealing with Obamacare.

The results of Congress and President Trump working together have been impressive. Fourteen regulations were repealed—amazing since previous to this year, the CRA was only used once.

In the table below are eight resolutions the U.S. Chamber supported that passed Congress and were signed by President Trump. One resolution repealed a rule requiring federal contractors to disclose mere allegations of federal labor violations. Two others closed loopholes that allowed state and local governments to automatically put private-sector workers into government-run retirement savings programs that didn’t have the same high-level protections as private employer-sponsored plans. And another returned broadband privacy regulations to the Federal Trade Commission, who previously had jurisdiction.

The pursuit of a more sensible regulatory environment that ensures fair play, a safe workforce, a clean environment, and a vibrant, growing economy, is a marathon not a sprint. “Deregulation doesn’t take three or four months to complete,” writes the American Action Forum’s Sam Batkins. Instead, it takes a multi-front approach, as I explained in a post in April:

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.

The Regulatory Accountability Act is about getting the rules right and implementing what Congress intended.

By modernizing our regulatory process, we’ll create a business environment more conducive to investment, innovation, job creation, and higher wages. 

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About the Author

About the Author

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

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