Behold the Congressional Review Act (CRA): “(A) law that was enacted by the United States Congress as section 251 of the Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996, also known as the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. The law empowers Congress to review, by means of an expedited legislative process, new federal regulations issued by government agencies and, by passage of a joint resolution, to overrule a regulation….”
Well that’s fabulous. But wait – there’s more goodness: “The law provides a procedure for expedited consideration in the Senate. If the committee to which a joint resolution is referred has not reported it out within 20 calendar days after referral, it may be discharged from further consideration by a written petition of 30 Members of the Senate, at which point the measure is placed on the calendar, and it is in order at any time for a Senator to move to proceed to the joint resolution. If the Senate agrees to the motion to proceed, debate on the floor is limited to 10 hours and no amendments to the resolution or motions to proceed to other business are in order, and so the Senate may pass the joint resolution with a simple majority.”
Get that? “A simple majority” – the CRA cannot be filibustered. There’s a little more: “For the regulation to be invalidated, the Congressional resolution of disapproval either must be signed by the President, or must be passed over the President’s veto by two-thirds of both Houses of Congress.”
Well that’s currently no problem. Behold President Donald Trump – the Chief Executive promising to cut regulations “by 75% or more.” He would warmly welcome a whole coterie of CRA regulatory repeals.
Congress should tee up nigh the entirety of President Barack Obama’s eight-year reign of unilateral terror – and wipe the “legacy” slate clean with a series of CRA sweeps.
Except…one problem: “Congress is given 60 legislative days to disapprove, after which the rule will go into effect.”
Sixty days? Sixty days? That’s…hardly any days. The CRA is a great idea – returning the legislating power from the regulatory agencies to the Legislative Branch – that is limited to a minor blip on the radar by its extremely confined calendar.
So Congress should absolutely amend the CRA. Widening the sixty-day window to six months. Or six years. Or six decades. Seriously, the CRA’s applicability should be greatly expanded and extended.
Of course, there is a great amount of Obama regulatory hyperactivity to which the current CRA can and should be applied:
“This is a good way to deal with as much as possible of outgoing Obama’s many post-election regulation additions. Thankfully, the Republican Congress is already working on that. A slate of rollbacks will be on the Oval Office’s Resolute Desk – passed by Congress and awaiting brand-new-President-Trump’s signature.
“(And) there are some pre-election regs that are so egregious, so damaging to the private sector – that they too deserve this expedited undoing. One such regulatory assault is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s ridiculous ‘privacy’ rules. These rules are a massive power grab by the Commission to favor administration cronies like Google, Facebook and Netflix: “The FCC(’s)…regulations…(dictate) how broadband providers handle sensitive customer data.’
“The FCC(’s)…regulations…(dictate) how broadband providers handle sensitive customer data.’ ‘Broadband providers’ are companies like Comcast and Time Warner. These companies have way less access to far less data than companies like Google, Facebook and Netflix – who are unscathed by these new regulations: ‘95+% of Google’s monstrous income – comes from selling sensitive customer data. Broadband providers – are (much smaller) data-selling competitors. The FCC is about to make it much more difficult for Google’s much smaller competitors – while leaving Google’s massive data-selling model totally alone. Regulations for thee – not for me, eh, Google?’
“These regulations will absolutely, inordinately help the likes of Google, Facebook and Netflix (because they clearly need it) – and make our Internet service much more expensive. These regulations most certainly deserve triage priority – so much so that they should be added to Congress’ slate of CRA rollbacks.”
Congress should work tirelessly to apply the current CRA to as many regulations as possible.
While simultaneously amending the CRA to exponentially expand how far back it can be applied.
And then tirelessly applying the new CRA to as many regulations as possible.
The world will, as a result, be a much better place.
This first appeared in Red State.