Congressional Review Act

by John McClaughry

One of the first acts of the new Republican Congress will be – hopefully – to start using the Congressional Review Act of 1996 to put the brakes on extralegal acts of a President, in this case, President Obama.

The CRA establishes a process for Congress to overturn executive rules that in the opinion of Congress go beyond the powers delegated by Congress to the Executive branch. One example is known as WOTUS –  waters of the United States – where the Environmental Protection Agency is trying to seize control of every piddling brook and drainage ditch in the country, instead of confining itself to “navigable waterways”. There are many, many more Obama rules that Congress needs to roll back.

Strangely, CRA law has never been tested in the courts. The legislation says that any rule which is rescinded under the CRA “may not be reissued in substantially the same form, and a new rule that is substantially the same as such a rule may not be issued, unless the reissued or new rule is specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of the joint resolution disapproving the original rule.”

This means that a rule once blocked by Congress is not likely to be even attempted again for many years, until a new rule is constructed that is arguably so different, or based on new legislation, that it can pass muster. This kind of legislative review is essential to constitutional government. It’s too bad we don’t have one in Vermont (which I was unable to sell during my four years in the Senate).

- John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

William Hays January 14, 2017 at 5:38 am

Good to know. Are the “Three Stooges” aware of the CRA?

Reply

Jim Bulmer January 14, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Have faith. Apparently Obama did not realize that the pen he used to sign all of his unwanted, illegal executive orders was loaded with disappearing ink and all will be history by the end of the first 100 days.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

About Us

The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.
Read more...

Latest News

State House Headliners

By Guy Page Republished with permission from Page Communications.  H170, legalized possession of an ounce of marijuana and two adult and five juvenile plants, was approved by the House Judiciary...

Roll Call! House Votes to Allow Confiscation of Firearms If There Are Allegations of Domestic Abuse

  . H.422 – AN ACT RELATING TO REMOVAL OF FIREARMS FROM A PERSON ARRESTED OR CITED FOR DOMESTIC ASSAULT.  . PASSED in the State House of Representatives...

The State: We Can’t Afford To Pay, But You Can!

by Rob Roper The funding mechanism for the Paid Family Leave bill (H. 196) is a 0.93% payroll tax, which would raise about $80 million. The original language...

National Institute of Health Boondoggles

by John McClaughry President Trump wants to cut $6 billion from the budget of the National Institutes of Health, and the medical community is screaming. Certainly the NIH does...

Crossover Overview: Where Key Bills Stand

By Guy Page Like baby sea turtles marching slowly across the beach by their thousands to temporary safety, a minority of the hundreds of bills introduced into the...

Video