Congressional Review Act

United States legislation enabling Congress to override federal agency decisions / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Congressional Review Act (CRA)[1] is a law that was enacted by the United States Congress as Subtitle E of the Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104–121 (text) (PDF)) and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on March 29, 1996.[2][3] 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issued by government agencies and, by passage of a joint resolution, to overrule a regulation.[4] Once a rule is thus repealed, the CRA also prohibits the reissuing of the rule in substantially the same form or the issuing of a new rule that is substantially the same "unless the reissued or new rule is specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of the joint resolution disapproving the original rule" (5 U.S. Code § 801(b)(2)). Congress has a window of time lasting 60 legislative days to disapprove of any given rule by simple-majority vote; otherwise, the rule will go into effect at the end of that period.[5][6]

Prior to 2017, the CRA had been successfully invoked only once to overturn a rule (in 2001).[7] In January 2017, with a new Republican president (Donald Trump), the Republican-controlled 115th Congress began passing a series of disapproval resolutions to overturn a variety of rules issued under the Obama administration. Ultimately, fourteen such resolutions repealing Obama administration rules were passed and signed into law; a fifteenth resolution was passed by the House but failed in the Senate. Because of the shortness of legislative sessions during the 114th Congress, the 115th Congress was able to target rules issued by the Obama administration as far back as May 2016.[8] In late 2017 and early 2018 Congress passed two resolutions repealing Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules made by former President Obama's CFPB Director, Richard Cordray, who did not leave his post until late 2017.