The Congressional Review Act matters, here’s why

August 02, 2019 | By SCOTT BARTON
Congress building

What would your family do with an extra $3,000 a year? Pay down debts? Invest? Save? Go on vacation? An extra few thousand dollars can mean a lot to the average family. That’s why recent news about the successful rollback of burdensome regulations is an important first step in the fight against the out-of-control, and expensive, administrative state.

In January 2017, the White House and Congress began a project to roll back overburdensome government regulations across multiple agencies. According to a recent report from the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, these reforms will increase Americans’ incomes by $3,100 per household per year, adding up to $220 billion in savings per year.

The report attributes $41 billion of that $220 billion to deregulation under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

The CRA was enacted in 1996 to allow Congress greater oversight of the regulatory process. Agencies are supposed to send proposed new rules to Congress, which has a 60-day window to nullify them. If Congress doesn’t act, the regulations become law.

According to the report:

“Sixteen Obama-era regulations were ultimately nullified by the CRA. The more economically important of these are the Federal rule allowing States to mandate employers to provide retirement accounts (the ‘IRA-mandate rule’), the FCC rule regarding broadband privacy, and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rule requiring the public disclosure of foreign payments.”

While these reforms are important wins for taxpayers, they represent only a small fraction of the unnecessary and unconstitutional regulations Americans face. Much more needs to be done to fight the overgrown regulatory state.

Regulatory agencies can and should be sending more rules to Congress, as required by the CRA. Last year, PLF sued the Department of the Interior, asking courts to require agencies to comply with the CRA.

While we applaud the progress made so far, we will continue fighting for more, because, as the President’s report shows, Americans prosper when they are freed from regulatory burdens.