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Stars Align for the Congressional Review Act

Enacted over 20 years ago as part the “Contract with America” package of reforms, the Congressional Review Act (CRA) has sat largely unused in the congressional toolbox. This law sought to make it easier for Congress to repeal regulations, but only once has it been successfully used to do so. That is about to change. During the next few months, the CRA could become one of the most significant congressional weapons in the fight against the rising amount of red tape.

While Congress has always had the power to stop any regulation it disapproves of, the CRA provides a streamlined process for Congress to disapprove a final rule without threat of filibuster. Moreover, it bars agencies from re-imposing the same or similar rule afterward. Because of this, the CRA could in many cases provide a more effective way to address newly imposed final rules than even direct repeal of a final rule by federal agencies. The CRA’s effectiveness could, however, be strengthened by use of explanatory “preambles.”

Congress should make the CRA a frequently used weapon in the fight against red tape.

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