The Reach of the Congressional Review Act
The Congressional Review Act allows Congress to invalidate an agency rule while satisfying the Bicameralism and Presentment requirements of Article I of the Constitution. A joint resolution of disapproval signed into law by the President invalidates the rule and bars an agency from thereafter adopting a substantially similar one absent a new act of Congress. Congress intended that the CRA apply broadly to whatever type of document an agency could use to strong-arm a regulated party into complying with the agency’s views. Both regulations and interpretive rules fit under the umbrella of “rules” that Congress used to define the substantive scope of agency action. Congress also stated exactly when its opportunity to review and overturn a rule would commence: at the later of the date when the Federal Register publishes the rule or when the agency properly submits it to Congress. Together, those provisions enable Congress to reach back and review agency legislative and interpretive regulations that were never properly submitted to Congress under the CRA.