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Use It or Lose It

The Congressional Review Act Window is Closing

By Amit Narang & Matt Kent

Democrats must act in the coming weeks if they intend to successfully use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal parts of Trump’s deregulatory legacy.

The CRA allows Congress by a majority vote in both chambers – with limited debate, no possibility of a filibuster, and the president’s signature – to strike down rules issued by the last administration. Congress is time-limited in its ability to disapprove Trump-era rules finalized after August 21, 2020 (a.k.a. the lookback period).

There are two major deadlines at play:

  • The Introduction Period: Members of Congress have until April 4, 2021 (estimated) to introduce a resolution to undo a specific regulatory action finalized during the lookback period.
  • The Action Period: Special fast-track legislative procedures that enable a Senate majority to approve a CRA resolution on a Trump rule issued during the lookback period expire sometime between May 10 – May 21, 2021 (estimated).

Regulatory actions submitted to Congress after the adjournment of the 116th Congress on January 3, 2021 are subject to standard CRA deadlines, not the above timelines applicable to rules finalized during the lookback period. Recently, Public Citizen documented Trump rules that were submitted late to Congress.

The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards has developed a list of notable rules eligible for repeal under the CRA.

Fair Housing Disparate ImpactHUD09/24/2020
Grants Rule (LGBTQ discrimination)HHS01/12/2021
Commission Conciliation ProceduresEEOC01/14/2021
Oak Flat/Resolution Copper Mine Environmental Impact StatementUSDA: Forest Service01/15/2021
Alaska Tongass Roadless RuleUSDA: Forest Service10/29/2020
Designating Critical Habitat for Endangered WildlifeInterior - FWS12/18/2020, 12/16/2020
Clean Air Act “Once In, Always In”EPA11/19/2020
Methane Review RuleEPA09/14/2020
Clean Air Act Cost-Benefit AnalysisEPA12/23/2020
True Lender RuleTreasury - OCC10/30/2020
Cross-border SwapsCFTC09/14/2020
Proxy Advisor RuleSEC09/03/2020
Shareholder Proposal ProceduresSEC11/04/2020
Proxy Advisor RuleDOL12/16/2020
ESG InvestingDOL11/13/2020
SUNSET Retrospective ReviewHHS01/19/2021
Asylum Eligibility (Third Country Transit Ban)DHS/DOJ12/17/2020
Pandemic-Related Security BarsDHS/DOJ12/23/2020
H-1B Wage Based SelectionDHS01/08/2021
Asylum Procedures and Withholding of RemovalDOJ12/16/2020
EOIR Appellate Procedures and Decision Finality; Admin ClosureDOJ12/16/2020
Asylum Credible Fear and Reasonable RemovalDHS/DOJ12/11/2020
EOIR OrganizationDOJ11/03/2020
Airlines Defining Unfair and Deceptive PracticesDOT12/07/2020
Driver Hours of Service: Ag CommoditiesDOT11/24/2020
Driver Hours of Service: Pilot Program PauseDOT09/03/2020
18 – 20-Year-Old Drivers Pilot ProgramDOT09/10/2020
Mine Inspection Ten Day Notice RuleInterior - OSMRE11/24/2020