April 16, 2018
64 Groups Oppose CRA Resolution Repealing 2013 Auto Lending Guidance
Targeting Settled Agency Actions Is a Clear Abuse of the Law
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress should not use Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions to target public protections that have been in place for years or decades, as this violates the clear intent of the law, 64 groups said in a letter (PDF) sent today to lawmakers. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote this week on S.J. Res. 57, which would strike down a U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) auto lending guidance document that has been in place since 2013.
“We oppose such a vote, as it would contravene the clear intent of the CRA to allow Congress to review and challenge recently finalized agency actions. This would set a dangerous precedent that would allow Congress to stretch the CRA to challenge a wide variety of settled agency actions that have been in effect for years or decades, particularly ‘guidance documents’ that are not only crucial to protecting workers, consumers, minorities, the environment, and the economy but also to providing regulatory certainty for businesses and the public,” the letter reads.
The CRA allows Congress – by majority vote in both chambers, with limited debate, no possibility of a filibuster and the president’s signature – to override recently issued public protections. This Congress has used the CRA to repeal 15 public protections, but the CRA process never has been used to target settled agency actions or nonbinding guidance documents, which often are requested by regulated industries to resolve uncertainties in the application of new regulatory standards to their business practices. Unlike regulations, guidance documents can be updated or withdrawn by agencies quickly and easily, raising questions about why the CRA is being used to target guidance.
“Given the long and growing list of legislative issues that need to be addressed by the Senate on an urgent and expedited basis, it is difficult to fathom why the Senate would choose to spend valuable floor time to repeal guidance under the CRA when such guidance could be effectively repealed by the agency that issued it in short order and with limited procedural requirements. By bringing this vote to the Senate floor, it sends a message to the public that Congress is more interested in giving narrow handouts to special interests rather than addressing the real issues that impact hard-working Americans and their families,” the letter concludes.