Saturday, February 18, 2017


February 16, 2017

Congress may not be eager to review many important things (cough, Russia, cough), but they have eagerly taken advantage of the 1996 Congressional Review Act to dismantle several Obama Administration rules. Generally, even with the one party controlling both Congress and the White House, repealing existing regulations is a long and tricky process. Cue the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to repeal regulations with a simple majority vote in each chamber and support from the president. The CRA process only applies to “recently finalized” rules, but that list is a lot longer than you might think.

In the three weeks since Trump took office, Congressional Republicans have been using this process to launch a systematic attack on Obama-era regulations. Here are a few of the rules they’ve already repealed:

  • Stream protection. The stream protection rule protected streams from surface mining operations.
  • Oil bribery. The Cardin-Luger rule prevented oil companies like Exxon Mobil from engaging in bribery when operating abroad.
  • Gun violence. Yesterday, the Senate used the process to repeal a rule preventing certain mentally disabled people from buying guns.
  • Title X. Today, the House is expected to vote to make it easier for states to strip funding from health care providers like Planned Parenthood that receive funding under the Title X Family Planning Program.

While we’ve been distracted with Trump’s latest cabinet drama, Congress is repealing critical health, safety, and environmental protections that impact the lives of millions of Americans. See the other rules at risk, including offshore oil drilling safety, disabled worker protections, and energy efficiency standards, here.

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