The Ultimate Tool for Republicans – The Congressional Review Act

The Ultimate Tool for Republicans - The Congressional Review Act

It’s been everywhere in the news lately: a Republican majority in Congress and what it could spell for all programs, events and initiatives put in place during the Obama administration. However, many had faith that the typical long, excruciating process of repealing old programs would slow republican lawmakers from repealing many of these acts.  But Republican lawmakers have had a long period of time, planning the best way to get rid of these mechanisms, and they may have found it with the CRA.

The Congressional Review Act, passed in 1996, allows Congress to repeal new rules and regulations without the policy and structure of passing regular bills. There is no way that what is issued under the CRA can be filibustered. All that is needed is a majority in both senate and house- which, with a mainly Republican base, will be no problem at all. Even more so, when the president signs off of the new reform, the rule is immediately terminated and cannot be issued again, unless Congress decides to open up the discussion again. 

Besides once in 2001, when a Republican congress sent Bush an initiative to target workplace rules, the Congressional Review Act hasn’t been used much. This is mostly due to to the fact that anything under the CRA needs the support of the president as well, so any move that Republicans have attempted has been shut down by the Democrats in the White House- or vice versa. But coming January 20th, the mediums and balance will be just right, creating a proverbial bomb that is ready to wreck havoc on Democratic initiatives created in the last years. Most especially, the sudden regulations Obama has started issuing, topics ranging from fuel emissions to Planned Parenthood.

It’s easy to be bewildered. How could such a thing pass with no one’s notice? But, it was noticed and approved. Both parties agreed that they deserved more power in Congress, and let the CRA slide. It seemed as if no president would simply sign off on such a blatant disregard for policy and routine, Republican and Democrat alike. And then, we enter Donald Trump into the equation. 

The CRA is estimated to be able to roll-back on around 8-12 of the rules passed from the Obama administration, which specific rules remain to be seen. With Republicans in such advantaged positions in both Congress and White House, it seems likely they will succeed, so what can one do?

While there is no clear way to stop the CRA and the roll-back of any laws that it may incur, Democrats in Congress are sure to try to find more tools to stop and slow the storm the CRA could cause. If such things as the Congressional Review Act can be found from the archives, there is sure to be more.  There is no one clear way to stop the possible reform the CRA will aid, but, as we’re learning more and more in this election cycle- the most important thing is to never ignore it.