President Joe Biden (D) signed three Congressional Review Act (CRA) bills on June 30, reversing three administrative rules implemented near the end of the Donald Trump (R) administration.
Signing these bills brings the total number of rules repealed under the CRA to 20. These CRA bills are also the first Congress has used to reverse regulatory actions taken by a Republican president.
The first bill, S.J.Res.13, reversed a Trump-era Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rule that changed what information the agency would share with companies accused of discrimination. It passed 219-210 in the U.S. House of Representatives with Democrats voting in favor and Republicans voting against it. In the U.S. Senate, the resolution passed 50-48 with 48 Democrats and two independents in favor and 48 Republicans opposed.
The second bill, S.J.Res.14, reversed a Trump-era Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methane rule and restored methane emissions standards set during the Barack Obama (D) administration. It passed 229-191 in the U.S. House with 217 Democrats and 12 Republicans voting in favor and 191 Republicans voting against it. In the U.S. Senate, the resolution passed 52-42 with 47 Democrats, three Republicans, and two independents voting in favor while 42 Republicans voted against it.
The third bill, S.J.Res.15, reversed a Trump-era U.S. Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) rule that changed regulations governing banks that give money to third-parties to lend to borrowers. It passed 218-208 in the U.S. House with 217 Democrats and one Republican voting in favor and 208 Republicans voting against it. In the U.S. Senate, the resolution passed 52-47 with 47 Democrats, 3 Republicans, and two independents voting in favor while 47 Republicans voted against it.
The Congressional Review Act is a federal law passed in 1996 that creates a 60 day review period during which Congress, by passing a joint resolution of disapproval later signed by the president, can overturn a new federal agency rule.
The law defines days under the CRA as days where Congress is in continuous session, so the estimated window to block any end-of-term regulatory activity from the Trump administration was between Feb. 3, and April 4, 2021. Congress had until then to introduce CRA resolutions to block regulatory activity that occurred between Aug. 20, 2020, and Jan. 3, 2021.
Since the law’s creation in 1996, Congress has used the CRA to successfully repeal 20 rules published in the _Federal Register_. Before 2017, Congress had used the CRA successfully one time, to overturn a rule on ergonomics in the workplace in 2001. In the first four months of his administration, President Donald Trump (R) signed 14 CRA resolutions from Congress undoing a variety of rules issued near the end of Barack Obama’s (D) presidency. Congress ultimately repealed 16 rules in total using the CRA during the Trump administration.
To learn more about the CRA or its use during the Biden administration see here:
- Congressional resolution would block EEOC rule made at the end of the Trump administration (2021)
- Congressional resolution would reverse Trump-era methane rule to restore standards set by Obama administration (2021)
- Congressional resolution would reverse Trump-era rule about how banking laws apply to certain loans (2021)
- Easter deadline to use Congressional Review Act to repeal end-of-term Trump administration regulatory activity (2021)
- Administrative state
Link to remarks from the president while signing the bills: