It's the most important under-covered story of the early weeks of the Administration. While President Trump pops off tweets and executive orders, the Republican House has been quietly overturning significant elements of Obama's late presidency.
The 1996 Congressional Review Act (CRA) allows the new Congress and President to overturn agency rules issued after early June 2016. The House GOP has been furiously — or rather, gleefully — employing it. And there's more to come.
Here are the regulations that the Republican House has gutted so far:
- The Department of Interior's (DOI) Stream Buffer Rule — "a regulation intended to protect surface water from mining operations."
- The Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) disclosure rule for resource extraction
- The Social Security Administration NICS rule for firearm purchases by people who have a designated payee for their social security benefits.
- A federal contracts rule that targets businesses accused of violating labor laws.
- The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) methane venting and flaring rule.
- The Bureau of Land Management Planning 2.0 rule
- Two education CRAs: The Department of Education's teacher preparation and accountability rules.
This week the House will vote on five more (bringing the total to 13):
- H.J.Res. 42: "Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to drug testing of unemployment compensation applicants"
- H.J.Res. 66: "Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to savings arrangements established by States for non-governmental employees"
- H.J.Res. 67: "Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to savings arrangements established by qualified State political subdivisions for non-governmental employees."
- H.J.Res. 69: "Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the Department of the Interior relating to 'Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska'."
- H.J.Res. 43: "Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule submitted by Secretary of Health and Human Services relating to compliance with title X requirements by project recipients in selecting subrecipients."
The big one: The most controversial CRA this week will be the last on the list above — H.J. Res. 43 — which overturns an Obama rule that prevents states from barring funds to the abortion-provider Planned Parenthood.
What's next: Watch for the Trump administration to begin signing CRA legislation this week.