Sens. Tom Udall and Cory Booker Introduce Legislation to Repeal Congressional Review Act

5/18/2017 11:21 AM

Democrats in U.S. Senate try to slow Republican deregulation efforts.


Democrats are striking back at the White House and U.S. Congress over their efforts to cut regulations as Republicans curb burdensome regulations that adversely affect the business community. 

U.S. Sens Tom Udall, D-Ariz., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., introduced legislation this week to repeal the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a measure that allows legislators to reverse recently finalized rules within a set timeframe based on a simple majority.

“The CRA allows Congress to quickly overturn recently issued agency rules—many of which were years or decades in the making—by bypassing Congress’s regular lawmaking process,” according to a news release from Udall’s office.

U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., and John Conyers D-Mich., introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Once a rule is reversed by the CRA, an agency can never reissue a substantially similar rule unless specifically authorized to do so under a new law.

In addition to repealing the CRA, the “Sunset the CRA and Restore American Protections (SCRAP) Act” would remove the prohibition on agencies reissuing a previously overturned rule and would give those agencies greater flexibility in reinstating such rules, according to the news release.

Members of Congress attempted to use the CRA to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) prepaid card rule but the deadline passed on May 11. U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who introduced the Senate resolution of disapproval of the rule, issued a statement before the deadline on the resolution, ACA International previously reported.

Following the deadline to stop the prepaid card rule, Bloomberg BNA reported that several former CFPB officials said the existence of the CRA could make the CFPB reconsider its rulemaking strategies going forward. The bureau’s uncertain future with its single-director leadership structure and the remainder of Director Richard Cordray’s term could also cause it to focus more on enforcement, according to the article.

“Congress’ potential use of the CRA as a weapon to undo the CFPB’s rulemakings does have a chilling effect on the agency,” former CFPB assistant director and deputy general counsel Quyen Truong said in the article.

Bloomberg BNA also reports, “Congressional Republicans could still use the CRA should the CFPB try to finalize rules still in the works aimed at payday lenders, debt collectors and mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer finance contracts. If a rule is shot down under the CRA, the agency is barred from proposing a similar rule in the future without specific approval from Congress.”

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