Congressional Review Act

Roll Call ran an interesting article today on the Congressional Review Act (CRA) and its possible use beyond the CRA's normal 60-legislative-day limit. Recall that the CRA allows Congress to veto an agency's rule before the rule goes into effect, provided that Congress acts to veto it before the end of 60 legislative days.

The article notes, however, that many agencies failed to properly notify Congress of their rules. This lack of notification has the effect of arguably extending the time Congress has to act to veto a regulation. The 60-day limit doesn't start to run until notification is provided to Congress. If this theory works, it would allow Congress to undo any rule where Congress failed to receive notice, no matter how long the regulation has been on the books.

The article also mentions that some want to use the CRA to overrule agency guidance. But, as Richard J. Pierce, a law professor specializing in regulations at George Washington University notes in the article, "It’s a stupid idea.” He notes that “All you have to do is spend one hour with pen and paper, saying, ‘Guidance document 34 is stupid. It’s dead.’” Using the CRA to undo guidance is a little like swatting a fly with a hand grenade.

It's an interesting article and theory. Only time will tell if Congress finds utility in using the CRA beyond the normal 60 days. You can read the full Roll Call article here.