Though President Trump is unlikely to ding ObamaCare before the 100-day mark this Saturday, he and GOP lawmakers have been able to chip away at Barack Obama’s legacy in other ways — by making unprecedented use of an obscure rule-killing law.
Under the Congressional Review Act, Republicans wiped out a wave of last-minute regulations pushed through before Trump took office. The result: the Obama administration’s final days were treated like a dry-erase board.
The Trump White House and its allies are now touting the legislative victories in the run-up to Saturday — 13 times, Trump joined with the Republican-controlled Congress to undo rules issued under his predecessor.
“You see that this president has done a lot in 100 days,” counselor Kellyanne Conway told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday, specifically citing these cases. “Twelve or 13 roll-backs of Congressional Review Acts … We are going to keep plowing ahead.”
The Congressional Review Act was first passed in 1996 as part of then-Speaker Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.” Before CRAs, if one house of Congress voted to overturn a regulation, it became invalidated. However, in 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the process unconstitutional and CRAs emerged as a quick way for Congress to overturn recent rules.
The CRA now gives Congress 60 legislative days to review new regulations.
Prior to the Trump White House, the CRA had been used only once to overturn a rule. In that case, President George W. Bush overturned an Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule that addressed ergonomic injuries in the workplace.
Republicans still have until early May to eliminate Obama-era rules finalized after June and only need simple majorities in both houses to do it.
The CRA so far has been used to nix everything from a rule that would have required oil and gas companies to report payments to foreign governments to a gun safety regulation Obama proposed following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. That rule was meant to prevent thousands with mental disorders from purchasing a gun, though the NRA said it went too far. The rule was pushed after Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Conn.
The aggressive use of the CRA by the Trump administration gives the White House and Republicans several small-scale legislative victories to…