Here’s how Trump is using a special law to do away with Obama regulations

Here’s how Trump is using a special law to do away with Obama regulations
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President Trump and the Republican-led Congress are using a special rule to do away with many of President Obama’s regulations.

Since Trump entered the White House two months ago, the House has passed 14 resolutions disapproving of Obama-era regulations under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The Senate has approved 10 resolutions, and President Trump has signed three measures into law.

The CRA allows Congress to do away with regulations through an expedited legislative process that prevents the minority from using the Senate’s filibuster. The catch is that Congress only has a window of 60 legislative days in which it can reach back into 2016 to repeal a regulation through this process.

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The White House has indicated Trump intends to sign all of the measures approved by Congress with the use of the CRA. The deadline for Trump to sign these repeals is May 9.

Here’s what Trump and Congress have done so far.

The Security and Exchange Commission’s resource extraction rule issued last July requires oil companies to disclose payments of more than $100,000 made to foreign governments. 

Democrats say the rule targets corruption, but Republicans argue it puts U.S. companies at a disadvantage. President Trump signed legislation under the CRA revoking the rule on Valentine’s Day.

The Interior Department’s stream protection rule prohibits coal miners from setting up shop within 100 feet of streams, rivers, or lakes. Democrats say the rule will protect groundwater, but Republicans see it as another example Obama’s so-called “War on Coal.” This was the first disapproval resolution passed by the current Congress, but the second one that Trump signed, on Feb. 16.

The Social Security Administration’s gun regulation requires the agency to report disability beneficiaries who it believes are mentally ill to the FBI’s background check system. Gun control supporters say this will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. But the National Rifle Association says it violates the Second Amendment and the due process rights of disability beneficiaries, who may be targeted by the government even though they are not be a danger to society. Trump signed a measure repealing the rule on Feb. 28.

Congress has voted to repeal another seven regulations, five of which have been sent to the White House and are awaiting Trump’s signature.

The other two are expected to be sent to the president in the coming week. 

As with other pieces of legislation, the president has 10 days to act or the bill automatically becomes law. For some of the regulatory repeals, the 10-day window closes next week. 

The “blacklisting” rule requires federal contractors to report labor violations. It was a joint rule issued by the Defense DepartmentGeneral Services Administration and NASA. Democrats hope the rule will discourage the federal government from doing business with companies that treat their employees poorly. But Republicans say unions could use this information to “blackmail” federal contractors during labor negotiations. Congress voted to repeal the rule on March 6, but it didn’t arrive on Trump’s desk until 10 days later.

The Labor Department’s drug testing rule would apply to people seeking unemployment compensation who lost safety-sensitive jobs. The rule would allow states to deny their benefits claim if they test positive for drugs. Congress voted to overturn the rule on March 14, and sent it to the president’s desk a week later.

The Interior Department’s land use planning rule was overturned by Congress on March 7, and sent to President Trump’s desk on March 16.

The Education Department’s school accountability rule would hold states responsible for providing “every child, regardless of race, income, background, or where they live” with a “high-quality education.” Democrats say the rule protects students who live in low-income neighborhoods who might otherwise receive a poor education. But Republicans argue states should have the final decision on how to best educate their students. Congress voted to repeal the rule on March 9, and sent it to Trump’s desk on March 16.

The Education Department’s teacher preparation standards would measure the performance of educators. Congress voted to strike down the rule on March 8, and sent it to Trump on March 16.

The Interior Department’s predator control regulations would apply to national wildlife refuges in Alaska. Congress voted to overturn the rule on March 21, but has yet to send it to Trump.

The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) last December finalized new requirements for construction and manufacturing companies to maintain records of workplace-related injuries and illnesses. Congress voted to repeal the rule on March 22, but has yet to send it to Trump.

The House has passed another four disapproval resolutions under the Congressional Review Act and the Senate has passed one, which the other chamber must still vote on.

The Interior Department’s rule for methane and natural gas is intended to limit emissions. The House voted to repeal the rule on Feb. 3, but the Senate has yet to take it up.

The Labor Department issued two rules for government state retirement savings plans. The House voted to overturn those regulations on Feb. 15, but the Senate has yet to take up the legislation.

The Department of Health and Human Services last December issued new healthcare protections for women. The House voted to repeal the rule on Feb. 16, but the Senate has yet to consider the bill.

The Federal Communication Commission’s internet privacy rules would prohibit service providers from selling information about the online search histories of their customers without their permission. The Senate voted to strike down the rule on March 23, but the House has yet to take it up.

Republicans have also introduced at least 14 other disapproval resolutions under the CRA that neither chamber has voted on, which could be taken up in the near future.

To stay in the loop about the GOP's legislative efforts to repeal Obama-era regulations, follow the Congressional Review Act trackers hereherehere and here.