Legal experts are arguing that Congress can use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overrule and dismantle former President Obama’s regulations going back to 2009, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Until now GOP congressional leaders had believed the CRA could only be used against new regulations – those finalized in the past 60 legislative days, Kimberly Strassel wrote in a column for the Journal.
Strassel, a member of the Journal's editorial board, noted that Todd Gaziano, a senior fellow in constitutional law at the Pacific Legal Foundation, touched off the debate over the CRA. Gaziano is the former counsel to then-Republican Rep. David McIntosh, who sponsored the CRA.
"No one knows the law better," Strassel wrote.
She said Gaziano told Republicans on Wednesday that the CRA grants them far greater powers, including the ability to overrule regulations even back to the start of the Obama administration.
"The CRA also would allow the GOP to dismantle these regulations quickly, and to ensure those rules can’t come back, even under a future Democratic president," she said.
The CRA requires federal agencies to submit reports with regulation changes.
"There was always intended to be consequences if agencies didn’t deliver these reports," Gaziano told Strassel. "And while some Obama agencies may have been better at sending reports, others, through incompetence or spite, likely didn't."
Any of those without reports can be tossed out, he said.
"If they haven't reported it to Congress, it can now be challenged," said Paul Larkin, a senior legal research fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
Strassel admitted the plan to dismantle Obama’s regulatory legacy would take "intestinal fortitude."
"Some Republicans briefed on the plan are already fretting that Democrats will howl," she wrote. "They will. But the law is the law, and failing to use its full power would be utterly irresponsible."
And Axios reported other Republicans "are going wild" over the possibilities.
It noted conservative Republican staffs and think tanks "are starting to dig into the legality of this."
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