Twenty years ago Newt Gingrich created an obscure, yet powerful, legislative weapon that comes to life very rarely… but the political stars are now aligned!
Newt Gingrich and allies pushing the self-styled Contract with America created an obscure but potent legislative weapon to help Republicans combat what they deemed to be out-of-control regulatory overreach in Washington.
But like some kind of mystical, regulation-slaying sword, this tool comes to life only when the political stars align in just the right way, with single-party control on Capitol Hill and the White House, at just the right time.
The Boston Globe reports,
Donald Trump, when he rolls down Pennsylvania Avenue at his inauguration, will usher in that time.
Republicans are readying an onslaught under what’s known asthe Congressional Review Act to cast aside a raft ofObama administration edicts, including rules designed to make it harder for US corporations to avoid taxes; environmental rules aimed at curbing earth-warming emissions; and sweeping changes to overtime regulations that were set to guarantee extra pay for an estimated 4 million Americans.
Congress put Gingrich’s creation to work just once before, in 2001, to dispatch a workplace safety rule governing ergonomics, issued in the waning months of the Clinton administration.
This time Republicans are thinking much, much bigger.
“We plan to robustly use the Congressional Review Act to reverse the midnight regulations of Barack Obama,” said Wyoming Republican John Barrasso, who is a leader of the Senate effort. “His legacy lost. The American people said ‘No, we don’t want that. We want to change direction.’ ”
While Barrasso and other Republicans say the tool allows them to rescind “last minute” regulations pushed by the Obama administration, the Byzantine way that time is defined in the act means they will most likely be able to take aim at regulations put in place as far back as late May.
Gingrich, now a close Trump adviser, is thrilled his creation will get some use.
“We’ve gone through a period where unelected bureaucrats have arrogated a level of dictatorial power that can ruin lives, close companies, and totally disrupt local governments with no recourse,” Gingrich said in a brief interview. “And to reassert the elected officials is, I think, a good thing.”
The Congressional Review Act in some ways encapsulates the absurdities of Washington. The law provides a fast-track process for lawmakers to overturn agency rules they dislike, rules that often took years for the executive branch agencies to write, review, and approve. Under terms of the act, each chamber passes a “resolution of disapproval,” the president signs it, and — poof! — the regulations exist no more.
Read more at The Boston Globe