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House Legislation Passed to Kill Agency Rules En Masse


The Congressional Review Act lets legislators overturn a federal agency rule, one by one, within 60 days. A bill going to the Senate would allow them to do it, with a single vote, to a group of rules.

In a round of last minute legislative jousting, the House passed a bill that would amend what is known as the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress the ability to overturn a rule designated by an agency, such as the EPA, within 60 days of the rule's creation.

The amended law would allow the bundling together of rules created in the final months of Obama's presidency and the elimination of them all in one vote. But if passed by the Senate, the President has vowed to veto it if it reaches his desk in time.

The vote for what is known as the Midnight Rule Relief Act was approved largely along the party lines of the Republican-controlled House according to The Hill.

The National Association of Home Builders supported the bill along with another passed the next day, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017. If this becomes law, all federal agency rules with an economic impact of $100 million or more a year would have to be approved by Congress.

"NAHB commends the House for moving quickly to address regulatory burdens facing home building firms and other small businesses," says NAHB Chairman Ed Brady. "Home building is one of the most regulated industries in America. Indeed, government regulations account for nearly 25 percent of the cost of a new single-family home."

One opponent of the legislation is the American Sustainable Business Council, which bills itself as an advocacy group that supports public policies they believe help build a sustainable economy.

CEO and co-founder, David Levine, in a letter to House representatives, spoke directly of concerns that the bill would lessen the burden of proof on powerful corporations for environmental, health and safety issues, and increase the burden on smaller players.

"Blocking, weakening or delaying critical standards and safeguards will only worsen the uneven economic playing field that leaves many small- and medium-sized businesses at a competitive disadvantage," he states.

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February 15, 2019, 2:10 pm PST

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