Professor Sidney Shapiro says Congressional Review Act allows lawmakers to block recent regulations

Photo of Professor Sidney Shapiro in court.

Sidney A. Shapiro, law professor at Wake Forest University and vice president of the Center for Progressive Reform, testifies on regulatory reform before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Sept. 16, 2015, Washington, D.C. Photo: Jay Mallin

Professor Sidney Shapiro is quoted in the following story, “Congressional Republicans May Kill Dozens of Regulations with This One Simple Trick,” by which was published on Feb. 14, 2017.

Following is an excerpt of the original story:

Republicans in Washington are planning to make good on promises to roll back federal regulations on everything from mining pollution to consumer protections for credit card holders.

To do it, they are using an obscure legislative tactic that’s been successful only once in history – a tactic has some legal scholars worried.

How it works

To kill these rules, lawmakers are passing joint resolutions allowed under a law called the Congressional Review Act. The Act allows lawmakers to block regulations that have only recently been finalized. In terms of this new Congress, it means lawmakers have about 60 legislative days to review any rule that came out after mid-June of last year.

The law was passed in the 1990s as part of the “Republican Revolution” and signed into law by Bill Clinton. Sidney Shapiro, a law professor at Wake Forest University, says the idea was to give Congress more oversight over rules created by federal agencies.

He says the law was meant to add “an important degree of democratic accountability,” but what it created was “an introduction of politics into the regulatory process.”