PLF’s Red Tape Rollback Project spotlights CRA’s power to prune federal regs

Pacific Legal Foundation today launched its “Red Tape Rollback Project,” a multi-dimensional drive to educate lawmakers and the public about more powerful ways to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to rein in regulatory overreach and restore constitutional accountability over regulatory agencies.  After 20 years of limited use, the CRA has been rediscovered as an effective means to overturn the worst “midnight” regulations of the Obama Administration.  But its full potential to kill even older rules and guidance documents is just now being understood.

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Headquartered online at, the project is overseen by a leading expert on the CRA, Todd Gaziano, Executive Director of PLF’s DC Center and Senior Fellow in Constitutional Law.  Gaziano helped draft the CRA when he served as chief legislative counsel to its sponsor, then-Representative David M. McIntosh of Indiana, and he has been a high-profile advocate for its energetic use.  Indeed, his suggestion that lawmakers act more aggressively to assert their CRA authority was highlighted by The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel in a January 26, 2017 column, “A Regulatory Game-Changer.”

Enacted in 1996, the CRA requires that any new rule from a federal regulatory agency be submitted to the Government Accountability Office and both houses of Congress, with a short report, before it can take effect.  Congress then has 60 legislative days to use fast-track procedures for an up-or-down vote on any rule that it wants to disapprove.  Enactment of a resolution of disapproval with the president’s signature kills the rule and prohibits an agency from adopting any “substantially similar” rule again without a new law authorizing it.


Moreover, Congress can use the CRA to disapprove any existing rules, going back to 1996, that were not previously reported to the House and Senate as required by the CRA.

The act defines a “rule” broadly to include both formal notice-and-comment regulations and informal agency statements regarding governing laws.

Congress has just used the CRA to reject two last-minute Obama regs — and hundreds of job-killing rules could potentially be cancelled

In the wake of The Wall Street Journal reporting on Todd Gaziano’s promotion of the CRA as a “game-changer,” the new Congress has already used the statute to reject two regulations issued by the Obama Administration in its waning months.  This is more regulations than were voted down in the prior 20 years of the law’s existence, and Congress is considering resolutions to kill 10 more abusive rules.  But the law’s possible impact goes far beyond that:  As explained on, hundreds of job-killing rules could potentially be repealed using the CRA.  A platform for CRA education — and engagement

PLF’s site will serve as the nation’s definitive online platform for education about the CRA, along with offering opportunities for public engagement and activism.  The site includes the full text of the law; its legislative history; comprehensive information on how it can be used more effectively; resources for media; and a developing list of federal regulations — both recent and longstanding — that are vulnerable to congressional rejection under the CRA.

As the project goes forward, one key goal is to identify hundreds of existing regulations, going back to 1996, that bureaucrats illegally implemented without submitting them to Congress as required by the CRA.  To that end, the website features an opportunity for visitors to “FIND UNREPORTED REGULATIONS,” with instructions on identifying regulations not listed in the GAO’s database of rules that were submitted to Congress.

“PLF’s Red Tape Rollback Project could not come at a more important time,” said Gaziano.  “Its purpose is to raise awareness of how the CRA can be used by elected officials — and how the public can assist them — to roll back excessive federal regulations.  President Trump says he wants to get the economy moving, and he knows this will require a dramatic reduction in federal regulations.  Aggressive use of the CRA will be essential to achieving that goal.”

More on PLF’s Red Tape Rollback Project may be found at:  The project may also be reached by visiting PLF’s main website:


About Pacific Legal Foundation

Pacific Legal Foundation, America’s most powerful ally for justice, litigates in courts nationwide for limited government, property rights, individual liberty, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations.

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Anthony van Leeuwen

I agree, Congress should approve all regulations, after they are published in the Federal Register for public comment and finalized by the originating agencies.

William Hicks

Without the CRA regulations are on auto-pilot. Democrats love that way of regulating/legislating because they don’t have to answer to their constituencies for foolish, unconstitutional land grabs and redistribution of wealth through crony capitalism schemes.

All regulations should be subject to congressional review, “AND APPROVAL,” before they are enforced. Without that approval it comes down to the Bart Simpson excuse……”I didn’t do it, you didn’t see me and you can’t prove it.”