Chipping away at the regulatory state's power grabs

  • 18 April 2019
  • NormanL

One area where the Trump administration has made great strides is reducing the amount of costly federal regulations. But that does not mean the sea of red tape is in full retreat. As the Competitive Enterprise Institute notes, the regulations are still coming...and some of them are absolutely ridiculous.  

There is, however, some hope on the horizon regarding a cure for a particularly nasty strain of regulations:

The Trump administration will take action Thursday to crack down on federal agencies’ ability to issue rules, memos and other documents that can have a binding regulatory effect without ever being reviewed by Congress.

Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought is issuing new guidance to all agencies on complying with the Congressional Review Act, a 1996 law that requires “major” rules be submitted to Congress at least 60 days before they take effect.

A senior administration official told The Washington Times that the Trump administration has found, with Government Accountability Office reports, that “agencies sometimes under-comply with CRA.”

“We decided that some additional guidance from OMB is necessary to the agencies to help them comply with the law,” the official said in an exclusive interview. “Many agencies often don’t know how the CRA works. Agencies often don’t even know to ask.”

While the administration isn’t characterizing the move as a broadening of the CRA, the official said the action “will result in additional items being sent to the Hill.”

This is good news, because it closes a loophole agencies have been exploiting for some time:

The GAO reported in 2008 and 2009 that federal agencies had failed to submit more than 1,000 rules to Congress.

There are, no doubt, hundreds more rules that evaded oversight. The sooner that shady practice is brought to a halt, the better.