President Trump and congressional Republicans are having some success with one of their oft-stated goals — rolling back federal regulations approved during the Obama administration. But the clock is ticking.
The House and Senate have voted to repeal more than a dozen regulations approved in the final six months of Obama’s presidency, among them:
- The Interior Department’s stream-protection rule, which prevented mountaintop removal coal operations from dumping the rubble into stream valleys.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission’s oil anti-corruption rule, which requires energy companies to report payments made to foreign governments.
- The broadband-privacy rule, put in place by the FCC which required Internet service providers to get their subscribers’ permission before selling their data to third parties.
- A rule regarding the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges, which, among other things, barred the hunting of bears in Alaska using aircraft.
In all, 11 regulations have been overturned using The Congressional Review Act, a heretofore obscure law passed by Congress in 1996. It allows lawmakers to overturn any regulation imposed during the final six months of the previous administration, with a simple majority vote in each chamber of Congress. It had only been used once previously, to overturn an ergonomics regulation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that had been approved during the Clinton administration.
The 2016 election brought with it a perfect recipe for use of the law in the early months of the Trump administration: single-party control of both Congress and the White House, and a pro-deregulation stance following an administration that put many regulations in place.