Where are the Congressional Review Act Disapprovals?

March 25, 2021

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The stars are aligned for Democrats to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to disapprove federal agency regulations from the end of the Trump administration. But will they? With an April 4 deadline looming, members of Congress are running out of time to get the process started with the introduction of a resolution to disapprove a rule.

Several reasons have been offered to explain why no resolutions have been introduced yet. One common hypothesis is that this legislative tool is something Republicans use to overturn Democratic presidents’ rules, and not vice versa. Our new empirical research shows that Democrats, like Republicans, have introduced resolutions of disapproval under the CRA since it was enacted into law in 1996. The idea that Democrats do not use the CRA is incorrect and therefore does not help explain our current moment. We have to consider other explanations.

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