15 CRAs: Draining The Regulatory Swamp

Continuing The ‘Most Ambitious Regulatory Rollback Since Reagan,’ Congress Scraps Another Bureaucratic Rule

FIFTEEN: Overturning A Rule That Could Have Meant Higher Credit Card Rates And ‘A Bonanza For Trial Lawyers’

SEN. MIKE CRAPO (R-ID), Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman: “[T]he entire purpose of this rule is to promote class action litigation and to stop arbitration resolution when there is a dispute…. The CFPB failed to demonstrate that consumers will fare better in light of its arbitration rule. In fact, they may be worse off.” (Sen. Crapo, Congressional Record, S. 6740-6742, 10/24/2017)

KEITH NOREIKA, Acting U.S. Comptroller of the Currency: “In September, OCC economists completed their review of the CFPB’s analysis. Their review found the data actually show an 88 percent chance of the total cost of credit increasing, and the expected increase is almost 3.5 percentage points. That means a consumer, living week to week, could see credit card rates jump from an average 12.5 percent to nearly 16 percent. The CFPB failed to disclose that observed effect that was apparent in its data.” (Keith Noreika, Op-Ed, “Senate Should Vacate The Harmful Consumer Banking Arbitration Rule,” The Hill, 10/13/2017)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: “[A]ccording to a new Treasury analysis of the CFPB’s 2015 study, the rule would hurt consumers and the economy. Consider: Only 13% of class actions that the CFPB studied resulted in a recovery for members. In the average case, plaintiffs received $32 while attorneys hauled in more than $1 million. The average arbitration award was $5,389. Businesses typically also covered all arbitration costs for consumers.  One reason the typical payout in class actions was so meager is that payments to members wasn’t automatic in 60% of settlements. Members usually had to file claims to obtain awards, and only in about 4% of cases did they do so. The primary beneficiaries of the rule are attorneys who reeled in 31% of consumer payouts.” (Editorial, “Richard Cordray’s Bad Numbers,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/22/2017)


EARLIER THIS YEAR: Congress Makes ‘Dramatic Use Of The Congressional Review Act’ To Reduce Regulatory Burden

“President Donald Trump’s inauguration gave congressional Republicans a once-in-a-generation opportunity to erase a spate of late Obama-era regulations — and they used it to make a significant dent …never before have lawmakers made such dramatic use of the Congressional Review Act, which allows lawmakers and the White House to kill recently enacted regulations…” (“GOP Onslaught On Obama’s ‘Midnight Rules’ Comes To An End,” Politico, 5/7/2017)

“The Congressional Review Act … represents the most consequential legislative action of President Trump’s first 100 days, an easily overlooked but significant accomplishment, a step toward keeping Trump’s and the congressional GOP’s promises to reduce regulations from Washington. …In the closing months of the Obama administration, federal agencies enacted a slew of red tape before the new cabinet secretaries arrived.” (“Congressional Review Action!” National Review, 5/3/2017)

“Trump … campaigned for president on a promise to reduce government regulation on businesses. Since taking office, Trump has largely followed through, either withdrawing or delaying more than 800 proposed regulations in just his first five months, according to the Associated Press.” (“Trump Plans A Pivot To Deregulation, Pushing Roll Back Of Obama-Era Red-Tape,” CNBC, 9/30/2017)

  • “[T]he president seems to be pushing a minor revolution of sorts, as he repeals all sorts of rules that once impeded the economy. And he's not done yet. The Competitive Enterprise Institute claimed ‘Trump ends fiscal year as America's least-regulatory president since Reagan.’ It's no exaggeration. As the CEI has noted, Trump froze regulations early in his term and argued that up to 70% of regulations were simply unnecessary. He set a tone, and he's lived up to it. Consider this: The Federal Register, the bible of federal rules, peaked at record high 97,110 pages under President Obama in 2016. Today, under President Trump, it stands at 45,678 pages.” (Editorial, “Lots Of Presidents Talked About Getting Rid Of Bad Regulations — Trump Is Actually Doing It,” Investor’s Business Daily, 10/02/2017)

ONE: ‘Ending A Key Obama Administration Coal Mining Rule’ That Would Have Put ‘Between 112,757 And 280,809’ Total Jobs At Risk

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Throughout my career in the Senate, I’ve worked hard to defend coal communities and the jobs that they, and so many across the country, depend upon. These men and women have dedicated their lives to providing an affordable and reliable power source for our homes, businesses, and communities. They deserve our respect and our support.” (Sen. McConnell, Floor Remarks, 3/28/2017)

“President Trump on Thursday signed legislation ending a key Obama administration coal mining rule.” (“Trump Signs Bill Undoing Obama Coal Mining Rule,” The Hill, 2/16/17)

  • “Senators voted 54-45 Thursday to kill an Obama administration coal mining rule, giving President Trump his first chance to formally take off the books an environmental rule from the previous administration. The Congressional Review Act (CRA) challenge passed by the Senate undoes the Interior Department’s … regulation…” (“Senate Votes To Block Obama Coal Rule,” The Hill, 2/2/17)

“The Obama Administration … [issued] a punitive 11th-hour regulation on coal. Issued by the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), the rule takes effect Jan. 19 as a classic example of the job-killing rules that Mr. Trump has vowed to overturn.” (Editorial, “Coal In Trump’s Stocking,” Wall Street Journal, 12/20/16)

STUDY: “Total number of jobs at risk of loss, including mining and linked sector employment is between 112,757 and 280,809 (30 to 75 percent of current employment levels).” (“Economic Impacts Of The Office Of Surface Mining’s Proposed Stream Protection Rule (SPR),” Ramboll Environ, 2016)

TWO, THREE: ‘Taking A Hammer To A Pair Of Obama-Era Education Rules,’ Described As ‘Unusually Aggressive And Far-Reaching’

SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN): “The issue before us was whether the United States Congress writes the laws or whether the Department of Education writes the laws. Under Article I of our Constitution, the United States Congress writes the law, and in at least seven cases this Education Department regulation directly violated the Every Student Succeeds Act law passed just 15 months ago. And in at least 16 other cases, the regulation did something that the Congress did not authorize it to do.” (Sen. Alexander, Press Release, 3/09/2017)

“President Trump rolled back more Obama-era regulations Monday, signing … bills that reverse rules on education…” (“Trump Signs Four Bills To Roll Back Obama-Era Regulations,” USA Today, 3/27/2017)

“The Senate is taking a hammer to a pair of Obama-era education rules…. Republicans are using the Congressional Review Act to nix the Obama regulations … The House has already voted to eliminate both of the education regulations, meaning the bills will now head to the desk of President Trump, who is expected to sign them.” (“Senate GOP Votes To Nix Obama-Era Education Rules,” The Hill, 3/09/2017)

FOUR: Repealed The Obama Administration’s Blacklisting Rule, Which Would Have Created ‘A Host Of Unintended Negative Consequences For Stakeholders In The Federal Contracting Marketplace, Such As Taxpayers, Federal Contractors, Their Employees And The Federal Acquisition Workforce’

ASSOCIATED BUILDERS & CONTRACTORS: “The Obama administration’s ‘blacklisting’ rule—no matter how well-intentioned—creates a host of unintended negative consequences for stakeholders in the federal contracting marketplace, such as taxpayers, federal contractors, their employees and the federal acquisition workforce.” (Associated Builders And Contractors, Inc., Letter To U.S. Senators, 2/2/17)

“President Trump repealed the so-called ‘blacklisting rule’ Monday…” (“Trump Repeals 'Blacklisting Rule,'” The Hill, 3/27/2017)

“The Senate voted Monday to repeal another last-minute regulation President Obama imposed before leaving office in January, one that would have required companies to report labor law violations or allegations while bidding for federal contracts.” (“Senate Repeals Another Obama 'Moonlight' Reg,” Washington Examiner, 3/6/17)

Agency’s own estimates indicate this rule would affect more than 24,000 contractors, add over 2 million hours in new annual paperwork burdens, and impose $454 million in first year implementation costs and $260 million in subsequent years.

  • FEDERAL REGISTER: “Table 3 – Summary of … estimated cost to the public of reporting burden: Number of respondents: 24,183 … Total hours: 2,166,815.” (81 Fed. Reg. 58637, Table 3)
  • FEDERAL REGISTER: “Table 10a – Summary of Total Costs to the Public: … Total Initial Public Costs: $454,644,083; Table 10b – Summary of Total Costs to the Public: … Total Annual Subsequent Public Costs: $260,041,262.” (81 Fed. Reg. 58637, Table 10)

FIVE: Congress Passes Bill To ‘Scale Back Federal Control On Lands Managed By The Bureau Of Land Management’

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): “The Obama administration’s Planning 2.0 rule makes sweeping changes to how BLM develops resource management plans, shifts decision-making authority away from the impacted states to Washington, DC, and disregards BLM’s multiple-use mission. If left intact, it will harm grazing, timber, energy and mineral development, and recreation on our public lands…. By rescinding this rule, we can return power and decision-making authority to those who actually live near BLM lands in western states.” (Sen. Murkowski, Press Release, 1/30/2017)

“With the stroke of his pen, [President] Trump will … scale back federal control on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management… Critics of the rule -- known at ‘Planning 2.0’ -- said the rules would minimize local input in land management and stymie public comment, while giving the federal government more authority on what to do with the space.” (‘Trump Tries To Make Good On Promises To Roll Back Obama-Era Regulations,” CNN, 3/28/2017)

“The US Senate has overturned an Obama Administration rule that put power of land management on Capitol Hill, and took it out of the hands of local powers. The BLM Planning 2.0 Rule implemented sweeping changes to how the BLM resource management plans.” (“BLM Planning 2.0 Rule Overturned,” KGWN-TV Cheyenne, 3/07/2017)

SIX: Congress ‘Reverses A Rule Intended To Help Google And Amazon’ At The Expense Of Consumers

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ): “The FCC’s midnight regulation has the potential to limit consumer choice, stifle innovation, and jeopardize data security by destabilizing the internet ecosystem. Passing my resolution is the first step toward restoring a consumer-friendly approach to internet privacy regulation that empowers consumers to make informed choices on if and how their data can be shared. It will not change or lessen existing consumer privacy protections.” (Sen. Flake, Press Release, 3/23/2017)

“President Trump signed legislation Monday night … rolling back a landmark policy from the Obama era and enabling Internet providers to compete with Google and Facebook in the online ad market.” (“Trump Has Signed Repeal Of FCC's Internet Privacy Rule,” LA Times, 4/4/2017)

“The Phony Internet Privacy Panic: The GOP reverses a rule intended to help Google and Amazon, not you.” (Editorial, “The Phony Internet Privacy Panic,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/21/2017)

  • “The FCC … promulgated a rule that, curiously, did not apply to companies like Google or Amazon, whose business model includes monetizing massive data collection—what panda videos you watch or which gardening tools you buy. The rule was designed to give an edge to Twitter and friends in online advertising, a field already dominated by Silicon Valley.” (Editorial, “The Phony Internet Privacy Panic,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/21/2017)

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai & Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen: “The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission are committed to protecting the online privacy of American consumers. We believe that the best way to do that is through a comprehensive and consistent framework. After all, Americans care about the overall privacy of their information when they use the Internet, and they shouldn’t have to be lawyers or engineers to figure out if their information is protected differently depending on which part of the Internet holds it. That’s why we disagreed with the FCC’s unilateral decision in 2015 to strip the FTC of its authority over broadband providers’ privacy and data security practices, removing an effective cop from the beat. The FTC has a long track record of protecting consumers’ privacy and security throughout the Internet ecosystem. It did not serve consumers’ interests to abandon this longstanding, bipartisan, successful approach.” (FCC & FTC Press Release, 3/1/2017)

SEVEN: ‘Bill Nixing Obama-Era Guns Rule’ Which ‘Unnecessarily And Unreasonably Deprives Individuals With Disabilities Of A Constitutional Right’ Passes

“Trump signs bill nixing Obama-era guns rule: … Who opposed the rule? Interestingly, the rule had opponents across a wide spectrum. Both the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union spoke out against it.” (“Trump Signs Bill Nixing Obama-Era Guns Rule,” CNN, 2/28/17)

“Critics argue the rule stripped Second Amendment rights from people who are not dangerously mentally ill, such as those with eating or sleeping disorders or disabilities that prevent them from managing their own finances.” (“Senate Nixes Obama-Era Gun Rule,” The Hill, 2/15/17)

NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY: “Because of the importance of the constitutional right at stake and the very real stigma that this rule legitimizes, NCD recommends that Congress consider utilizing the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal this rule.” (National Council On Disability, Letter To Majority Leader McConnell & Speaker Ryan, 1/24/17)

  • “NCD submitted comments to SSA on the proposed rule on June 30th, 2016. In our comments, we cautioned against implementation of the proposed rule because: [t]here is, simply put, no nexus between the inability to manage money and the ability to safely and responsibly own, possess or use a firearm. This arbitrary linkage not only unnecessarily and unreasonably deprives individuals with disabilities of a constitutional right, it increases the stigma for those who, due to their disabilities, may need a representative payee[.]” (National Council On Disability, Letter To Majority Leader McConnell & Speaker Ryan, 1/24/17)

EIGHT: Republican Congress ‘Sends SEC Disclosure Rule To The Dust Bin’ That Could Have Cost American Businesses Up To $590 Million Annually

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “We all want to increase transparency, but we should not raise costs on American businesses only to benefit their international competition. Let’s send the SEC back to the drawing board to promote transparency without the high costs or negative impacts on American businesses.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 2/2/17)

“…Donald Trump signed legislation Tuesday that repealed a Dodd-Frank Act energy regulation under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).” (“Trump Signs Repeal Of Obama Era Energy Regulation,” The Daily Caller, 2/14/17)

“Senate sends SEC disclosure rule to the dust bin: The Senate Friday gave its thumbs up to a resolution to nullify a SEC rule…” (“Senate Sends SEC Disclosure Rule To The Dust Bin,” Politico, 2/3/17)

SEC On The Cost Of The Rule: “Quantitative Estimates of Compliance Costs … Annual ongoing compliance costs… Total costs: Lower bound - $94,528,370; Average: $267,061,300; Upper bound: $590,699,900.” (Security And Exchange Commission, “17 CFR Parts 240 and 249b,” Pg.192)

NINE: Repealing An Obama-Era Rule To ‘Allow Companies To Focus On Employee Safety Instead Of Paperwork’

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): “The Obama administration routinely used executive authority to disregard judicial oversite. This Joint Resolution will ensure that our government faithfully follows the letter and spirit of the law.” (Sen. Cassidy, Press Release, 3/22/2017)

  • SEN. CASSIDY (R-LA): “This regulatory scheme represents a backwards approach to workplace safety and it is a blatant overreach by the federal government.” (Sen. Cassidy, Press Release, 3/22/2017)

“The Senate recently voted to nullify an Obama-era OSHA safety regulation – the so-called ‘Volks rule’ – which extends the time period for OSHA to cite employers for failing to report workplace injuries and illnesses….Republicans criticized the rule, claiming the Obama administration overstepped its boundaries and that repealing the law will allow companies to focus on employee safety instead of paperwork.” (“Senate Nixes Volks Rule, An Obama-Era Workplace Safety Rule,” The National Law Review, 3/28/2017)

“Senators voted 50-48 to nix the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule extending the amount of time a company can be penalized for failing to report workplace injuries and illnesses to five years.” (“Senate Nixes Obama-Era Workplace Safety Rule,” The Hill, 3/22/2017)

TEN: Congress ‘Repeals Alaskan Bear Hunting Regs’ – ‘Upheld States’ Rights, Protected Alaska’s Hunting And Fishing Traditions, And Put A Swift End To The Fish And Wildlife Service’s Wanton Effort’ To Infringe Alaskan Rights

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): “I was pleased to get a call from President Trump yesterday after he signed the disapproval resolution to overturn the rule restricting Alaska's ability to manage wildlife on federal refuge lands… By signing it, the president has upheld states’ rights, protected Alaska’s hunting and fishing traditions, and put a swift end to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s wanton effort to take greater control of nearly 77 million acres of our state.” (Sen. Murkowski, Press Release, 4/4/2017)

“Trump repeals Alaskan bear hunting regs: The Obama-era rule from the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) prohibited certain hunting tactics that target ‘predator’ animals likes bears and wolves while they are inside Alaska’s national preserves. … Trump overturned the rule Monday, handing control of the hunting regulations over to Alaska state officials who have shown an eagerness to control predator populations as a way to protect other animals such as deer.” (“Trump Repeals Alaskan Bear Hunting Regs,” The Hill, 4/3/2017)

  • “…when [Alaska] state officials wanted to extend ‘predator control’ to federal wildlife refuges, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said no. And after years of saying no, the agency late last year adopted a rule to make the denial permanent. Alaska's elected officials called that an outrage and an infringement on state rights. … Congress explicitly gave Alaska authority to manage wildlife in the Alaska Statehood Act and two more laws, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, said after voting to revoke the rule.” (“Trump Revokes Alaska Refuge Rule,” AP, 4/4/2017)

ELEVEN: Labor Department Regulation ‘Undermined The Ability Of States To Conduct Drug Testing,’ Another Example Of Executive Overreach By The Obama Administration’

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): “Under the previous administration, the Department of Labor undermined the ability of states to conduct drug testing in their programs as permitted by Congress… This rule was yet another example of executive overreach by the Obama administration, and I commend President Trump for signing this resolution into law.” (“Trump Signs Cruz-Brady Bill To Expand Drug Testing Of Unemployment Benefit Applicants,” Dallas News, 3/31/2017)

“President Donald Trump on Friday signed legislation backed by two Texas Republicans that will allow states to expand the pool of applicants for unemployment benefits who can be drug tested.” (“Trump Signs Cruz-Brady Bill To Expand Drug Testing Of Unemployment Benefit Applicants,” Dallas News, 3/31/2017)

  • “Lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Congress have complained that under President Barack Obama, the government placed too many limits on states for deciding which unemployment applicants can be drug-tested. The Labor Department's regulation meant that states could only test applicants for unemployment benefits who do jobs that require drug testing. The resolution passed by the House and approved by the Senate 51-48 on Tuesday would cancel those limits.” (“Trump Is Expected To Sign Off On Expanding Drug Tests For The Unemployed,” Fortune, 3/14/2017)

TWELVE & THIRTEEN: Protecting The Retirement Nest Eggs Of Hard-Working Americans

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT): “These regulations encourage state and municipal governments to impose conflicting and burdensome mandates on private-sector businesses and to bar private workers’ access to their retirement accounts. … Places like New York City shouldn’t just get a pass on investing potentially billions of dollars in private worker retirement assets without regard to federal rules requiring prudent investment practices—rules designed to protect retirement nest eggs of hard-working Americans.” (Sen. Hatch, Press Release, 3/29/2017)

“The Senate has moved to kill Obama-era retirement rules governing so-called auto-IRAs for states and cities… The resolutions introduced by Sen. Hatch, S.J. Res. 32 and S.J. Res. 33, seek to overturn the state and city rules, respectively.” (“Senate Moves To Kill DOL's State, City Auto-IRA Rules,” Investment News, 3/6/2017)

  • “The Senate nixed an Obama-era regulation Wednesday that made it easier for states to create retirement plans for some workers. Senators voted 50-49 on the House-passed resolution, rolling back a rule meant to encourage states to create retirement plans for private-sector workers who do not have access to an employer-based retirement plan. … The Obama-era rule, implemented in October 2016, would exempt the state-created plans from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, a law that outlines rules for workplace savings.” (“Senate Nixes Obama-Era Retirement Rule,” The Hill, 5/3/2017)

FOURTEEN: Overturned A Rule That ‘Forced States To Provide Family Planning Grants Under Title X To Planned Parenthood’

SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): “I’m grateful to have … ensure[d] that states are not forced to provide entities like Planned Parenthood - the nation’s single largest provider of abortions - with federal Title X dollars. States are closer to, and more familiar with, their health care providers and patients, and therefore, should be able to make their own decisions about the best eligible Title X providers – whether those are hospitals, community health centers, or other types of providers.” (Sen. Ernst, Press Release, 4/13/2017)

“President Donald Trump signed a resolution Thursday that overturns former President Barack Obama’s rule that forced states to provide family planning grants under Title X to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.” (“Trump Signs Resolution Overturning Obama Planned Parenthood State Funding Mandate,” Breitbart, 4/13/2017)


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