The new Republican House majority is developing a three-pronged strategy to challenge EPA regulations, which includes: 1) a series of Congressional Review Act (CRA) votes, 2) spending cuts to prevent the implementation of regulations and 3) aggressive oversight to highlight the costs of the rules.
The CRA, which was passed in ’96 and successfully used only once, allows Congress to override federal agency rules by a simple majority vote in both chambers. The CRA has some limitations, however, which only allow challenges to rules within 60 days of their publication in the Federal Register (FR). That timeline could preclude efforts to revisit final rules like EPA's tailoring rule, which was published in the FR on June 3 and set first-time greenhouse gas (GHG) permit limits. According to the law, any regulations passed within 60 legislative days of the end of a congressional session are subject to review in the next session, meaning any rules published in the FR after July 30 could be subject to CRA resolutions. Among the rules issued late last year were regulations that would allow EPA to take over GHG permitting in Texas, which has refused to implement the tailoring rule.
Rep. Rogers, R-Ky., the new chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, plans to introduce a major rescission package that could include steep cuts in funding for EPA, which could make it difficult to fully implement targeted rules.
The strategy’s third part will be oversight for EPA regulations. Key House committee chairmen such as Agriculture’s Lucas, R-Okla., Oversight & Government Reform's Issa, R-Calif., and Energy & Commerce's Upton, R-Mich., already are lining up potential witnesses for oversight hearings to begin as soon as this month.