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CRL Lauds Bill To Repeal Congressional Review Act and Restore Protections

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Melissa Stegman

Using the CRA, Congress and White House have Erased Fourteen Regulatory Protections This Year

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) commended Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI), and Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) for introducing the Sunset the CRA and Restore American Protections (SCRAP) Act, a bill to repeal the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The CRA is a fast-track legislative tool that Congress can use to quickly eliminate the previous presidential administration's regulations, which were years or decades in the making and the result of extensive public input. The CRA also forbids federal agencies from reissuing these rules "in substantially the same form" without express authorization from Congress.

The CRA's expedited process sidesteps normal congressional procedure and is subject to abuse. CRA resolutions can bypass congressional committees, only require a simple majority vote to approve, are not subject to the filibuster, and often result from expensive corporate lobbying. This year, the Trump Administration and Congressional Republican Leaders have used the CRA to erase fourteen rules, including protections for consumers, workers, investors, and public health. Prior to this Congress, the CRA had been used only once in 20 years.

"The CRA has been used by narrow corporate interests to steamroll over the public interest. The CRA allows politicians to summarily dismiss regulatory protections that were thoughtfully crafted through a long rulemaking process and consideration of a wide range of public opinions," said CRL Senior Policy Counsel Melissa Stegman. "Because of the reckless CRA, the commonsense, widely-supported Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule to protect prepaid card users survived just by the skin of its teeth. CRL commends Senators Booker and Udall, and Congressmen Cicilline and Conyers for standing up for consumers and the public interest by introducing the SCRAP Act. Their bill should become law."

In addition to repealing the CRA, the SCRAP Act would remove the prohibition on agencies reissuing a previously rescinded rule and allow agencies within a one-year timeframe to reinstate previously rescinded rules by republishing the rule rather than by repeating the notice-and-comment rulemaking procedure.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a CRL spokesperson on this issue, please contact Matthew Kravitz at matthew.kravitz@responsiblelending.org or 202-349-1859.