The Obama administration enacted a lot of federal rules and regulations that Republicans didn’t like. But it will be difficult for the GOP to repeal many of those rules without scrapping the filibuster in the Senate, as Republicans lack the 60-vote majority necessary to overcome Democratic obstruction.
With regard to President Obama’s most recent regulations, however, Republicans have a workaround: the Congressional Review Act.
That little-used law allows Congress to repeal any regulations — that were issued within the final 60 legislative days of the previous session — by a simple majority vote.
Now, “legislative days” are very different from calendar days, as USA Today explains:
Congress has taken so much time off for elections and political conventions this year that the House has been in session less than 50 days from May 17 through Tuesday. Lawmakers are scheduled to work, at most, 14 more days this year before they adjourn.
The earlier Congress adjourns, the farther back in time lawmakers can go to target the 2016 rules they don’t like. Some regulations that were finalized in May, including the overtime pay rule, may be left intact if Congress waits all the way until its scheduled Dec. 16 end-date to adjourn.
Next year, Republicans will have 45 legislative days to repeal the 180 regulations that took effect between May 17 and last week. The party is highly unlikely to tackle all of those. But Republican lawmakers do have their sights set on an EPA rule that limits greenhouse-gas emissions from commercial trucks and buses, and on a Labor Department rule that gave millions of new workers eligibility for overtime pay, according to USA Today.
In other words, President Trump will very likely begin his presidency by taking steps to actively reduce middle-class wages and accelerate the pace of climate change.