1. News & Issues
Congressional Review Act
Public Law PL 104-121

This is the text of the Congressional Review Act, a part of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, also called the Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996. The Congressional Review Act allows Congress to review every new federal regulation issued by the government agencies and, by passage of a joint resolution, overrule a regulation.

Read about the federal regulatory rulemaking process

Subtitle E--Congressional Review

 

SEC. 251. CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW OF AGENCY RULEMAKING.

    Title 5, United States Code, is amended by inserting immediately after chapter 7 the following new chapter:

CHAPTER 8--CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW OF AGENCY RULEMAKING

      `Sec.
      `801. Congressional review.
      `802. Congressional disapproval procedure.
      `803. Special rule on statutory, regulatory, and judicial deadlines.
      `804. Definitions.
      `805. Judicial review.
      `806. Applicability; severability.
      `807. Exemption for monetary policy.
      `808. Effective date of certain rules.

`Sec. 801. Congressional review

    `(a)(1)(A) Before a rule can take effect, the Federal agency promulgating such rule shall submit to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General a report containing--
      `(i) a copy of the rule;
      `(ii) a concise general statement relating to the rule, including whether it is a major rule; and
      `(iii) the proposed effective date of the rule.
    `(B) On the date of the submission of the report under subparagraph (A), the Federal agency promulgating the rule shall submit to the Comptroller General and make available to each House of Congress--
      `(i) a complete copy of the cost-benefit analysis of the rule, if any;
      `(ii) the agency's actions relevant to sections 603, 604, 605, 607, and 609;
      `(iii) the agency's actions relevant to sections 202, 203, 204, and 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995; and
      `(iv) any other relevant information or requirements under any other Act and any relevant Executive orders.
    `(C) Upon receipt of a report submitted under subparagraph (A), each House shall provide copies of the report to the chairman and ranking member of each standing committee with jurisdiction under the rules of the House of Representatives or the Senate to report a bill to amend the provision of law under which the rule is issued.

    `(2)(A) The Comptroller General shall provide a report on each major rule to the committees of jurisdiction in each House of the Congress by the end of 15 calendar days after the submission or publication date as provided in section 802(b)(2). The report of the Comptroller General shall include an assessment of the agency's compliance with procedural steps required by paragraph (1)(B).

    `(B) Federal agencies shall cooperate with the Comptroller General by providing information relevant to the Comptroller General's report under subparagraph (A).

    `(3) A major rule relating to a report submitted under paragraph (1) shall take effect on the latest of--

      `(A) the later of the date occurring 60 days after the date on which--
        `(i) the Congress receives the report submitted under paragraph (1); or
        `(ii) the rule is published in the Federal Register, if so published;
      `(B) if the Congress passes a joint resolution of disapproval described in section 802 relating to the rule, and the President signs a veto of such resolution, the earlier date--
        `(i) on which either House of Congress votes and fails to override the veto of the President; or
        `(ii) occurring 30 session days after the date on which the Congress received the veto and objections of the President; or
      `(C) the date the rule would have otherwise taken effect, if not for this section (unless a joint resolution of disapproval under section 802 is enacted).
    `(4) Except for a major rule, a rule shall take effect as otherwise provided by law after submission to Congress under paragraph (1).

    `(5) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), the effective date of a rule shall not be delayed by operation of this chapter beyond the date on which either House of Congress votes to reject a joint resolution of disapproval under section 802.

    `(b)(1) A rule shall not take effect (or continue), if the Congress enacts a joint resolution of disapproval, described under section 802, of the rule.

    `(2) A rule that does not take effect (or does not continue) under paragraph (1) may not be reissued in substantially the same form, and a new rule that is substantially the same as such a rule may not be issued, unless the reissued or new rule is specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of the joint resolution disapproving the original rule.

    `(c)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section (except subject to paragraph (3)), a rule that would not take effect by reason of subsection (a)(3) may take effect, if the President makes a determination under paragraph (2) and submits written notice of such determination to the Congress.

    `(2) Paragraph (1) applies to a determination made by the President by Executive order that the rule should take effect because such rule is--

      `(A) necessary because of an imminent threat to health or safety or other emergency;
      `(B) necessary for the enforcement of criminal laws;
      `(C) necessary for national security; or
      `(D) issued pursuant to any statute implementing an international trade agreement.
    `(3) An exercise by the President of the authority under this subsection shall have no effect on the procedures under section 802 or the effect of a joint resolution of disapproval under this section.

    `(d)(1) In addition to the opportunity for review otherwise provided under this chapter, in the case of any rule for which a report was submitted in accordance with subsection (a)(1)(A) during the period beginning on the date occurring--

      `(A) in the case of the Senate, 60 session days, or
      `(B) in the case of the House of Representatives, 60 legislative days,
    before the date the Congress adjourns a session of Congress through the date on which the same or succeeding Congress first convenes its next session, section 802 shall apply to such rule in the succeeding session of Congress.

    `(2)(A) In applying section 802 for purposes of such additional review, a rule described under paragraph (1) shall be treated as though--

      `(i) such rule were published in the Federal Register (as a rule that shall take effect) on--
        `(I) in the case of the Senate, the 15th session day, or
        `(II) in the case of the House of Representatives, the 15th legislative day,
      after the succeeding session of Congress first convenes; and
      `(ii) a report on such rule were submitted to Congress under subsection (a)(1) on such date.
    `(B) Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to affect the requirement under subsection (a)(1) that a report shall be submitted to Congress before a rule can take effect.

    `(3) A rule described under paragraph (1) shall take effect as otherwise provided by law (including other subsections of this section).

    `(e)(1) For purposes of this subsection, section 802 shall also apply to any major rule promulgated between March 1, 1996, and the date of the enactment of this chapter.

    `(2) In applying section 802 for purposes of Congressional review, a rule described under paragraph (1) shall be treated as though--

      `(A) such rule were published in the Federal Register on the date of enactment of this chapter; and
      `(B) a report on such rule were submitted to Congress under subsection (a)(1) on such date.
    `(3) The effectiveness of a rule described under paragraph (1) shall be as otherwise provided by law, unless the rule is made of no force or effect under section 802.

    `(f) Any rule that takes effect and later is made of no force or effect by enactment of a joint resolution under section 802 shall be treated as though such rule had never taken effect.

    `(g) If the Congress does not enact a joint resolution of disapproval under section 802 respecting a rule, no court or agency may infer any intent of the Congress from any action or inaction of the Congress with regard to such rule, related statute, or joint resolution of disapproval.

`Sec. 802. Congressional disapproval procedure

    `(a) For purposes of this section, the term `joint resolution' means only a joint resolution introduced in the period beginning on the date on which the report referred to in section 801(a)(1)(A) is received by Congress and ending 60 days thereafter (excluding days either House of Congress is adjourned for more than 3 days during a session of Congress), the matter after the resolving clause of which is as follows: `That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the XX relating to XX, and such rule shall have no force or effect.' (The blank spaces being appropriately filled in).

    `(b)(1) A joint resolution described in subsection (a) shall be referred to the committees in each House of Congress with jurisdiction.

    `(2) For purposes of this section, the term `submission or publication date' means the later of the date on which--

      `(A) the Congress receives the report submitted under section 801(a)(1); or
      `(B) the rule is published in the Federal Register, if so published.
    `(c) In the Senate, if the committee to which is referred a joint resolution described in subsection (a) has not reported such joint resolution (or an identical joint resolution) at the end of 20 calendar days after the submission or publication date defined under subsection (b)(2), such committee may be discharged from further consideration of such joint resolution upon a petition supported in writing by 30 Members of the Senate, and such joint resolution shall be placed on the calendar.

    `(d)(1) In the Senate, when the committee to which a joint resolution is referred has reported, or when a committee is discharged (under subsection (c)) from further consideration of a joint resolution described in subsection (a), it is at any time thereafter in order (even though a previous motion to the same effect has been disagreed to) for a motion to proceed to the consideration of the joint resolution, and all points of order against the joint resolution (and against consideration of the joint resolution) are waived. The motion is not subject to amendment, or to a motion to postpone, or to a motion to proceed to the consideration of other business. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to shall not be in order. If a motion to proceed to the consideration of the joint resolution is agreed to, the joint resolution shall remain the unfinished business of the Senate until disposed of.

    `(2) In the Senate, debate on the joint resolution, and on all debatable motions and appeals in connection therewith, shall be limited to not more than 10 hours, which shall be divided equally between those favoring and those opposing the joint resolution. A motion further to limit debate is in order and not debatable. An amendment to, or a motion to postpone, or a motion to proceed to the consideration of other business, or a motion to recommit the joint resolution is not in order.

    `(3) In the Senate, immediately following the conclusion of the debate on a joint resolution described in subsection (a), and a single quorum call at the conclusion of the debate if requested in accordance with the rules of the Senate, the vote on final passage of the joint resolution shall occur.

    `(4) Appeals from the decisions of the Chair relating to the application of the rules of the Senate to the procedure relating to a joint resolution described in subsection (a) shall be decided without debate.

    `(e) In the Senate the procedure specified in subsection (c) or (d) shall not apply to the consideration of a joint resolution respecting a rule--

      `(1) after the expiration of the 60 session days beginning with the applicable submission or publication date, or
      `(2) if the report under section 801(a)(1)(A) was submitted during the period referred to in section 801(d)(1), after the expiration of the 60 session days beginning on the 15th session day after the succeeding session of Congress first convenes.
    `(f) If, before the passage by one House of a joint resolution of that House described in subsection (a), that House receives from the other House a joint resolution described in subsection (a), then the following procedures shall apply:
      `(1) The joint resolution of the other House shall not be referred to a committee.
      `(2) With respect to a joint resolution described in subsection (a) of the House receiving the joint resolution--
        `(A) the procedure in that House shall be the same as if no joint resolution had been received from the other House; but
        `(B) the vote on final passage shall be on the joint resolution of the other House.
    `(g) This section is enacted by Congress--
      `(1) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, and as such it is deemed a part of the rules of each House, respectively, but applicable only with respect to the procedure to be followed in that House in the case of a joint resolution described in subsection (a), and it supersedes other rules only to the extent that it is inconsistent with such rules; and
      `(2) with full recognition of the constitutional right of either House to change the rules (so far as relating to the procedure of that House) at any time, in the same manner, and to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of that House.

`Sec. 803. Special rule on statutory, regulatory, and judicial deadlines

    `(a) In the case of any deadline for, relating to, or involving any rule which does not take effect (or the effectiveness of which is terminated) because of enactment of a joint resolution under section 802, that deadline is extended until the date 1 year after the date of enactment of the joint resolution. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to affect a deadline merely by reason of the postponement of a rule's effective date under section 801(a).

    `(b) The term `deadline' means any date certain for fulfilling any obligation or exercising any authority established by or under any Federal statute or regulation, or by or under any court order implementing any Federal statute or regulation.

`Sec. 804. Definitions

    `For purposes of this chapter--
      `(1) The term `Federal agency' means any agency as that term is defined in section 551(1).
      `(2) The term `major rule' means any rule that the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget finds has resulted in or is likely to result in--
        `(A) an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more;
        `(B) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or
        `(C) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets.
      The term does not include any rule promulgated under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the amendments made by that Act.
      `(3) The term `rule' has the meaning given such term in section 551, except that such term does not include--
        `(A) any rule of particular applicability, including a rule that approves or prescribes for the future rates, wages, prices, services, or allowances therefor, corporate or financial structures, reorganizations, mergers, or acquisitions thereof, or accounting practices or disclosures bearing on any of the foregoing;
        `(B) any rule relating to agency management or personnel; or
        `(C) any rule of agency organization, procedure, or practice that does not substantially affect the rights or obligations of non-agency parties.

`Sec. 805. Judicial review

    `No determination, finding, action, or omission under this chapter shall be subject to judicial review.

`Sec. 806. Applicability; severability

    `(a) This chapter shall apply notwithstanding any other provision of law.

    `(b) If any provision of this chapter or the application of any provision of this chapter to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances, and the remainder of this chapter, shall not be affected thereby.

`Sec. 807. Exemption for monetary policy

    `Nothing in this chapter shall apply to rules that concern monetary policy proposed or implemented by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System or the Federal Open Market Committee.

`Sec. 808. Effective date of certain rules

    `Notwithstanding section 801--
      `(1) any rule that establishes, modifies, opens, closes, or conducts a regulatory program for a commercial, recreational, or subsistence activity related to hunting, fishing, or camping, or
      `(2) any rule which an agency for good cause finds (and incorporates the finding and a brief statement of reasons therefor in the rule issued) that notice and public procedure thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest,
    shall take effect at such time as the Federal agency promulgating the rule determines.'.

 

Subscribe to the Newsletter
Name
Email

 

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.