Unlocking the Potential of the Congressional Review Act

Matthew Stephenson Eli Goldston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School
Jody Freeman Archibald Cox Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

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The Congressional Review Act (CRA) permits Congress to overturn rules issued by federal agencies with a simple majority in each chamber. Traditionally, the CRA has been used as a negative tool, to cancel regulations adopted during the prior administration, including the 14 Obama-era rules Congress overturned during the first four months of the Trump administration. A new ACS Issue Brief by Professors Jody Freeman and Matthew Stephenson of Harvard Law School argues that the CRA’s fast-track procedures have “substantially greater unrealized potential” and could be used as an affirmative tool to advance policy priorities without being subject to filibuster. In light of unprecedented congressional obstructionism, Freeman and Stephenson argue that exploring this nontraditional use of the CRA is “essential to the health of our democracy” and to returning Congress to its job of legislating.

Read the Issue Brief here.