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Congressional Review Act Tracker 2021

Democrats in Congress have introduced resolutions intended to repeal six Trump-era rollbacks using the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The below tracker lists each rule targeted for congressional disapproval and accompanying information.

This page will be continually updated with developments on each CRA effort. Details on each are listed below the tracker.

NOTE: The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards has not formally endorsed the use of the CRA or any particular CRA challenge.

Rule Agency House Resolution Senate Resolution Sponsor(s)Status
Methane Emissions Standards EPAH.J. Res. 34S.J. Res. 14Rep. DeGette (D-CO), Sen. Heinrich (D-NM) Passed Senate 52-42 on 4/28/21
SUNSET Retrospective Review HHSH.J. Res. 37---Rep. Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) Introduced 3/29/21
Conciliation Procedures EEOC H.J. Res. 33S.J. Res. 13Rep. Scott (D-VA), Sen. Murray (D-WA)Introduced 3/23/21
True Lender Rule Treasury-OCCH.J. Res. 35S.J. Res. 15Rep. Garcia (D-IL), Sen. Van Hollen (D-MD)Introduced 3/25/21
Shareholder Resolutions Rule 14-8aSEC H.J. Res. 36S.J. Res. 16Del. San Nicolas (D-GU), Sen Brown (D-OH)Introduced 3/25/21
Administrative Appeals Judge Procedures SSAH.J. Res. 38---Rep. Larsen (D-CT)Introduced 4/1/21

 

TREASURY OCC TRUE LENDER RULE

Senate Resolution | House Resolution | Rule

The True Lender rule (a.k.a the fake lender or rent-a-bank rule) allows predatory lending institutions to bounce between states in order to avoid tough consumer protection laws.

  • Reuters Exclusive: U.S. Democratic lawmakers will introduce resolution to undo OCC’s true lender rule (3/25/21)
  • Law 360 With ‘True Lender’ Repeal, Dems May Bag Their 1st CRA Win (4/16/21) *Paywall* “’It’s just a singularly awful rule that has no redeeming qualities,’ Saunders told Law360. ‘It eviscerates 200 years’ worth of authority to prevent usury evasions. It is emboldening horrific predatory lending by payday lenders through rent-a-bank schemes, and there’s no good reason to keep it.’”
  • NCLC Nearly 140 Scholars Call for Congressional Repeal of “True Lender” Rule. “OCC Rule Usurps Role States Have Had Since Founding of the Nation in Protecting Families from Usurious Lending”
  • NCLC Bipartisan Group of 25 State Attorneys General Urge Congress to Repeal OCC “True Lender” Rule (4/21/21) “In a rare form of bipartisan agreement, a group of 25 Attorneys General (AGs) sent a letter today to Congressional leadership urging it to “use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to rescind the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC’s) “True Lender” rule in order to “safeguard states’ fundamental sovereign rights to protect their citizens from financial abuse.”
  • Morning Consult, Congress Must Overturn OCC’s ‘Fake Lender’ Rule: Payday Lenders Benefit, Consumers Lose (4/22/21) “If Congress doesn’t act soon to repeal a rule by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the floodgates will be open for predatory lending in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.”
  • Politico, ‘Outrageous’: Bank regulator lobbies for Trump-era rule, angering Democrats (4/22/21) “A career federal official overseeing one of Washington’s most powerful bank regulatory agencies is quietly lobbying Congress to preserve a Trump-era rule that critics say is predatory, triggering a forceful rebuke from the Democratic chair of the Senate Banking Committee.”
  • Charlestown Mail-Gazette, Gazette-Mail editorial: WV delegation should repeal bad lending rule (4/26/21) “ Protecting West Virginians from financial ruin through such lending practices is one of the things this state does very well. Why would anyone, other than some unscrupulous lenders, want to change that? West Virginia’s entire congressional delegation should support repealing the true lender rule.”
  • The American Prospect, Will Democrats Rally to Prevent Predatory Lending? (4/28/21) “One high-profile resolution gets a Senate hearing today, and this will go a long way to determining whether it will get time for a floor vote. Millions of consumer loan borrowers should take note, because whether they will have to pay regulated or outrageously high interest rates will hang in the balance.”
  • The Hill, Senate Democrats take aim at ‘true lender’ interest rate rule (4/28/21) “Senate Democrats are ramping up pressure on a federal bank regulator to scrap a Trump-era rule they say allows lenders to evade state interest rate limits and bilk vulnerable consumers.”
  • Anchorage Daily News, Opinion: Alaska’s senators must stop the ‘fake lender’ loophole (5/2/21)
  • WSJ, Yellen to Appoint Senior Fed Official to Run Top Bank Regulator (5/3/21) “A string of acting directors has run the OCC over the past year. Democrats in recent weeks have stepped up calls for the Biden administration to tap its own acting official after Mr. Paulson defended a Trump-era regulation Democrats are considering rescinding, known as the “true lender” rule, through a legislative tool known as the Congressional Review Act.”

Expert contacts: Lauren Saunders, NCLC (lsaunders@nclc.org); Bart Naylor, Public Citizen (bnaylor@citizen.org); Rachel Gittleman, Consumer Federation of America (rgittleman@consumerfed.org)

 

EEOC CONCILIATION PROCEDURES

Senate Resolution | House Resolution | Rule

The EEOC conciliation rule makes it more difficult for employees to succeed on a credible discrimination claim against an employer. The rule also includes a number of business-friendly process changes, including a requirement that the EEOC disclose vital case information to employers but not to aggrieved employees.

Expert contacts: Maya Raghu, NWLC (MRaghu@nwlc.org); Gaylynn Burroughs, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (burroughs@civilrights.org); Laura Flegal, NELA (lflegal@nelahq.org)

 

SEC SHAREHOLDER RESOLUTIONS 14-8a RULE

Senate Resolution |House Resolution | Rule

The 14-8a rule makes it much more difficult for small groups of corporate shareholders to introduce resolutions pushing executives to pursue improvements in corporate governance, sustainability and workforce issues.

  • Cleveland.com Sen. Sherrod Brown wants to use ‘Congressional Review Act’ to overturn Trump-era financial rules (3/29/21) “Under the regulation Brown is fighting, shareholders who introduce resolutions at corporate meetings must own a larger share of company stock for a longer time period than was previously needed.”
  • Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), Investors and Consumer Groups Urge Members of Congress to Overturn Trump-Era SEC Rule Changes (4/22/21) “A group of nearly 200 organizations comprising pension funds, asset managers, foundations, labor unions, religious organizations and consumer groups today announced a letter they sent to all members of Congress urging support for invoking the Congressional Review Act (CRA) as a means to overturn SEC rule amendments set in motion during the Trump administration.”
  • Responsible Investor, Shareholder resolutions in the US: Congressional Review Act to the rescue! (4/23/21) “The CRA could allow Biden’s administration to axe some Trump-era regulations. As well as anti-environment rules, the new US president has his eye on those making it harder to file shareholder resolutions”

Expert contacts: Rachel Curley, Public Citizen (rcurley@citizen.org); Brandon Rees, AFL-CIO (brees@aflcio.org); Bryan McGannon, USSIF (BMcGannon@ussif.org); Sanford Lewis, Shareholder Rights Group (sanfordlewis@strategiccounsel.net); Barb Roper, Consumer Federation of America (bnroper@comcast.net)

 

HHS SUNSET RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW

House Resolution | Rule

The HHS SUNSET rule is designed to purge thousands of existing health and public safety regulations by instituting a process known as mandatory retrospective review. Retrospective review is a favored tool of anti-regulatory advocates for slowing down agency action and undoing rules that pose a threat to corporate profits. The SUNSET rule sets automatic expiration dates for existing regulations unless HHS staff can review and justify the rules on a very short timeline.

  • The Hill  House Democrats target HHS ‘sunset’ rule with Congressional Review Act (3/30/21)
  • Rep. Krishnamoorthi statement. “If it’s allowed to come into effect, the Trump Administration’s SUNSET rule would force public health officials to divert time, funding, and attention from the current crisis in order to prevent essential public health protections from unnecessarily expiring,”
  • The Regulatory ReviewHealth Regulation’s Ticking Time Bomb (4/27/21)

Expert Contacts: Sam Crane, Autistic Self Advocacy Network (scrane@autisticadvocacy.org); Dania Douglas, NHELP (douglas@healthlaw.org); Matt Kent, Public Citizen (mkent@citizen.org)

 

SSA APPEALS JUDGES

House Resolution | Rule

The Trump-era rule substitutes agency attorneys for independent administrative law judges in deciding disability determinations. The rule also limits the grounds that beneficiaries may use to pursue a hearing to appeal a disability determination.  Taken together, the process changes increase the likelihood of delay and wrongful denial of benefits for individuals who depend on Social Security as their primary source of income.

  • Rep. Larsen statement
  • Ballotpedia News Congressional resolution would reverse Trump-era rule specifying when Social Security administrative appeals judges would decide cases (4/14/21)
  • 20+ House Democrats join SSA appeals judge CRA resolution (4/28/21)

Expert Contact:Nancy Altman, Social Security Works (naltman@socialsecurityworks.org); Judge Melissa McIntosh, Association of Administrative Law Judges (judgemelissamcintosh@gmail.com)

 

EPA METHANE EMISSIONS

Senate Resolution | House Resolution | Rule

The Trump era methane emissions standards were extremely weak. Methane emissions are a major contributor to climate change. A successful CRA would return the EPA to Obama era standards.

  • NYT  Senate Democrats plan to employ an obscure legislative tool to reinstate an Obama-era climate change rule (3/24/21) “Democrats argue that the move, which will be sponsored by Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, will have the legal effect of immediately reinstating the Obama methane rules. That would be a far more rapid timetable than the yearslong regulatory process typically required to undo or reinstate regulations”
  • Sen. Heinrich statement
  • E&E News Shell, BP back Democrats’ bid to restore methane rules (4/13/21). “Three top oil and gas companies are throwing their support behind Democrats’ push to restore an Obama-era rule on oil and gas methane emissions”
  • Bloomberg Schumer Pushes Plan to Ax Trump Methane Rule With Lawmaker Tool (4/13/21) .” The Senate will consider, as soon as next week, whether to kill a Trump administration methane-emissions rule, in what would be the first time this Congress that the full upper chamber deliberates using its power to overturn regulations.”
  • Argus Oil executives push carbon fee idea in US Senate (4/13/21) “Other oil companies are working on legislative efforts in support of climate-focused regulations. BP, Shell, Norway’s Equinor and Total over the last two weeks have said they support lawmakers using a fast-track mechanism called the Congressional Review Act to “disapprove” a rule imposed under former president Donald Trump that rolled back direct methane regulations.”
  • Pittsburgh Business Times Equitrans joins call to return methane limits to oil and gas industry (4/16/21) *Paywall*
  • The Hill Collins joins Democrats in bid to undo Trump methane emissions rollback (4/20/21)
  • The Hill  Senate to vote next week on repealing Trump methane rule (4/22/21)
  • Houston Chronicle, Shell president: Bring back 2016 methane regulations with a joint resolution of Congress (4/22/21)
  • EIN, Attorney General James Urges Congress to Void Trump-Era Rule Eliminating Key Limits on Dangerous Pollutants (4/26/21) “New York Attorney General Letitia James, leading a coalition of 21 attorneys general and the cities of Denver and Chicago, today urged Congress to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to invalidate a Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation that eliminates key limits on pollutants from oil and gas facilities that contribute to climate change and smog.”
  • E&E News, White House urges lawmakers to scrap Trump methane rollback (4/28/21)
  • NYT, Senate to Reinstate Obama-Era Controls on Climate-Warming Methane (4/28/21)
  • NPR, Senate Votes To Restore Regulations On Climate-Warming Methane Emissions (4/28/21) “The U.S. Senate has taken a step toward more vigorously regulating climate-warming methane leaks from the oil and gas industry, a move supporters say is key to achieving President Biden’s ambitious climate goals.”

Expert contact: David Doniger, NRDC (ddoniger@nrdc.org); Jessica Ennis, Earthjustice (jennis@earthjustice.org)

EPA METHANE EMISSIONS

Senate Resolution | House Resolution | Rule

The Trump era methane emissions standards were extremely weak. Methane emissions are a major contributor to climate change. A successful CRA would return the EPA to Obama era standards.

  • NYT  Senate Democrats plan to employ an obscure legislative tool to reinstate an Obama-era climate change rule (3/24/21) “Democrats argue that the move, which will be sponsored by Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, will have the legal effect of immediately reinstating the Obama methane rules. That would be a far more rapid timetable than the yearslong regulatory process typically required to undo or reinstate regulations”
  • Sen. Heinrich statement
  • E&E News Shell, BP back Democrats’ bid to restore methane rules (4/13/21). “Three top oil and gas companies are throwing their support behind Democrats’ push to restore an Obama-era rule on oil and gas methane emissions”
  • Bloomberg Schumer Pushes Plan to Ax Trump Methane Rule With Lawmaker Tool (4/13/21) .” The Senate will consider, as soon as next week, whether to kill a Trump administration methane-emissions rule, in what would be the first time this Congress that the full upper chamber deliberates using its power to overturn regulations.”
  • Argus Oil executives push carbon fee idea in US Senate (4/13/21) “Other oil companies are working on legislative efforts in support of climate-focused regulations. BP, Shell, Norway’s Equinor and Total over the last two weeks have said they support lawmakers using a fast-track mechanism called the Congressional Review Act to “disapprove” a rule imposed under former president Donald Trump that rolled back direct methane regulations.”
  • Pittsburgh Business Times Equitrans joins call to return methane limits to oil and gas industry (4/16/21) *Paywall*
  • The Hill Collins joins Democrats in bid to undo Trump methane emissions rollback (4/20/21)
  • The Hill  Senate to vote next week on repealing Trump methane rule (4/22/21)
  • Houston Chronicle, Shell president: Bring back 2016 methane regulations with a joint resolution of Congress (4/22/21)
  • EIN, Attorney General James Urges Congress to Void Trump-Era Rule Eliminating Key Limits on Dangerous Pollutants (4/26/21) “New York Attorney General Letitia James, leading a coalition of 21 attorneys general and the cities of Denver and Chicago, today urged Congress to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to invalidate a Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation that eliminates key limits on pollutants from oil and gas facilities that contribute to climate change and smog.”
  • E&E News, White House urges lawmakers to scrap Trump methane rollback (4/28/21)
  • NYT, Senate to Reinstate Obama-Era Controls on Climate-Warming Methane (4/28/21)
  • NPR, Senate Votes To Restore Regulations On Climate-Warming Methane Emissions (4/28/21) “The U.S. Senate has taken a step toward more vigorously regulating climate-warming methane leaks from the oil and gas industry, a move supporters say is key to achieving President Biden’s ambitious climate goals.”

Expert contact: David Doniger, NRDC (ddoniger@nrdc.org); Jessica Ennis, Earthjustice (jennis@earthjustice.org)