Obscure Act, Used Only Once, Could Undo Obama Rules

House Republicans voted to repeal 2 regulations
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 2, 2017 8:08 AM CST
Obscure Act, Used Only Once, Could Undo Obama Rules
House Speaker Paul Ryan, joined by Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday following a GOP strategy session.   (J. Scott Applewhite)

Moving to dismantle Barack Obama's legacy on the environment and other issues, House Republicans approved a measure 228-194 Wednesday that scuttles a regulation aimed at preventing coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams. Lawmakers also voted 235-187 to rescind a separate rule requiring companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments relating to mining and drilling, the AP reports. Republicans said the votes were the first in a series of actions to reverse years of what they see as excessive government regulation under Obama. The financial disclosure rule, which grew out of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial oversight law, was intended to promote transparency so citizens in some of the world's most impoverished countries can hold their governments accountable for the wealth generated through mining and drilling.

GOPers said that regulation unfairly burdened US companies by making them hand over key details of how they bid and compete while many foreign competitors don't have to. Republicans voted for repeal using the obscure Congressional Review Act, which hastens the process for bringing legislation and allows, in this administration, for regulations imposed since June 13, 2016, to be invalidated on a simple majority vote of both GOP-led chambers and the president's signature. The law also prevents the executive branch from imposing substantially similar regulations in the future. Congress has successfully used the 2-decade-old review act only once before—when President George W. Bush signed a law negating a rule on ergonomic standards enacted during President Bill Clinton's final months in office. (More House Republicans stories.)

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