Summary: H.R.26 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (01/05/2017)

Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017

(Sec. 2) This bill states that its purpose is to increase accountability for and transparency in the federal regulatory process by requiring Congress to approve all new major regulations.

(Sec. 3) The bill revises provisions relating to congressional review of agency rulemaking to require federal agencies promulgating rules to: (1) identify and repeal or amend existing rules to completely offset any annual costs of new rules to the U.S. economy; and (2) publish information about the rules in the Federal Register and include in their reports to Congress and to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) a classification of the rules as major or nonmajor rules and a complete copy of the cost-benefit analysis of the rules, including an analysis of any jobs added or lost, differentiating between public and private sector jobs. A "major rule" is any rule that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget finds has resulted in or is likely to result in: (1) an annual cost on the economy of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation); (2) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, federal, state, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or (3) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

A joint resolution of approval of major rules must be enacted before such rules may take effect (currently, major rules take effect unless a joint resolution disapproving them is enacted). If a joint resolution of approval is not enacted by the end of 70 session days or legislative days, as applicable, after the agency proposing the rule submits its report on such rule to Congress, the major rule shall be deemed not to be approved and shall not take effect. The bill permits a major rule to take effect for one 90-calendar day period without such approval if the President determines it is necessary because of an imminent threat to health or safety or other emergency, for the enforcement of criminal laws, for national security, or to implement an international trade agreement.

The bill sets forth the congressional approval procedure for major rules and the congressional disapproval procedure for nonmajor rules. Agencies are prohibited from allowing a major rule to take effect without the congressional review procedures set forth in this bill.

A joint resolution addressing a report classifying a rule must be introduced as a major rule within three legislative days in the House of Representative and three session days in the Senate. The bill: (1) prohibits any amendments to such a joint resolution at any stage of the legislative process; (2) provides for expedited consideration of a joint resolution of approval; and (3) requires a vote on such resolution in the Senate within 15 session days after it is reported by the committee to which it was referred, or after such committee has been discharged from further consideration of the resolution.

A court may review whether an agency has completed the necessary requirements under this bill for a rule to take effect (currently, no judicial review of a determination, finding, action, or omission in the rulemaking process is subject to judicial review). The bill limits the effect of a joint resolution of approval of a major rule.

The bill is inapplicable 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.

Any rule promulgated by a federal agency that relates to a regulatory program for a commercial, recreational, or subsistence activity related to hunting, fishing, or camping, or any rule other than a major rule for which an agency for good cause finds that notice and public procedure thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest, shall take effect at such time as the agency determines.

Before new rules take effect, agencies must amend or repeal other rules to offset any annual costs of the new rules to the U.S. economy.

Over a 10-year period, agencies must submit reports designating for congressional review all agency rules that are in effect as of one year after enactment of this bill. If Congress does not enact a joint resolution of approval for such rules, the rules shall not continue in effect.

(Sec. 4) The Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 is amended to provide that any congressional approval procedure set forth in this bill affecting budget authority, outlays, or receipts shall be assumed to be effective unless it is not approved in accordance with this bill.

(Sec. 5) The GAO must conduct a study to determine as of the date of enactment of this bill: (1) how many rules were in effect, (2) how many major rules were in effect, and (3) the total estimated economic cost imposed by all such rules. The GAO must report to Congress on such study within one year of the enactment of this bill.