The 115th Congress has been busy repealing, if not replacing.
An analysis by the Pew Research Center that looked at every piece of legislation that received final approval from Congress found this Congress tied for fifth most productive in the past 30 years. Between Inauguration Day and Labor Day, they will have passed 46 of what Pew considers “substantive” laws — that is, any law that isn’t about renaming a building, giving an award, or any other ceremonial piece of legislation.
But of those 46 laws, 14 were simply overturning Obama-era rules, using a little-known law call the Congressional Review Act.
The 1996 law gives this Congress a shortcut to overturn any rules submitted after mid-June of 2016. Before now, the Act had only been used once — on an “ergonomics” rule to combat repetitive stress injuries in the workplace, signed by Bill Clinton and undone by George W. Bush.
This Republican-led Congress, however, has shown no qualms about using the act to chip away at Barack Obama’s legacy. While Congress hasn’t been able to repeal and replace Obamacare, which Republicans have been promising for the seven years since it was passed, they have gotten rid of regulations around mountaintop removal for coal mining, a rule that kept internet service providers from using selling customers data to advertisers without their permission, and a Securities and Exchange Commission regulation that requires corporations to disclose payments to foreign governments.
Oh, and you can also hunt bears from airplanes in Alaska again, thanks to Congress’ use of the Congressional Review Act.
Besides repealing rules, the current Congress passed 32 other laws, including a funding bill that keeps the government running through September; a bill that slaps new sanctions on Iran, Russia, and North Korea; and a bill aimed at improving the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s weather forecasting.