Congressional Democrats Face Uphill Battle To Overturn Last Minute Trump Rulemakings

Congressional Democrats are looking to the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn several last-minute rules finalized by the Trump Administration during the second half of 2020.

The CRA empowers Congress to conduct an expedited review of new federal regulations issued by government agencies and overturn any they disapprove by joint resolution.

Once a rule is repealed, the CRA prohibits reissuing of the rule in substantially the same form or the issuing of a new rule that is substantially similar.

Democrats have a window of time lasting 60 legislative days (days Congress is actually in session) to overturn a rule by simple majority vote.

Whether the CRA will be an effective tool for the Democrats to roll back some Trump administration rules depends on the outcome of the two Senate runoff races in Georgia.

If Republicans hold on to the two Georgia Senate seats, they will maintain a slim majority.

If Republicans lose both seats, there will be a 50-50 tie requiring Democrats to pick off moderate Republican votes to overturn rules they do not support.

The best hope for Democrats to flip a Republican vote would be to persuade Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Mitt Romney (R-UT) or Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to join with them.

While these Senators have been known to join forces with the Democrats on major issues on occasion, it is less likely they will do so over an administrative rulemaking.

As a result, the CRA is unlikely to be an effective tool for Democrats to overturn Trump era rules.

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