Congress and the Courts Close Their Eyes: The Continuing Abdication of the Duty to Review Agencies’ Noncompliance with the Congressional Review Act
The Congressional Review Act (CRA) requires federal agencies promulgating rules to submit several items to Congress and the Comptroller General before the rule takes effect, including a copy of the rule, a concise statement explaining whether it is a “major” rule under the statute, the proposed effective date of the rule, and any required regulatory analyses. Despite this clear mandate, government reports indicate widespread agency disregard of the CRA’s reporting requirements. This Article explores two major factors—the absence of congressional oversight of CRA compliance and limitations on judicial authority to enforce the CRA’s requirements—that explain why agencies are able to continue ignoring their responsibilities under the CRA, and posits that a federal court’s reinterpretation of the CRA’s limitation on judicial review in United States v. Southern Indiana Gas & Electric Co. could spur compliance with the CRA.
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