Congress repeals last-minute Obama rules
February 10, 2017
By U.S. Congressman Raul Labrador
It’s been an amazing two weeks in Washington.
Congress has moved swiftly and boldly to repeal
overreaching last-minute rules from the Obama
Administration, reasserting its constitutional
duty to make the law and pushing back against
abuse of executive authority.
We did so by reviving the dormant Congressional
Review Act (CRA), which had been used
successfully only once since President Clinton
signed the law in 1996. The CRA requires
agencies to report rulemaking to Congress and
provides special procedures to consider
legislation to overturn those rules.
Importantly, resolutions brought under the CRA
are not subject to filibuster in the Senate.
In just two weeks, the House has voted to repeal
eight rules enacted in the final months of the
Obama Administration. The Senate has already
passed two of those and President Trump has
vowed to support our efforts and sign the repeal
One of the most disheartening experiences of my
six years in Congress has been the failure of
the legislative branch to oppose the Obama
Administration’s contempt for the law. I’m
excited that we’re finally doing our job to
restore the balance of powers, boost the economy
and listen to local and state input.
Three costly regulations were among those
rejected by the House: A “stream protection”
rule that threatened one-third of the nation’s
coal mining jobs; an oil and gas rule
hamstringing development of domestic energy; and
a Securities and Exchange Commission rule that
advantaged foreign competitors over U.S. energy
The House also moved to block two education
rules that empowered bureaucrats over parents,
teachers and school boards. And we rejected a
Social Security Administration Rule that would
have deprived people of their 2nd Amendment
rights without due process.
For Idaho, the most important rule headed for
repeal is the Bureau of Land Management’s
“Planning 2.0 Rule.”
At a hearing in July, I pressed a top
administration official to be responsive to
widespread objections from states and counties
and consider rewriting the rule governing
resource management planning on BLM land. Gov.
Butch Otter was among those asking for a reset.
But the Administration was more concerned about
forcing through the rule at the 11th hour than
actually improving the planning process.
The 2.0 rule made a profound shift, devaluing
local and state input and moving decision making
to high-level BLM bureaucrats in Washington.
The BLM is the West’s biggest landlord, managing
250 million acres including 12 million in Idaho.
Idaho ranchers hold nearly 2,000 grazing permits
and run 1.3 million cow-calf pairs on BLM
allotments. Oil and gas exploration, mining,
recreation and other uses abound and the
economic health of rural communities depends on
sound management of these public resources.
The new rule abandoned any notion that those
closest to the ground should have influence in
federal land management. Consultation with those
who live and work on the land makes for better
long-term management that benefits both the
landscape and our rural communities. We need
more of it, not less.
Our work in the last two weeks is just the
beginning of our effort to clear away
bureaucratic impediments that hurt our economy.
Much remains to be done to remove unnecessary
regulations that raise the cost of doing
business, eliminate jobs and threaten
I’m pleased to report we’re off to a great
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