Congressional Review Act FAQs
What is the purpose of the Congressional Review Act (CRA)?
The CRA allows Congress to review "major" rules issued by federal agencies before the rules take effect. Congress may also disapprove new rules, resulting in the rules having no force or effect. 5 U.S.C. § 802(a).
What does the CRA require agencies to do?
The CRA requires an agency promulgating a rule to submit the rule to Congress and GAO before it can take effect. The agency's submission should include (1) a copy of the rule; (2) a concise general statement relating to the rule, including whether it is a major rule; and (3) the proposed effective date of the rule. 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(A). Agency submissions also generally include cost-benefit, Paperwork Reduction Act, and Administrative Procedure Act analyses.
What is a "major" rule?
The CRA defines a major rule as one that has resulted in or is likely to result in (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; (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, or innovation, or on the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets. 5 U.S.C. § 804(2).
What is GAO's role regarding major rules?
The CRA requires GAO to report to Congress on whether an agency, in promulgating a major rule, has complied with the regulatory process. GAO does not analyze or comment on the substance or quality of rulemaking. GAO's report must be made to each house of Congress no later than 15 calendar days after a rule's submission or publication date. 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(2)(A).
What is GAO's role regarding "nonmajor" rules?
Although agencies must submit nonmajor rules to both Congress and GAO, GAO is not required to submit a report to Congress on an agency's compliance with procedural requirements governing the rulemaking process. Use our Search Federal Rules function for information on all federal rules, major and nonmajor, that agencies have submitted to GAO.
Should agencies submit proposed rules to GAO?
No. Agencies should only submit major, nonmajor, and interim final rules to GAO.
How should agencies submit rules to GAO?
Rules may be submitted by fax or, preferably, by mail or e-mail. Submissions should include a completed Submission of Federal Rules form.
Mail: U.S. Government Accountability Office;
441 G. Street NW; Washington, DC 20548
Fax: (202) 512-7703
Does GAO confirm receipt of submissions?
Confirmation is sent to agencies for rules received by fax or e-mail.
Please contact FedRules@gao.gov with questions about your submission.
What congressional actions have been taken under the CRA?
Under the CRA, Congress can pass a joint resolution of disapproval relating to a rule. 5 U.S.C. §§ 801(a)(3)(B), 802. Since 1996, 43 resolutions have been introduced in the Senate or House of Representatives and two of those resolutions have passed one house of Congress. Only one rule, the Department of Labor rule on ergonomics (65 Fed. Reg. 68,262), has been disapproved by Congress (see Public Law 107-5).
What is the role of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the CRA?
OMB reviews rules to ensure that regulations are consistent with applicable law, the President's priorities, and the principles set forth in Executive Order No. 12, 866, and that decisions made by one agency do not conflict with the policies or actions taken or planned by another agency. OMB's Administrator of Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs determines whether a rule is classified as major.