Congressional Review Act
This Act requires GAO to report on major rules that federal agencies make, including summaries of the procedural steps taken by the agencies. We have a searchable database of major and non-major rules.
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 resolutions of disapproval have occurred 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. The following is a list of resolutions of disapproval that have been enacted since 1996 (when the CRA itself was enacted):
- On April 13, 2017, a Department of Labor Rule on Savings Arrangements Established by Qualified State Political Subdivisions for Non-Governmental Employees (81 Fed. Reg. 92,639 (December 20, 2016)) was overturned (see Pub. L. No. 115-24 (April 13, 2017)).
- On April 13, 2017, a Health and Human Services Rule on Compliance With Title X Requirements by Project Recipients in Selecting Subrecipients (81 Fed. Reg. 91,852 (December 19, 2016)) was overturned (see Pub. L. No. 115-23 (April 13, 2017)).
- On April 3, 2017, a Federal Communications Commission rule on Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services (81 Fed. Reg. 87,274 (December 2, 2016)) was overturned (see Pub. L. No. 115-22 (April 3, 2017)).
- On April 3, 2017, a Department of Labor rule on Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness (81 Fed. Reg. 91,792 (December 19, 2016)) was overturned (see Pub. L. No. 115-21 (April 3, 2017)).
- On April 3, 2017, a Department of Interior rule on Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska (81 Fed. Reg. 52,247 (August 5, 2016)) was overturned (see Pub. L. No. 115-20 (April 3, 2017)).
- On March 31, 2017, a Department of Labor rule on drug testing of unemployment compensation applicants (81 Fed. Reg. 50,298 (Aug. 1, 2016)) was overturned (see Pub. L. No. 115-17 (March 31, 2017)).
- On March 27, 2017, a Department of Education rule on Teacher Preparation Issues (81 Fed. Reg. 75,494 (Oct. 31, 2016)) was overturned (see Pub. L. No. 115-14 (March 27, 2017)).
- On March 27, 2017, a Department of Education rule on Accountability and State Plans under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as Amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act— (81 Fed. Reg. 86,076 (Nov. 29, 2016)) was overturned (see Pub. L. No. 115-13 (March 27, 2017)).
- On March 27, 2017, a Department of Interior rule on Resource Management Planning (81 Fed. Reg. 89,580 (Dec. 12, 2016)) was overturned (see Pub. L. No. 115-12 (March 27, 2017)).
- On March 27, 2017, a Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR); Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (81 Fed. Reg. 58,562 (Aug. 25, 2016)) was overturned (see Pub. L. No. 115-11 (March 27, 2017)).
- On February 28, 2017, a Social Security Administration rule on Implementation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Improvement Amendments Act of 2007. (81 Fed. Reg. 91,702 (Dec. 19, 2016)) was overturned (see Pub. L. No. 115-8 (Feb. 28, 2017)).
- On February 16, 2017, a Department of Interior rule on stream protection (81 Fed. Reg. 93,066 (Dec. 20, 2016)) was overturned (see Pub. L. No. 115-5 (Feb. 16, 2017)).
- On February 14, 2017, a Securities and Exchange Commission rule on the disclosure of payments by resource extraction issuers (81 Fed. Reg. 49,359 (Mar. 27, 2016)) was overturned (see Pub. L. No. 115-4 (Feb. 14, 2017)).
- On March 20, 2001, a Department of Labor rule on the ergonomics program (65 Fed. Reg. 68,262 (Nov. 14, 2000)) was overturned (see Pub. L. No. 107-5 (Mar. 20, 2001)).
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.