Republicans use new majority to take on Biden regulations

Rachel Frazin

Republicans are using their new control of the House and Democrats’ slim majority in the Senate to target Biden administration regulations governing everything from retirement savings to water policy.

While Biden has the ability to veto their resolutions of disapproval and leave his administration’s work intact, taking these votes does give the GOP an additional platform to address what they’ve described as burdens on industry and “woke” financial policy.

“We’d like to see these radical regulations get overturned,” Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) said this past week.

Republicans have long-lamented what they’ve described as regulatory overreach from Democratic administrations, and have used a tool known as the Congressional Review Act to try to overturn them.

However, using this law to try to overturn regulations requires presidential approval or a two-thirds majority in both chambers to override a presidential veto, so it is most commonly used after a change in administration to go after rules put in place shortly before an outgoing president left office.

Last week, the House and Senate voted to get rid of a Biden rule that would clarify that money managers can weigh environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when making decisions about retirement investments. The measure passed with the support of every Republican and a handful of moderate Democrats, teeing up what is likely to be the first veto of Biden’s presidency.

This past week, the House also voted to overturn Biden administration water regulations. The Senate is expected to take up the same issue next week.

“We will have it on the floor here on the following week,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) told reporters during the past week, adding that she expects it to pass the Senate.

Additional disapproval resolutions have been introduced, and lawmakers indicated that they may act upon them.

“We’ll continue to do that, to go after some of the radical regulations that Biden’s put in place that are hurting families,” Scalise said.

While it’s not clear if they’ll ultimately come to a vote, Republicans have also introduced attempts to revoke other Biden rules including those aimed at cutting air pollution from trucks and rolling back Trump-era immigration policies.

Part of the reason that Republicans are taking up the matters so soon after taking over the House are official time limits. The Congressional Review Act gives lawmakers a limited window to overturn regulations using majority votes and presidential approval.

However, attempts to undo Biden administration regulations are highly unlikely to get the president’s sign-off.

Nevertheless, Republicans say that trying to overturn the regulations is the right thing to do. They have also pointed to Biden’s eventual support for a Republican-led resolution to overturn a DC crime bill as a glimmer of hope that they may be able to pressure the president to undo the regulations.

“We’re going to continue to do it because of bad regulations coming out of this administration,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told The Hill.

The votes also put vulnerable Democrats on the record on the issues at play in the regulations, which could create tough choices for them, but could also give them a chance to create distance between themselves and President Biden.

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), both red state Democrats whose seats are up in 2024, voted with Republicans in favor of the resolution to overturn the ESG regulation. Manchin’s office also said he will vote to overturn the water regulations, while Tester told The Hill on Wednesday that he still had to look at it when asked what his position was.

“It doesn’t put me in a tough spot, we can keep doing these until the day is done,” Tester said when asked by The Hill about the resolutions broadly.

Republican strategist Doug Heye told The Hill that going after the Biden regulations may be popular with the Republican electorate even if the efforts are ultimately unsuccessful.

“A willingness to be able to take something on brings credit from the base,” he said. “If you’re able to go back to your district and say that you are standing up and fighting, your base will give you credit for that.”

Courtesy: thehill