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Laws & Regulations

Summary of the Congressional Review Act

5 USC §801 et seq. (1996)

Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a rule generally cannot take effect until EPA submits a rule report to each House of Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States (head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office). Rules that are not considered "major" under the CRA, may take effect as they otherwise would under other applicable law once a rule report is submitted. A rule that is "major" may take effect no earlier than 60 calendar days after Congress receives the rule report or the rule is published in the Federal Register (FR), whichever is later. The CRA also provides procedures by which Congress can rescind a rule within a specified period of time using expedited procedures.

A rule report includes a copy of the rule; a concise summary of the rule, including whether the rule is "major"; and the effective date of the rule. A rule is "major" if it results in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, etc. Also, the rule report may include a cost-benefit analysis; information relating to specified provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) and Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA); and any other relevant information or requirements under any other Act and any relevant E.O.

The CRA applies to all final rules, with exceptions including rules of particular applicability; orders (e.g., adjudications, permits, licenses); rules relating to agency management or personnel; and rules of agency organization, procedure or practice that do not substantially affect the rights or obligations of non-agency parties.