House conservatives will push a proposal Tuesday in their meeting with newly elected GOP lawmakers aimed at expediting the repeal of President Obama's executive orders, memorandum and regulations after President-elect Trump's victory.
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., a vocal member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, plans to offer a bill that would change House rules to require that the House spend time each week on single-subject bills.
The goal is to ensure that the GOP majority has built in time each week to systematically take up measures to overturn some of Obama's most controversial regulations and executive orders.
"We've had eight years of executive overreach, and I think Congress needs to focus on Article I power," he told the Washington Examiner, referring to the section in the Constitution that gives lawmaking power exclusively to Congress. "I think it's important that Congress lead this effort to restore Article I power."
Unlike the two-thirds vote required for non-controversial "Suspension Calendar" votes, the "Article I Calendar" that Buck's measure would create would require a simple majority for passage after a ten-minute debate for each piece of legislation considered, the same time floor amendments receive during the Appropriations process.
Buck said the effort is not only aimed at overturning some of Obama's most controversial executive orders, but regulations that conservatives argue are too burdensome for businesses.
"Not only are we going to be dealing with executive orders, we are going to be dealing with agency regulations and specifically prohibit some of the rules that have gone through the administrative procedures process [but are not yet law] and rescind them," he said.
There are three on the top of Buck's list: the Waters of the U.S. rule, the overtime rule and the fiduciary rule.
The Environmental Protection Agency's Waters of the U.S. rule, a frequent Trump target, expanded the definition of waters protected under the Clean Water Act to smaller, non-navigable waters and tributaries, including some ponds and wetlands. (The Obama administration instituted it as a way to safeguard drinking water. The rule is on hold while judges review lawsuits filed citing the rules as confusing, overly burdensome and a federal government power grab.)
Another top regulation ripe for overturning, Buck said, is the Labor Department's overtime rule that will go into effect Dec. 1 and increase pay for more than 4 million Americans, who will qualify for time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours a week.
Another is the Labor Department's fiduciary rule, scheduled to take effect in April of next year. The bill aims to require retirement account broker-dealers and financial advisors to only provide advice that is in the client's best interest. The rule ushers in a number of mandates, including the elimination of compensation incentives for brokers and changing how investors pay for retirement advice.
Trump has already vowed to rescind as many as 70 percent of federal regulations by his own executive orders. Buck said his Article I bill would provide an additional tool and send a message that Congress is the body the Constitution delegates to make laws, not the executive branch.
The House and Senate are also expected to use the powers provided in the Congressional Review Act to overturn recent Obama regulations. The law, enacted by the GOP-controlled Congress of 1996, gives Congress and the Trump Administration the means to overrule regulations within 60 days of them going into effect.
It's an important law, given that Obama is expected to issue a slew of last-minute "midnight" rules and regulations during his final days in office.