Republicans in the House of Representatives have proposed legislation that would stop regulations requiring federal contractors to report any and all labor violations.
The joint resolution, proposed Monday by North Carolina Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx, makes use of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) of 1996, which allows Congress to overturn executive actions, and has only been used once before.
All Congress has to do is pass the simple joint resolution in both the House and the Senate, and “such rule shall have no force or effect.”
The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule, signed by President Barack Obama in 2014, would have denied federal contracts to large firms with any history of labor violations, and require firms competing for contracts to voluntarily provide the government with any allegations of employer misconduct.
One of the big issues is that companies could lose or be denied contracts based on alleged labor violations, whether or not the allegations were accurate.
The rule was finalized Aug. 25, 2016, but due to a series of lawsuits, a Texas federal court issued a temporary injunction on the rule in October, a decision the federal government is still appealing.
Companies “would likely be impaired by the arbitrary and unnecessary burdens imposed,” U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone said in the written order of injunction in October.
“By these actions, the Executive Branch appears to have departed from Congress’s explicit instructions dictating how violations of the labor law statutes are to be addressed,” said Crone, who is a George W. Bush-appointed Texas judge.
Invoking the CRA points to ways Congress could overturn other Obama administration rules, as President Donald Trump would likely not veto the legislation if it passes both the House and Senate.
Trump has been vocal about repealing federal regulations, and signed an executive order Monday requiring federal agencies to repeal two regulations for every rule that goes into effect.
Congress has only successfully overturned regulations with the CRA once before to overturn Clinton-era rules on safety in the workplace in 2001, just after former President George W. Bush took office.