Don’t Spare the ROD: An Inventory of Resolutions of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act

Before Thanksgiving Day, both chambers of Congress are likely to consider so-called “Resolutions of Disapproval” to attempt to reject major, cripplingly expensive Environmental Protection Agency regulations targeting electric power plants.

There’s also the potential for the Senate to consider a Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) Resolution of Disapproval on the so called Waters of the United States rule, better referred to by a colleague of mine as the Moistures of the United States, since that’s what it actually regulates.

Earlier this year, a Resolution of Disapproval rejecting the National Labor Relations Board’s “ambush election rule” passed in both the House and Senate, but was vetoed by President Obama, and no override attempt was made.

So that’s three active ROD attempts (yeah we’ll call them RODs) in 2015 (and others on the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules that have yet to get traction). This got me thinking about how many RODs have been introduced over the years.  

How many realize that major agency regulations lie fallow for 60 days, to allow Congress an opportunity to reject it, via an expedited “Resolution of Disapproval” set up by the 104th Congress’s Congressional Accountability Act.

Despite the passage of 20 years since the Congressional Review Act, a ROD has only been successfully used once, to turn back the Department of Labor’s ergonomics or repetitive motion regulations back when Bush assumed the presidency in 2001. Other times they’ve passed in one chamber but not both.

By my reckoning, there have been (only) 96 resolutions of disapproval issued, give or take. I’ve compiled a complete inventory of them at the link Inventory of Resolutions of Disapproval Introduced Since Passage of the Congressional Review Act in the 104th Congress (Or if you prefer,

Here’s a breakdown by session of Congress; and as I note on the main chart, email me at “wayne dot crews at cei dot org” for corrections, modifications or updates.

Congress Total RODs
114th 13
113th 9
112th 24
111th 13
110th 11
109th 4
108th 9
107th 13
106th 5
105th 6
104th 2
Total 109

There’ll be a lot more to say about all this, such as who introduces RODs and under what circumstances. But now we have a count.