US Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today introduced a “disapproval resolution” to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. The resolution—co-sponsored by 35 Republicans and three Democrats—comes in the wake of the EPA’s recent endangerment finding. (Earlier post.)
Murkowski had introduced an amendment last fall that would have stopped for one-year any EPA greenhouse gas regulations on stationary sources. That proposal would have allowed the EPA to continue with its plans to regulate tailpipe emissions from cars. (Earlier post.)
Murkowski is the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She filed her disapproval resolution pursuant to the provisions of the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., and Sen. Harry Reid, D-NV, were the principal sponsors of the CRA, incorporated into the Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
The CRA established expedited (“fast track”) procedures by which Congress may disapprove a broad range of regulatory rules issued by federal agencies by enacting a joint resolution of disapproval. For initial floor consideration, the Act provides an expedited procedure only in the Senate, which may use the procedure for 60 days of session after the agency transmits the rule to Congress.
If a disapproval resolution is enacted, the rule may not take effect and the agency may issue no substantially similar rule without subsequent statutory authorization. If a rule is disapproved after going into effect, it is “treated as though [it] had never taken effect.”
If either house rejects a disapproval resolution, the rule may take effect at once. If the President vetoes the resolution, the rule may not take effect for 30 days of session thereafter, unless the House or Senate votes to sustain the veto. If a session of Congress adjourns sine die less than 60 days of session after receiving a rule, the full 60-day periods for action begin anew on the 15th day of session after the next session convenes.
Upon introduction, a disapproval resolution is referred to the committee of jurisdiction, which in this case will be the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. If the committee does not favorably report the resolution, it may be discharged upon petition by 30 Senators. Once a disapproval resolution is placed on the Senate calendar, it is then subject to expedited consideration on the Senate floor, and not subject to filibuster.
In addition to the 35 Republican co-sponsors, the resolution is supported by Democrats Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), the Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Ben Nelson (D-NE); and Mary Landrieu (D-LA).