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3 years vs. 48 days

Rules Took Years to Craft…
Two rules – the Department of the Interior's stream protection rule and the SEC's anti-corruption rule – took more than seven years to complete, due to the complex analysis and careful consideration involved. The rulemaking lengths for the other rules in descending order include:

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule limiting abusive forced arbitration agreements in financial services contracts and Department of Education’s teach preparation rule (5 years each);
  • Department of Labor's injury recordkeeping and drug testing rules (four years each);
  • Department of the Interior's Alaskan predator protection rule (three years);
  • Department of the Interior's land use planning rule and the multi-agency fair contractor rule (two years each); and
  • Department of Labor's sub-state government retirement savings program rule, Department of Labor's state retirement savings program rule, the Social Security Administration's gun purchase background check rule, the FCC's Internet privacy rule, the HHS' rule protecting women's access to family planning health care services, and Department of Education's state accountability rule (one year each).

Anti-regulatory lawmakers have attempted to argue that the rules eliminated through the CRA are 'midnight' rules that were 'rushed' through the rulemaking process at the end of the Obama administration, but the long timelines required to complete many of these rulemakings belie those claims. Significantly, even the rules that were completed within shorter timeframes could hardly be considered rushed as these tended to be relatively simple and straightforward measures, with many of them aimed at clarifying larger existing rules that had been issued previously.

Rules Took Just Days to Repeal
For the 15 rules that have been fully repealed using the CRA’s procedures, the process from beginning to end took only 48 days to complete on average. For one rule – the FCC's Internet privacy rule – the process took only 12 days. In contrast to the process by which these rules were instituted, the process that Congress used to eliminate them was rushed, suggesting that lawmakers' votes to repeal the rules lacked careful consideration and deliberation. Indeed, the process seems particularly rushed and reckless when one considers all of the other pressing matters that members of Congress faced in the early months of the Trump administration, including confirmation hearings for Trump's nominees to key administration posts and the ongoing effort to pass a health care bill.