On March 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed House Joint Resolution 37 (of the 115th Congress) that disapproved a regulation issued by President Obama’s administration. The regulation required government contractors to—
- Report employment-law violations to agency labor advisors (ALAs). The ALAs were to advise contracting officers about whether bidders were “acceptable” employers, as defined by the number, type, and severity of labor law violations. A bidder that didn’t measure up could have been eliminated from receiving a government contract. (This has been called “blacklisting.”)
- Provide employees with wage statements that indicated rate of pay, hours worked (including overtime hours), gross pay, any additions to pay or deductions from pay, and whether the employee was exempt from overtime payments. (This was referred to as “pay transparency.”)
On October 24, 2016, a federal district court temporarily halted some provisions of the regulation set to go into effect on October 25. The court’s injunction blocked the blacklisting rules, but allowed the pay transparency rules to remain in effect. See Associated Building and Contractors of Southeast Texas v. Rung (Eastern District of Texas, October 24, 2016).
However, when President Trump signed the house joint resolution, the entire regulations went away.
Here is the key text of the resolution the President signed:
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration relating to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (published at 81 Fed. Reg. 58562 (August 25, 2016)), and such rule shall have no force or effect.
The Congress and President Trump revoked the regulations using a procedure called the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The CRA allows Congress to “veto” regulations issued by a federal government agency so long as Congress acts within 60 days after the regulation is published or received by Congress. The calculation of the 60 days is a rather complex process because it is not based on 60 calendar days, but on 60 continuous-session days—days on which both houses of Congress are in session. (This explains why the regulation was published on August 25, 2016, but vetoed by Congress on March 27, 2017.)
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