Inhofe Speaks on Senate Floor on Republican CRA Success

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) committee, today spoke on the Senate floor on Republicans effective use of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to undo Obama administration midnight regulations. He highlighted his CRA resolution of disapproval that overturns the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) rule on resource extraction issuers under Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which was signed into law on February 14

Floor speech 5.11

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Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President, I come to the floor today to applaud the effectiveness of the Congressional Review Act.  Under the CRA, Congress is empowered to review new federal regulations issued by government agencies. 

With the passage of a joint resolution and the signature of the president, we have the ability to permanently repeal harmful regulations. Due to the great number of midnight regulations put into place by the outgoing Obama administration, this Republican-led Congress has had a great opportunity to work with the Trump administration to overturn many of the rushed, burdensome rules that create more red tape for our industries to navigate. 

I am proud to say that I introduced the first CRA in the Senate that was passed this year. That was the first CRA passed since 2001 and it allows us to protect our U.S. energy producers. To give some background on this, last summer the SEC finalized its rule relating to the disclosure of payments by resource extraction issuers. This rule puts publicly traded companies listed in the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage relative to their private and international counterparts by requiring them to disclose confidential business information relating to the negotiation of business contracts. 

The SEC was instructed to develop this rule by Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act. It finalized the first version of this rule in 2012, but it was vacated by a federal district court in July 2013 because the SEC’s rule made “two substantial errors,” including “[misreading Section 1504] to mandate public disclosures of the reports,” and failing to provide an exemption to companies that are legally prohibited from making them. 

The SEC then finalized a second rule under the authorities of Dodd-Frank’s Section 1504 without making any substantial modifications. By repealing this harmful rule, U.S. companies can now save millions of dollars annually and won’t have to choose whether to comply with U.S. laws or foreign laws. 

Thanks to the Congressional Review Act,  our oil and gas companies are not at a disadvantage when it comes to international competitors any longer. This is just one example of how important this tool is for rolling back harmful regulations. 

We have passed other critical CRAs that tied the hands of our businesses,  took local control away from our states, violated the 2nd Amendment, and handicapped our energy development. A total of 14 have been signed into law since January 20. 

Between the CRAs and the major Executive Orders that President Trump has enacted this year to repeal and rework other harmful regulations, we have gotten a lot accomplished. The new administration is pro-energy and pro-business  and they are committed to pulling back other regulations, including the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, while lifting the coal mining moratorium on public lands. 

The president has also signed an executive order calling for all agencies to review their regulations to ferret out duplication and antiquated rules that inhibit our industries and take power from our states. Under this executive order he has asked that for every new regulation, two be repealed. The regulations that were unnecessarily put in place by the previous administration was a part of an effort to centralize and solidify power in Washington, D.C. 

As chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and as an Oklahoman, I saw firsthand how harmful some of the regulations put in place in the last eight years were, not only for Oklahoma’s energy producers, farmers, and businesses, but for our whole economy. 

By removing these regulatory burdens, we are helping our communities and businesses grow and flourish.  By removing these burdens, we are telling our states and local governments that we trust them to govern their citizens based on their needs, not someone else’s. 

Our time to use CRAs on rules from the last administration is now expired, but we can keep the momentum going by being mindful when creating new legislation to that we are here to unleash the potential of the American people and our resources, not crush them under the weight of government mandates. 

Moving forward, I hope we are able to keep up the momentum we have right now and continue searching for ways to become more energy independent while also reducing regulations.