Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed the Congressional Article I Powers Strengthening Act (H.R. 469), a product of the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 234-187. This legislation restores Congress’s constitutional authority by establishing clear procedures for creating regulations, sending payments from the Treasury, and intervening in court cases.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Representative Doug Collins (R-Ga.), chief sponsor of this legislation, have released the following statements:
Chairman Goodlatte: “The Congressional Article I Powers Strengthening Act represents Congress’s commitment to an open and transparent government, due regulatory process, and respect for the Constitution. Together, the provisions in this legislation increase accountability in the federal government, eliminate ‘sue and settle’ backdoor regulations, and give Congress concrete tools to intervene on behalf of the American people. I congratulate my colleague, Representative Doug Collins, for his strong work to enhance Congress’s ability to hold the government accountable.”
Rep. Collins: “The House took action today to draw back the curtain on federal agencies that have colluded with special interest groups at the expense of American workers and families. The back-room litigation that the EPA, Fish and Wildlife Service, and other agencies favored throughout the last administration must come to an end.
“A government by and for the people has no business allowing unelected bureaucrats to redraft laws behind closed doors, and I introduced the Sunshine for Regulations and Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act to end this practice decisively.”
Background: The Congressional Article I Powers Strengthening Act (H.R. 469) includes three pieces of legislation: The Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act, the Judgment Fund Transparency Act, and the Article I Amicus and Intervention Act.
The Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act passed the House in 2016 by a vote of 244-173, and was approved by the House Judiciary Committee earlier this year by a vote of 15-8 . This bill ends “sue and settle” tactics that allow federal agencies to regulate through litigation without allowing regulated parties to intervene.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced in October 2017 that the agency would end “sue and settle” tactics, adopting many of the provisions outlined in the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act.
The Judgment Fund Transparency Act requires additional disclosures from the Treasury Department to make payments from the Judgment Fund open and transparent. This bill also prohibits all payments to state sponsors of terrorism.
The Article I Amicus and Intervention Act enhances Congress’s ability to intervene in court cases that affect its Constitutional priorities. Specifically, this bill establishes formal guidelines for DOJ to send reports to Congress, and it gives the House of Representatives the same rights as the Senate to intervene or file an amicus brief for any court in the U.S.