CRA Resolutions Declare Open Season On Americans

01/30/2017 02:26 pm ET Updated Jan 31, 2018

For corporate predators, pickpockets and polluters, it's morning in America.

Today, both chambers of Congress will begin introducing and voting on Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions of disapproval that wipe out public protections established during the final six months of the last administration.

As a result of these resolutions, Americans could lose dozens of critical health, safety, financial, and environmental protections that keep us safe from the same big corporate interests running the Trump administration and bankrolling Republicans in Congress

The CRA allows Congress - with limited debate and no possibility of a filibuster - to strike down recently issued rules as long as the president does not veto their actions. There are hundreds of rules at risk.

But CRA resolutions do more than just strike down vital safeguards; they also block agencies from ever again issuing "substantially similar" regulations without express authorization from Congress. Once the rules are gone, there's no getting them back - at least not anytime soon.

It's may be a dream come true for corporate criminals, but it's an absolute nightmare for the rest of us. Republicans in Congress need to understand that if they do the bidding of their big corporate donors and vote to repeal key protections under the CRA, they will inflict significant pain on their own constituents - and likely anger voters who came to the ballot box this year on a wave of populist rhetoric aimed at reining in out-of-control corporate interests like Wall Street.

If key regulatory protections are repealed, payday lenders, debt collectors and credit card companies will be allowed to scam and rip off the voters who put these members of Congress (and Trump) in office. Polluters will get away with dumping dangerous chemicals in their backyards and poisoning the wells near their homes. Voters everywhere will pay more out of pocket for home appliances, trucks and electricity bills.

In short, wiping out public protections will allow big banks on Wall Street, big polluters and their well-paid lobbyists on K Street to abuse, exploit and discriminate against regular Americans with impunity.

Regular voters certainly were not asking for this. They didn't ask the new administration or Congress to declare open season on American workers, consumers and families. But that's exactly what these CRA resolutions will do.

Congressional Republicans need to think twice before backing CRA resolutions - because the consequences will fall on their own constituents.

Sooner or later, voters from all walks of life will feel the very real pain that results from CRA repeal. When they do, don't be surprised if they lash out at those responsible for their suffering.

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Gilbert is director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division.