Brian Beutler reports:
In the nearly two months since the November midterms, the conventional wisdom has centered on the idea that President Obama’s agenda will be largely protected from an influx of Republicans by the Senate’s arcane rules and his own veto pen. With 47 members in the 112th Congress, the GOP will lack a majority, let alone a supermajority, to pass the legislation they’d need to pass to undo Obama’s accomplishments and blunt his progress — as if he’d sign those bills anyway.
But Republicans are all too aware of this conundrum, and have been looking for ways around it. What they found is an obscure authority provided by a 1996 law called the Congressional Review Act. It provides Congress with an expedited process by which to evaluate executive branch regulations, and then give the President a chance to agree or disagree.
It’ll be interesting to see how this works out. Obviously this passed in 1996 with the hope of severely hampering Bill Clinton, but it’s obscure precisely because in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 this dog didn’t really bark. Then again, a lot of what’s happened in politics over the past 10 years is that people have found new ways to “push the envelop” of existing political norms.