House Democrats seek to reverse Trump-era sunset rule


House Democrats are moving to reverse a controversial rule issued in the final days of the Trump administration that health groups have described as a “ticking time bomb.”

Under the rule, any of the existing 18,000 HHS regulations that are more than ten years old must be reviewed by the agency within the next five years or they automatically expire. The rule also requires any new regulations be evaluated every 10 years to determine if it’s still needed. If no review takes place, the regulations expire.

Health groups and Democrats have criticized the rule as a waste of HHS time and resources that could be spent on more pressing matters, especially during a pandemic.

“If it’s allowed to come into effect, the Trump Administration’s SUNSET rule would force public health officials to divert time, funding, and attention from the current crisis in order to prevent essential public health protections from unnecessarily expiring,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), who is co-sponsoring a resolution to reverse the rule.

The rule was finalized Jan. 19, one day before former President Trump left office. His administration championed the rule as the “most significant regulatory reform effort ever” taken by the federal government.

But health groups, including the American Lung Association, sued to overturn the rule.

The Biden administration announced last week it will delay implementation of the rule while the lawsuit proceeds through the courts. The administration is also reviewing Trump’s final regulatory actions.

However, Raja and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) are pushing to use the Congressional Review Act to kill the rule. Under the CRA, if Congress passes a resolution disapproving of a regulation, it is not allowed to take effect.

Congress can only use the CRA on regulations that are less than 90 days old, so the resolution would likely need to be passed next month.



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