US House Republicans push for regulatory overhauls after Supreme Court ruling

By Moira Warburton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives asked all federal agencies in letters released on Wednesday to begin reviews of regulations that could be affected by a recent Supreme Court ruling overturning a legal precedent known as the “Chevron deference precedent.”

Three House committees — Agriculture, Oversight, and Education and the Workforce — have targeted agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Labor Department, in what the House’s No. 2 Republican, Steve Scalise, has called “the fight to free the American people from a power-hungry administrative state.”

The letters follow a June Supreme Court ruling that invalidated the so-called Chevron deference. The latter refers to a 1984 precedent involving the Chevron oil company that gave government experts the final say on how to interpret laws passed by Congress.

Conservatives have argued for decades that the ruling gives too much power to government officials compared to elected lawmakers.

The Chairs of the three committees in their letters requested lists of existing regulations that had been challenged in court and upheld under the Chevron Principle, as well as pending regulations that were defensible under the Chevron Principle.

The chairmen also asked for a list of regulations that could have an annual economic impact of $100 million or more, “significantly increase costs or prices for consumers” or “significant adverse effects” on competition and jobs, among other factors.

The requests could serve as a road map for conservative activists to sue the agency over specific regulations.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan told the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday that the court’s decision “deals very hard with the EPA.”

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone and Matthew Lewis)