Delegation and Time

I.     Introduction

Last term, in Gundy v. United States, the Supreme Court once again considered whether a statutory grant of authority to a federal agency or executive branch official (here, the Attorney General) violates the nondelegation doctrine.1 Article I of the Constitution commands that “[a]ll legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.”2 The Court has long interpreted Article I as prohibiting Congress from delegating legislative powers to the other branches of government (or anyone else).3 It has also held, however, that Congress can delegate discretion to federal agencies to implement legislation if the legislation provides an “intelligible principle”4—“clearly delineat[ing] the general policy, the public agency which is to apply it, and the boundaries of this delegated authority.”5 And, once again, in Gundy, a majority of the Court rejected the constitutional challenge, with the plurality concluding that the statutory “delegation easily passes constitutional muster.”6

Although the nondelegation doctrine technically remains the law of the land, the Supreme Court has only struck down two (or maybe three) statutory delegations as unconstitutional—all back in the 1930s.7 Since then, there have been many unsuccessful challenges, of which Gundy is but the most recent.8 These nondelegation challenges, like the challenge in Gundy, have focused almost entirely on the breadth and substance of legislative delegation and whether it complies with the intelligible principle test.9 In other words, the judicial inquiry has examined the substantive transfer of lawmaking authority from Congress to the administrative state.

Gundy, however, is also noteworthy because only four Justices were willing to continue to embrace a toothless nondelegation doctrine.10 Justice Alito cast the fifth and decisive vote because “it would be freakish to single out the provision at issue here for special treatment.”11 Justice Alito made clear, however, that “[i]f a majority of this Court were willing to reconsider the approach we have taken for the past 84 years, I would support that effort.”12 Justice Gorsuch, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas, dissented, arguing that the statute at issue did not pass the intelligible principle test and, moreover, the current “mutated version of the ‘intelligible principle’ remark has no basis in the original meaning of the Constitution, in history, or even in the decision from which it was plucked.”13 Although Justice Kavanaugh did not participate in the case, scholars are already predicting that “perhaps we will not need to wait another twenty years for that next case raising the nondelegation doctrine.”14 Indeed, Justice Kavanaugh has since made his views known, also expressing interest in reinvigorating the nondelegation doctrine, with a particular focus on prohibiting “congressional delegations to agencies of authority to decide major policy questions.”15

The Supreme Court has not invalidated a statute on nondelegation doctrine grounds in more than eight decades, but the Court has embraced a number of normative canons or clear statement rules that address nondelegation concerns through statutory interpretation.16 Or, as Justice Gorsuch put it in his Gundy dissent:

When one legal doctrine becomes unavailable to do its intended work, the hydraulic pressures of our constitutional system sometimes shift the responsibility to different doctrines. And that’s exactly what’s happened here. We still regularly rein in Congress’s efforts to delegate legislative power; we just call what we’re doing by different names.17

Clear statement rules and various canons of construction serve to address nondelegation concerns.

The statutory challenge to the Affordable Care Act, King v. Burwell, is illustrative. There, Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the Court, applied the major questions doctrine to refuse the IRS Chevron deference, due to the economic or political significance of the question and the IRS’ lack of expertise in answering such questions.18 Reflecting nondelegation concerns, Chief Justice Roberts concluded: “Whether those credits are available on Federal Exchanges is thus a question of deep ‘economic and political significance’ that is central to this statutory scheme; had Congress wished to assign that question to an agency, it surely would have done so expressly.”19 Like the nondelegation doctrine itself, the nondelegation canons of statutory interpretation focus on the breadth of delegation to presume, as Justice Scalia colorfully put it, that “Congress . . . does not . . . hide elephants in mouseholes.”20

Legislative responses to nondelegation concerns have also largely focused on addressing the breadth of statutory delegations to federal agencies and federal agencies’ authority to address questions of deep political and economic significance. One obvious example is the Congressional Review Act (“CRA”), which allows Congress to invalidate a major agency rule with only a simple majority in both chambers (and presidential approval).21 The CRA has played a major role in the Trump Administration, with Congress having invalidated 14 major agency rules that were promulgated at the end of the Obama Administration.22 The proposed Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (“REINS”) Act would take the CRA one step further by requiring congressional action before any “major” agency rule went into effect.23 Congress has also, at times, used the appropriations process to constrain prior delegations of regulatory authority, such as through substantive appropriations riders. Such interventions are a blunt tool, however, and are more able to prevent regulatory action than to expand or update prior grants of regulatory authority.

Absent from these attempts to address nondelegation is any focus on the temporal problems of congressional delegation.24 Specifically, broad congressional delegations of authority at one time period become a source of authority for agencies to take later action that could no longer receive legislative support or that was not adequately contemplated, let alone considered, at the time of enactment.25 This problem has taken on added significance with the fall of lawmaking by legislation and the rise of lawmaking by regulation.26 Congressional inaction has exacerbated the problems of open-ended, broad statutory delegations. Even when the existing statutory schemes fail or reach their limits, Congress rarely acts.27 Without regular legislative activity, agencies are forced to get more creative with stale statutory mandates to address new problems and changed circumstances.28 What little legislative activity occurs often comes in reactive spurts, triggered by apparent emergencies or crises. This dynamic encourages Congress to delegate broad authority before focusing on an appropriate regulatory response.29

To be sure, even without regular legislative activity, Congress retains some powerful tools to oversee agencies and shape regulatory activities.30 But federal agencies may come to view such congressional oversight as just the cost of doing business, not a meaningful constraint on regulatory activity.

To address this distinct time problem of delegation, Congress should return to passing laws on a regular basis. And, in particular, Congress should revive the practice of regular reauthorization of statutes that govern federal regulatory action. This legislative engagement would include regular assessment of agency action and regular recalibration if the agency’s regulatory activities are inconsistent with the current Congress’ policy objectives. In some regulatory contexts, this may require Congress to consider adding reauthorization incentives, such as sun-setting provisions or so-called “hammer” provisions designed to induce legislative engagement. In others, Congress may decide the costs of mandatory reauthorization outweigh the benefits. Nevertheless, Congress should more regularly use this longstanding legislative tool to mitigate the democratic deficits that come with broad delegations of lawmaking authority to federal agencies.

This Article proceeds as follows: Part II surveys the nondelegation doctrine debate and how that doctrine addresses the democratic deficits in lawmaking by regulation. Part III examines the judicial and legislative responses to nondelegation, emphasizing how they primarily address the scope of open-ended congressional delegation, not the temporal aspect. Part IV turns to the temporal problems with excessive delegation. Section IV.A develops the theoretical case for regular reauthorization to address the temporal aspects of delegation’s democratic deficits. Section IV.B examines the history of reauthorization practices in Congress, surveying the breadth of such practices before providing a snapshot of eight current reauthorization efforts—including reauthorization of three agencies (Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Export-Import Bank, and Federal Aviation Administration) and five federal programs (FDA user-fee programs, the Farm Bill, No Child Left Behind, PATRIOT Act, and Pipeline Safety Act). Part V fleshes out how Congress could use reauthorization as a legislative tool to advance democratic values. It examines the mechanisms that could encourage a regular reauthorization process and responds to potential objections. The Article concludes with a few thoughts on how a regular reauthorization process would strengthen the partnership between Congress and the administrative state, while affecting judicial review in terms of both Chevron deference31 and statutory stare decisis.

II.     Nondelegation and Congressional Inaction

Delegation lies at the foundation for the modern administrative state.32 Federal administrative agencies have no inherent power to issue regulations, administer programs, or enforce federal law. Rather, through legislation, Congress grants agencies that power to act.33 In various statutes, Congress has granted agencies the authority to implement—and oftentimes direct—federal policy across a wide range of policy areas, and this practice of delegation has increased over time.34

Congress often has good reasons to delegate substantial policymaking and implementation to administrative agencies.35 Some say broad delegation is “necessary.”36 Legislators, even those with longstanding service on relevant committees, tend to lack the same degree of subject-specific expertise as administrative agencies. The same is true for legislative staff. Agencies may also be free of some of the temporal and political constraints faced by elected officials, particularly members of the House of Representatives, who stand for reelection every two years.37 It may also be easier to develop coherent policies on complex or controversial matters within a hierarchical structure than in a legislative committee.38 Agencies may also be able to act with greater speed and dispatch than a bicameral legislature, making them more suited to address urgent problems.

However necessary the practice of delegation, it is not without its costs, including a potential loss of democratic accountability.39 Concerns about delegation motivate much contemporary criticism of the administrative state. To some critics, the widespread delegation of regulatory and other power to federal agencies represents an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power.40 To others, widespread delegation represents Congress’ shirking of its fundamental responsibilities and undermines the democratic legitimacy of regulatory policy.41 As John Hart Ely observed, the concern with delegation “is not that such ‘faceless bureaucrats’ necessarily do a bad job as our effective legislators. It is rather that they are neither elected nor reelected, and are controlled only spasmodically by officials who are.”42 In this way, broad delegation can be viewed as a threat to deliberative democracy.43

Then-Professor Elena Kagan observed that delegation enables Congress to pass the buck to the executive branch,44 even though it may increase the power and influence of individual legislators.45 Other Justices have identified broad delegation as a threat to individual liberty.46 As Justice Gorsuch explained in his dissent in Gundy last Term, “[s]ome occasionally complain about Article I’s detailed and arduous processes for new legislation, but to the framers these were bulwarks of liberty.”47

Much criticism of unbridled delegation focuses on the volume, subject-matter range, and breadth of the legislature’s delegation of authority.48 Some statutes grant federal agencies the authority to make broad policy decisions with tremendous economic consequences, such as the acceptable level of air pollution in urban areas49 or how to regulate emerging telecommunications technologies.50 Others give agencies minimal constraints on whether to adopt regulatory measures and what policy objectives such measures should pursue.51

While judges and academics have focused on the breadth and scope of delegation, less attention has been paid to the time element of delegation. Agencies using their delegated power are often drawing on statutory authority granted many years (or decades) earlier. Yet agencies quite often rely on long-standing—and even long-dormant—authority when creating new regulations. This time dimension is largely absent from delegation debates and discussions.52

A few examples illustrate the importance of time. When the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) first sought to adopt an “open internet” order, it relied on a 1934 statute that Congress had not substantially revisited in 14 years.53 Even with these revisions, the statute was “woefully outdated” within a decade.54 The 1996 amendments to the Communications Act preceded “Wi-Fi” networks, let alone Facebook, Wikipedia, Netflix, or even Google.55 These amendments responded to time-specific technologies and market pressures, and presumed a desire for a “stovepipe” regulatory framework separating telecommunications and information services.56 However appropriate such ideas were in 1996, they are obsolete today.57 Yet the FCC draws its authority to regulate internet service providers from this outdated statute, with its outdated assumptions.

Environmental law is replete with statutes based on outdated or mistaken assumptions that limit their effectiveness. In some cases, these statutes relied on then-current scientific understandings of environmental problems and their causes.58 Yet as scientific understanding and technical expertise concerning pollution and other environmental concerns have advanced, the statutory regimes have not kept pace.59 Much of the Clean Water Act focuses on pollution from point sources; relatively little of the Act concerns non-point sources.60 However well justified this emphasis may have been in 1972, it is obsolete today, as non-point source pollution now presents the far greater threat to water quality.61 Yet the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has been delegated relatively little authority to address that.

The Clean Air Act (“CAA”) is arguably the most expansive federal environmental law. It is also the source of authority for recent regulations adopted to limit greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to reduce the threat posed by global warming.62 Congress erected the basic architecture of the CAA in 1970,63 and made significant modifications in 197764 and 1990.65 As originally constructed, the CAA focused most acutely on localized air pollution. The “centerpiece” of the Act defines acceptable ambient concentrations of regulated air pollutants and directs states to adopt plans to ensure compliance with the designated National Ambient Air Quality Standards (“NAAQS”).66 Relatively little of the CAA’s core architecture concerned interstate air pollutants. Global climate change, in particular, was not yet a serious concern within Congress.67

When Congress last modified the CAA in 1990, it tightened and revised the NAAQS provisions.68 Congress also expanded the statute’s scope to address non-localized air pollutants, such as those that contribute to acid precipitation and the depletion of stratospheric ozone.69 Separate provisions addressed each of these concerns. However, no provisions expressly addressed greenhouse gas emissions.70 Nor have any such measures been adopted since.71 Nonetheless, 17 years later in Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court concluded that the plain language of the CAA was broad enough to cover greenhouse gases as air pollutants.72 Whether or not the Court was correct to interpret the CAA in this fashion,73 it is fair to say that Massachusetts v. EPA set in motion a series of regulatory initiatives that Congress never contemplated,74 let alone endorsed, and forced the EPA to retrofit a twentieth century statutory regime to address a twenty-first century problem.75

This temporal problem is not limited to regulatory programs. Older extant statutes often enable the executive branch to take actions Congress did not anticipate. For instance, Congress enacted the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”) in 1977 to empower the President to take concrete actions in response to “any unusual and extraordinary threat . . . to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States” arising from outside the country.76 This statute grants broad authority that has been invoked to address a wide range of foreign policy concerns.77 While Congress did not seek to delineate the precise circumstances under which the IEEPA could be used, it is quite unlikely that the 1977 Congress intended to delegate authority to impose tariffs on Mexico in response to an alleged illegal migration crisis.78 Yet that is how it was used in 2019.79 Indeed, national emergencies are declared with increasing frequency, and often to address concerns that could hardly be characterized as “emergencies” at all.80

The temporal lag between legislative delegation and use of delegated authority raises distinct concerns about whether delegation is consistent with democratic governance. As already noted, agencies only have that power delegated to them by Congress.81 Thus, when an agency exercises such power, we may assume this is democratically legitimate because the political branches authorized it, satisfying the requirements of bicameralism and presentment. Yet when decades pass between the enactment of statutes delegating authority to agencies and the exercise of that authority, there is a risk that the delegated authority will be used for purposes or concerns that the enacting Congress never considered. This may lead to situations where Congress has not provided the proper tool for the problem the agency is addressing.82 More broadly, agencies may be exercising power granted for one purpose to pursue another aim that Congress had never contemplated. This was arguably true with both the FCC’s initial effort to impose “net neutrality” and the EPA’s use of the CAA to address climate change.

When agencies rely on regulatory authority delegated to them in the past, there is also a risk that the power exercised is no longer in line with contemporary legislative majorities. The inertia inherent in the legislative process makes it difficult to revise delegations of authority and can entrench the dead hand of a past Congress.83 Consequently, agencies may often have the power (or even the obligation) to act based upon a prior Congress’ preferences that no longer command popular support. In this respect, the lag between delegation and regulation may create a particularly concerning democratic deficit. The values ascendant at the time of enactment may no longer command widespread support. Particular policy concerns, much like given statutory language, may be obsolete.84

The problem of temporal lag appears to be worsening.85 Yet the particular concerns for democratic legitimacy engendered by this temporal lag are important but underexplored in the relevant literature. As detailed in Part III, moreover, these concerns have not received significant attention from either the courts or Congress in the form of efforts to curb, constrain, or control delegated regulatory authority.

III.     Conventional Responses to Nondelegation

A.     Delegation in the Courts

Time and again the Supreme Court has proclaimed that Article I, section 1 of the Constitution vests “all legislative powers” in Congress, and that such power may not be delegated to other branches.86 Yet this principle has not prevented Congress from delegating substantial policymaking authority to administrative agencies, including the authority to promulgate prescriptive regulations.87 Rather, as long understood and applied by the Supreme Court, the nondelegation doctrine merely requires Congress to articulate an “intelligible principle” to guide an agency’s exercise of delegated power.88

In principle, this doctrine ensures that Congress remains responsible for the major policy judgments that drive regulatory decisions.89 In practice, the “intelligible principle” requirement has not done much to constrain delegation to administrative agencies. While Congress may not grant an administrative agency a “blank check” to do anything and everything, virtually anything short of that will do.90 The Supreme Court has found an “intelligible principle” in statutes authorizing federal agencies to set “generally fair and equitable” prices91 and to regulate in the “public interest.”92 As Justice Scalia summarized, the Court “ha[s] ‘almost never felt qualified to second-guess Congress regarding the permissible degree of policy judgment that can be left to those executing or applying the law.’”93 To the contrary, in the nation’s history the Supreme Court has only invalidated two (or maybe three) statutes on nondelegation grounds; both decisions were handed down way back in the 1930s.94 Thus, it can be said, “the nondelegation doctrine has had only one good year and over two hundred bad ones.”95

While the nondelegation doctrine has not led to the invalidation of federal statutes, nondelegation concerns appear to have influenced various administrative law doctrines.96 Most notably, nondelegation concerns appear to have influenced how the Court interprets statutes that may be understood to delegate authority to regulatory agencies. In particular, under various common canons of construction, courts are not to lightly presume that Congress has delegated authority to agencies that might implicate constitutional concerns, such as by intruding on state prerogatives or infringing upon constitutional rights.97

Delegation concerns may also be observed in the Court’s application and refinement of the rule announced in Chevron USA v. Natural Resources Defense Council.98 Under the Chevron doctrine, courts are to defer to agency interpretations of ambiguous statutory provisions they administer.99 This doctrine gives agencies the power to define the scope of statutory prohibitions and determine whether given activities are subject to various regulatory schemes. As a consequence, the Chevron doctrine would seem to be the source of substantial agency authority, and some have criticized the doctrine on that precise basis.100

An unconstrained Chevron doctrine might raise substantial delegation concerns. Yet, as refined by later decisions, the doctrine actually accommodates nondelegation values. Most notably, Chevron deference is only available where courts can conclude that Congress has actually delegated such authority to the agency in question, albeit implicitly or explicitly.101 As the Court explained just a few years after Chevron, “[a] precondition to deference under Chevron is a congressional delegation of administrative authority.”102 This delegation is understood to be connected to an underlying grant of policymaking and implementation authority.103 Yet just as Congress cannot be presumed to “hide elephants in mouseholes,”104 delegation must be demonstrated, not merely presumed.

The so-called “major questions” doctrine provides a useful example of how nondelegation concerns have influenced the Court’s approach to Chevron. As Chief Justice Roberts explained in King v. Burwell, Chevron “is premised on the theory that a statute’s ambiguity constitutes an implicit delegation from Congress to the agency to fill in the statutory gaps.”105 Yet not just any gap will do. Where a proffered statutory interpretation would seem to give an agency unnecessarily broad authority, the Court has cautioned that Chevron may not apply. Specifically, in cases such as FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. and King, the Court has cautioned against deferring to agencies on questions of major economic or political significance.106 The reason for this, as the Court has explained, is that it would be extremely unlikely that Congress would delegate the responsibility for resolving such questions to administrative agencies.107 Indeed, Justice Gorsuch explained in his dissent in Gundy last Term: “Although it is nominally a canon of statutory construction, we apply the major questions doctrine in service of the constitutional rule that Congress may not divest itself of its legislative power by transferring that power to an executive agency.”108

While the nondelegation doctrine itself is not used to invalidate the delegation of such questions to federal administrative agencies, the so-called “major questions” doctrine ensures that broad and consequential delegations are not merely assumed to have implicitly occurred due to a statutory gap or ambiguity. Courts will only recognize such a delegation where Congress has explicitly granted it. In this way, the “major questions” doctrine helps protect against the potential loss of democratic accountability resulting from unduly broad delegations.

However much the “major questions” doctrine may compensate for the potential democratic deficit caused by delegation, it does little to address the time concerns. The “major questions” doctrine focuses on the size and nature of a delegation. It asks whether the matter in question is of major economic and political significance, or whether it implicates matters beyond the usual concerns and expertise of a given regulatory agency.109 It does not, however, pay much (if any) attention to how long ago the delegation occurred.

B.     Delegation in Congress

Congress has shown little interest in curbing delegation directly, thus foregoing the benefits delegation may provide. Congress, however, has considered, and even adopted, measures to address some of the accountability concerns raised by expansive delegation or to otherwise compensate for the loss of legislative control and political accountability that expansive delegation may bring. Some of these measures address a number of the democratic legitimacy concerns delegation’s critics have raised. They do little, however, to address the specific temporal concerns we have identified.

1.     The Legislative Veto

The legislative veto was an early effort to constrain the potential adverse consequences of expansive delegation.110 Between the 1930s and 1980s, Congress enacted dozens upon dozens of legislative veto provisions within nearly 300 statutes.111 These provisions enabled Congress to delegate broad legislative-like authority to administrative agencies while retaining the unilateral authority to overturn administrative decisions through legislative action absent presidential assent or a veto-proof majority.112 The legislative veto also ensured that a later Congress would retain that same ability, should it no longer support the agency’s actions.113 In this way, the legislative veto addressed the time lag between legislative authorizations and agency actions.114

Legislative vetoes, however, are no longer a permissible tool to rein in delegation. In 1983, the Supreme Court in INS v. Chadha invalidated the legislative veto as incompatible with the Constitution’s requirement of bicameralism and presentment for legislative action.115 Overturning an administrative action constitutes a legislative act under the Constitution, and is thus subject to the requirements of bicameralism and presentment.116 A single chamber of Congress, acting alone, cannot invalidate an action taken by a federal agency pursuant to an otherwise lawful delegation of authority. That is because, the Chadha Court held, Article I’s bicameralism and presentment clause “represents the Framers’ decision that the legislative power of the Federal Government be exercised in accord with a single, finely wrought and exhaustively considered, procedure.”117

Although a unicameral legislative veto is unconstitutional, nothing stops Congress from repealing or overturning regulations, either because Congress prefers different policies or because it believes a given action is improper. The threat of a presidential veto merely increases the vote threshold for taking such actions. Traditional legislative procedures, however, can stymie Congress, even when a majority supports overturning an agency action. “Vetogates” and other procedural hurdles may stop Congress from enacting measures altering, redirecting, or rescinding authority previously delegated to an agency.118 Yet at the same time Congress would be unable or unlikely to reenact the previously delegated authority. After Chadha, Congress has more difficulty controlling an agency’s actions.

2.     The Congressional Review Act

Concerned that federal agencies may adopt regulations opposed by current legislative majorities, Congress enacted the Congressional Review Act of 1996 (“CRA”).119 The CRA created an expedited process for considering joint resolutions to overturn regulations, making it easier for Congress to reject agency actions of which it disapproves.120 In effect, the CRA created a means through which Congress can police an agency’s exercise of its delegated authority.121 While it remains difficult for Congress to repeal prior grants of delegated authority, with the CRA Congress can more easily overturn specific exercises of such power. This modestly checks the temporal democratic deficit that broad delegations may produce, particularly during the transition between presidential administrations.

But the CRA’s ability to address time concerns is limited. This is because Congress can only use the CRA within a relatively short window of time after the promulgation of a major regulation.122 Under the CRA, before any new rule may take effect, the agency must submit a report on the rule “to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General.”123 If the regulation is deemed a “major rule”—defined as any rule that the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (“OIRA”) concludes will likely have “an annual effect on the economy of $100 [million] or more,” or otherwise have significant effect on consumer prices or the economy124—it may not take effect for at least 60 days after its submission to Congress.125 This waiting period provides Congress with an opportunity to review major rules and consider whether to overturn them. For this purpose, the CRA creates a streamlined procedure for Congress to overturn a major regulation by enacting a joint resolution.126

Enacted in 1996, the CRA remained almost completely dormant until President Trump took office.127 Because the CRA resolutions are subject to presidential veto, Congress’ only real opportunity to use the CRA is to rescind “midnight regulations” adopted at the end of a presidential administration.128 Consequently, before President Trump’s election, the CRA was only used once to repeal a regulation: the ergonomics rule adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration during the Clinton Administration.129 And this regulation was only repealed because it was created at the end of the Clinton Administration, allowing a Republican Congress and the Bush Administration to use the CRA.

As the ergonomics rule illustrates, only those rules adopted near the end of a President’s term are vulnerable to CRA repeal.130 This is because a President is likely to veto any legislative effort to overturn a regulation issued by his own administration.131 An outgoing administration can protect regulations by ensuring new rules are not issued in the final months of a presidential term. During the last year of the Bush Administration, for example, agencies were instructed to finalize new regulations early enough that they would not be subject to repeal under the CRA during the next administration.132

Despite its early quiescence, Congress used the CRA extensively during the first year of the Trump Administration.133 In 2017, Congress enacted, and the President signed, 15 resolutions of disapproval revoking major regulations.134 Fourteen of these rules were “midnight rules” adopted during the closing months of the Obama Administration, and the 15th was a rule created in 2017 by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”).135 A 16th resolution of disapproval—targeting another CFPB rule, promulgated in 2013—was passed, and signed by the President in 2018.136

While the CRA may be a useful tool to quickly roll back regulatory measures adopted at the end of one administration, it remains a particularly limited tool for restoring democratic accountability to regulatory policy. The CRA makes it easier for Congress to rescind major rules that are opposed by a contemporary legislative majority, provided that the White House agrees or there are enough votes to override a Presidential veto. Even so, with the CRA Congress can better prevent agencies from using prior delegations of authority to enact policies that no longer enjoy political support.

The CRA also gives Congress a targeted means of rescinding prior delegations of authority to regulatory agencies. This is because once a resolution of disapproval is enacted, the rejected rule “may not be reissued in substantially the same form” unless it is subsequently authorized by Congress.137 In other words, a resolution of disapproval not only rescinds a rule, it also rescinds the specific delegation of authority upon which the agency relied.138

3.     The REINS Act

Dissatisfied with the CRA’s limited potential to constrain major agency actions that lack political support within Congress, some members of Congress have considered reforms to strengthen the CRA. One such reform is the REINS Act—for “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny.” This legislation would require congressional authorization for new major rules before they may take effect.139 Such resolutions of approval would be subject to expedited consideration and streamlined legislative procedures, much like resolutions of disapproval under the CRA.140 The primary difference is that, while the CRA creates an expedited process for the disapproval of major agency rules that would otherwise become final regulations, REINS creates an expedited process for the approval of major agency rules that is a precondition for final promulgation, and effectively disables traditional means of obstruction or delay. Specifically, whereas traditional legislation can be bottled up in committee or held up by a determined legislative minority, resolutions of approval under the REINS Act cannot be disposed of without a majority vote.141

The REINS Act would address delegation concerns, and the loss of democratic accountability due to the passage of time, in much the same way as a unicameral legislative veto.142 It would do this, in effect, by rescinding prior delegations of authority to regulatory agencies, so as to eliminate agency authority to promulgate major rules without legislative approval. Instead, agencies would be required to submit “final” rules as proposals for legislative action.

Adopting the REINS Act would make it much more difficult for agencies to rely upon “old statutes” to adopt new policies without legislative approval. In this regard, the REINS Act would begin to address the problem of obsolete or outdated legislative authorizations. It would, however, do this in a purely reactive manner, placing Congress only in the position to reject agency actions. The REINS Act would do little to encourage more proactive or forward-looking legislative engagement with new, emerging, or changing circumstances that might justify federal regulation. This reform would enable Congress to stop new regulatory initiatives that lack sufficient democratic support, but would do nothing to help facilitate a realignment of agency authority with contemporary political preferences. So, for instance, the REINS Act would empower a legislative majority to reject the proposed regulation of greenhouse gases under provisions of the Clean Air Act enacted to address different types of air pollution concerns, but could not be used to amend the statute or create new sources of authority more functionally aligned with the threat posed by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

4.     Appropriations and Oversight

Even in the absence of judicial enforcement of the limits on delegation, or legislative enactments to constrain the scope or duration of prior delegations, Congress retains some ability to constrain and direct how agencies use their delegated power. In particular, Congress may use appropriations, the appointments process, and the oversight process to discipline agencies. The function of delegation also provides individual legislators, particularly those on the relevant appropriations committees, with additional opportunities to influence agency behavior.143

In his recent book Congress’s Constitution, Josh Chafetz categorizes Congress’ tools outside of regular legislation into six main powers: (1) the power of the purse; (2) the personnel power; (3) contempt of Congress; (4) freedom of speech or debate; (5) internal discipline; and (6) cameral rules.144 This congressional toolbox provides Congress with substantial power to monitor, constrain, and shape agency regulatory activity—and merits some attention here.

First and perhaps most importantly, there is Congress’ power of the purse.145 While Congress does not regularly revisit past statutes authorizing agency action, Congress still approves the annual appropriations necessary to keep agencies operating. In the process, Congress often enacts measures limiting or directing how agencies may spend appropriated funds.146

The appropriations tool is particularly powerful because each chamber of Congress has a veto on federal agency funding in the annual budget process. The appropriations process, moreover, is not subject to the same legislative procedures.147 Nor do the details of appropriations bills receive as much public attention or debate as substantive legislation.148 Indeed, the appropriations committees themselves rarely have the same degree of policy expertise as those committees with jurisdiction to enact substantive legislation in a given area.149 Congress’ power of the purse, however, has weakened over the years. This is largely due to the “rise in ‘mandatory’ spending . . . not subject to . . . annual appropriations” (amounting to 69 percent of the 2016 fiscal year budget), the decline of the House’s central appropriations role in the mid-1900s, and “Congress’s decision to grant some agencies with fee-setting authority.”150

The use of the appropriations process to limit agency action is no substitute for affirmative legislation. Appropriations riders may prevent agency departures from legislatively approved paths, but they cannot wholly redirect regulatory programs. For example, when Congress sought to complete the Tellico Dam, continued appropriations were not enough to trump the regulatory strictures of the Endangered Species Act.151 Legislative action was required.152 Limiting appropriations is an effective way to limit an agency’s exercise of delegated power, but it takes more than an appropriation of federal funds to authorize agency action.

Nor does limiting appropriations permanently strip an agency of delegated power. For instance, Republican Congresses in the 1990s repeatedly passed appropriations riders prohibiting the EPA from taking steps toward the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.153 While these measures were effective when adopted, they did not eliminate whatever reservoir of authority the EPA retained under the CAA. Prohibiting the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases would require amending the underlying statute. Congress’ failure to renew the appropriations riders freed the EPA to apply the CAA to greenhouse gas emissions, but did not make it any easier to turn the decades-old statute into an effective climate change policy instrument. Nor could more climate-concerned Congresses use appropriations to upgrade the CAA so as to enable more effective climate policies.

Second, Congress has a potent personnel power. This consists of a suite of tools that includes Congress’ role in appointing agency officials, limitations on the President’s ability to use acting officers or recess appointments, and Congress’ ability to remove officials in the other branches of government.154 These tools extend beyond approving the President’s choice to run a federal agency. For instance, as Chafetz documents, the Senate holds a committee hearing on each nominee and can extract pledges from the nominee about how she will run the agency, including commitments on congressional oversight cooperation. Nominees often have one-on-one meetings with senators, during which additional discussions about the agency’s regulatory activities can take place. The Senate can withhold consent, forcing the President to choose a nominee with a different agenda. It can also delay consenting until the agency complies with certain oversight requests or completes (or commits to complete) certain regulatory activities. Alternatively, the Senate committee can “refus[e] to hold the nomination hearing at all.”155

The final four tools in the congressional toolbox all relate to Congress’ ability to conduct oversight of federal agencies. Congress’ Article I cameral rules powers allow Congress to set up committees and to grant certain investigatory powers, such as subpoena and hearing powers, to those committees and subcommittees.156 These oversight powers are enhanced by Congress’ power to hold executive branch officials in contempt for failure to comply with congressional oversight inquiries.157 That members of Congress have an Article I freedom of speech and debate also allows Congress to make public certain nonconfidential information from the executive branch.158 Oftentimes the threat of public release alone encourages federal agencies to comply with oversight requests, and can even change agency behavior.159

Congress’ appropriations and oversight powers are important and can have a significant effect on how agencies exercise their delegated powers. Indeed, it may be true that today “congressional oversight of agency action is one of the most powerful tools that Congress has to exercise some measure of control over administrative policymaking.”160 Yet the oversight power is inherently limited and, equally important, is necessarily reactive. These tools can help constrain agency actions at odds with contemporary congressional preferences, but are ill suited to effectively update obsolete statutory frameworks.161 Upgrading or modernizing statutes to ensure agencies have those powers necessary to address contemporary concerns requires actual lawmaking.

IV.     Reauthorization in Theory and in Practice

Statutory frameworks need to be revisited if they are to be effective and if they are to reflect contemporary preferences and present understandings. Statutory obsolescence is a perpetual concern (or, at least it should be). The problem of outdated statutory frameworks is particularly acute for those authorizing complex regulatory programs operating within ever-changing and evolving contexts. Congressional failure to revise and reconsider the premises on which such programs are based and the ways in which they operate inevitably undermines democratic accountability and compromises effective governance.162 Either regulatory agencies learn to reinterpret and stretch their existing authority, the underlying statutory framework becomes obsolete, or both.

The distinct temporal problem of broad delegation and related concerns over statutory obsolescence would be addressed if Congress were to return to the practice of enacting substantive legislation on a regular basis. Yet this is easier said than done. Presumably, legislators would legislate if that was their preference. That is, if members of Congress believed the benefits of regular legislating outweighed the costs, then that is how they would behave. For a variety of reasons, including competing demands on legislators’ time and alternative ways to invest their political capital, legislators choose not to legislate on a regular basis.

The surest way to change legislative behavior is to change the incentives legislators face, and this is something self-conscious legislators may seek to do. In a wide range of contexts, Congress already enacts laws and adopts procedures with an eye toward altering or ameliorating the incentives future legislators may face.163 If, as we argue, Congress does not revisit and reevaluate existing statutory frameworks as often as it should, Congress may be able to help solve this problem.

One way Congress may encourage future legislators to revisit existing statutory frameworks on a more regular basis is through the use of “temporary” legislation.164 Legislation that “sunsets,” expires, or otherwise requires regular reauthorization could induce Congress to revisit, reassess, and recalibrate existing programs, so as to ensure such programs reflect current knowledge, focus on the most salient concerns, and are more in line with contemporary voter preferences.

Limiting the duration of legislative authorization can have broad effects on the incentives faced by legislatures and the actions taken by administrative agencies.165 Most obviously, limiting the duration of legislation reduces the ability of legislative majorities to entrench their policy preferences and benefits contemporary majorities relative to their predecessors. In the context of regulatory programs, limiting legislative duration tends to strengthen the hand of the legislature relative to the executive.166 Regular reauthorization, where it occurs, is one way to help keep agency authorizations current and responsive to changing circumstances, evolving understandings, and shifting political coalitions.

Section IV.A traces the history of temporary legislation in the United States, whereas Section IV.B examines the state of reauthorization today, providing a number of snapshots of legislation that is reauthorized on a regular basis.

A.     Temporary Legislation, Sunsets, and Reauthorizations

The idea of temporary legislation is not new. “Temporary legislation,” Jacob Gersen has observed, “is a staple of legislatures, both old and modern.”167 Well before the birth of the modern regulatory agency, prominent voices extolled the virtue of legislation that must be renewed or revisited. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, argued that vices such as corruption make statutory expiration preferable to relying on the possibility of repeal.168 In The Federalist No. 26, Alexander Hamilton argued two-year limits on military appropriations would require periodic deliberation and thereby check potentially unwise policy decisions.169 Temporary legislation was embraced by colonial legislatures and the early Congress.170 The Sedition Act of 1798, as enacted, expired in 1801171 and the first two national banks were created with time-limited charters and allowed to expire as well.172

During the New Deal, when Congress set about creating a range of new federal agencies, William Douglas urged consideration of limiting how long Congress’ new creations could operate without renewed legislative authorization. Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, Douglas advised President Roosevelt to include sunset provisions due to the risk that a new agency would have exhausted its “great creative work” within a decade, and risked falling prey to “inertia” and “becom[ing] a prisoner of bureaucracy.”173 Sunset provisions, in Douglas’ view, limit rent-seeking within the administrative state. Theodore Lowi echoed this view in The End of Liberalism, in which he urged adoption of “a tenure-of-statutes act” that would require statutes authorizing administrative agencies to be periodically renewed.174 The idea was to require periodic reevaluation and review of administrative agencies, so as to provide opportunities to eliminate wasteful or unneeded programs, and bring wayward bureaucracies to heel.

Interest in sunset provisions for administrative agencies peaked in the 1970s, largely in reaction to widespread mistrust of government institutions.175 Inspired by Lowi, nonpartisan government-reform advocacy group Common Cause pushed for the adoption of “sunset” clauses at the state level.176 Beginning in Colorado in 1976, this movement quickly spread across the United States.177 Within five years, sunset statutes of one sort or another had been adopted in 36 states.178 The details of these statutes varied from state to state, as did the success of these measures.179 As a general matter, the various state sunset laws required periodic review and reauthorization of state agencies. Some required extensive (and costly) review and evaluation prior to the sunset.180

Proposals to adopt an across-the-board sunset provision, such as that proposed by Lowi and (more recently) Philip Howard, have not gotten very far181—though earlier this summer the state of Idaho apparently let its entire regulatory code sunset.182 Yet temporary legislation or time-limited authorization is common. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the USA PATRIOT Act are but two prominent examples of statutes initially enacted with expiration dates; subsequent Congresses revised both during reauthorization.183 Congress also enacts tax provisions on a time-limited basis, though this is often done to game the relevant budget rules.184 In such cases, Congress limits the authorization of new programs when unsure whether a given program or requirement will prove wise, or to encourage legislative reconsideration within a given period of time.

There are a host of arguments in favor of sunset provisions in organic statutes. The most obvious—and one perhaps most famously highlighted by now-Judge Guido Calabresi—is that sunset provisions increase the likelihood of culling outdated laws, programs, and agencies.185 Over time, things change, and what was once necessary may no longer be. In the alternative, an agency may remain necessary but in dire need of reform. Sunset provisions can serve as an effective oversight tool when properly employed.186

Time-limiting statutory authorizations may also facilitate rapid congressional response to apparent crises where there is a perceived need for Congress to act quickly in response to urgent threats, but where Congress may also lack the information necessary to develop the most appropriate response.187 As Roberta Romano notes, “sunsetting mitigates the predicament of legislating with minimal information and therefore running the risk of getting things seriously and, for all practical purposes permanently wrong.”188 If anything, Romano understates the value of sunsets, in that even a purportedly well-informed Congress may be misinformed or mistaken. The best understanding of many social problems at the time of legislative action may prove to have been based on faulty premises, erroneous analyses, or limited information. Legislation is never enacted with perfect knowledge, enhancing the value of legislative procedures or norms that incentivize regular reengagement with complex statutory regimes.

Being vested in certain instances with some form of legislative, executive, and judicial powers, agencies pose a new and unique threat to the separation of powers. Sunset provisions shift the burden of inertia from those in favor of repeal, to those in favor of reauthorization.189 One result of this is that—provided Congress does not blindly reauthorize an agency—if the agency has drifted from its intended purpose, Congress can modify its authorizing statute. Agency drift can thus be checked.190

For better or worse, the use of the sunset provision could also increase the probability of an organic statute’s passage in the first place. Because sunset provisions increase the probability that an agency or given statutory provision will have a limited lifespan—or at least increase the belief that the agency will have a limited lifespan—legislators may be more willing to allow such measures to pass.191

B.     Reauthorization Today

When we talk about reauthorization today, we are actually referring to two distinct yet related concepts. First, there is temporary legislation: enabling statutes that authorize a particular federal program or agency to operate for a set time period.192 Second, there is the authorization of appropriations, which, as the Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) has explained, functions to

authorize the appropriation of funds (generally discretionary) to carry out a program or function established in an enabling statute. An authorization of appropriations constitutes guidance to the Congress about the funding that may be necessary to implement an enabling statute; it may be contained in that enabling statute or provided separately. An authorization of appropriations may be annual, multiyear, or permanent. Such an authorization also may be definite or indefinite: It may authorize a specific amount or “such sums as may be necessary.”193

As for the former, perhaps more classic version of reauthorization, there is no federal repository that tracks and documents these various forms of temporary legislation—though some scholars have explored specific statutory contexts.194

As for the latter, however, Congress requires the CBO to prepare a report each year that documents all federal programs and activities for which authorization of appropriations has already expired prior to, or will expire during, the fiscal year.195 For instance, in its March 2019 report, the CBO identified 971 expired statutory authorizations of appropriations with more than $300 billion for which Congress had appropriated funding for fiscal year 2019.196 Among the major sources of expired authorizations that have nevertheless been funded are programs under the Veterans’ Health Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996, Housing and Community Development Act of 1992, and the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005.197 As reported in its searchable data supplement to the 2019 CBO report, nearly two dozen of these 971 authorizations expired in the 1980s, including the Equal Access to Courts Act as well as certain authorizations for the Federal Election Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Energy’s power marketing administration.198 The CBO, however, does not even attempt to “identify whether an enabling statute governing the relevant program or activity has expired.”199

The process of (re)authorization of appropriations should not be confused with the appropriations process itself. These are separate legislative processes that originate from distinct committees in Congress.200 The authorization of appropriations generally goes through the Senate and House subject-matter authorizing committees—the same committees that conduct oversight and consider substantive legislation relating to the particular subject matter, including creating new federal agencies and programs, amending agency governing statutes, and reauthorizing federal agencies and programs when general authorization has expired.201 The CBO annual report breaks down the details of the expiration of appropriations by authorizing committee. In the 2019 CBO report, for instance, the Committees on Natural Resources (57 laws; 135 expired appropriations) and Energy and Commerce (49; 287) had the most expired authorizations in the House, whereas the Committees on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (40; 227) and Energy and Natural Resources (20; 159) led the way in the Senate.202 As illustrated below in a number of contexts, this (re)authorization of appropriations process often leads to major substantive modifications of the organic statutes that govern federal agencies and programs.

Appropriations legislation, by contrast, does not go through these authorizing committees. Instead, the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations have exclusive jurisdiction over all discretionary spending legislation in each chamber.203 Appropriations committees have no authority to authorize federal agencies and programs; indeed, they have an obligation under chamber rules to expressly identify any federal programs to be funded by proposed appropriations legislation that lack an authorization.204 But in the modern Congress, as Barbara Sinclair, among others, has chronicled, the appropriations and budget processes have evolved into a new and predominant form of “unorthodox” substantive lawmaking, through the insertion of substantive riders in appropriations legislation that constrain agency action.205

Not only do different committees in Congress handle appropriations and authorizations, but it is also generally the case that different officials at the federal agencies handle appropriations (and budgeting) than those who deal with Congress on a regular basis with respect to agency oversight, substantive and technical statutory drafting, and the reauthorization process.206 Indeed, the Administrative Conference of the United States has identified this agency structure as problematic, recommending that federal agencies “should strive to ensure that the [agency] budget office and [agency] legislative counsel communicate so that legislative counsel will be able to provide appropriate advice on technical drafting of substantive provisions in appropriations legislation.”207

If nearly 1,000 federal programs lack reauthorization of appropriation, how do they continue to operate? After all, since the 1800s, both chambers of Congress have adopted rules that prohibit the appropriation of funding for unauthorized or expired purposes.208 For instance, current House rules detail that “[a]n appropriation may not be reported . . . for an expenditure not previously authorized by law.”209 The Senate has a similar rule.210 To block unauthorized appropriations, however, a point of order must be raised.211 Apparently these points of order are never raised during the legislative proceedings. And, if they were, the Speaker of the House and the Presiding Officer of the Senate, respectively, would have to rule on whether the appropriation lacks authorization.212

That many lapsed authorizations of appropriations are still funded does not mean Congress never engages in reauthorization. The remainder of this Section details eight prominent reauthorizations that continue to take place.

Farm Bill. Perhaps the most-known reauthorization legislation is the Farm Bill. A product of the Great Depression,213 this omnibus bill delegates a wide range of authority to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”).214 Typically, the Farm Bill requires reauthorization every five years.215 The most recent reauthorization occurred in the form of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.216 The Act includes some reforms217 and repeals,218 while reauthorizing many provisions by simply amending their dates of expiration.219 For some provisions, reauthorization came after expiration.220 Lately, such lapses are not uncommon. For instance, the previous iteration of the Farm Bill, the Agricultural Act of 2014, passed two years after the expiration of its predecessor.221 In the interlude, Congress first partially extended the 2008 Farm Bill through a continuing appropriations resolution, then extended the full Act in unaltered form through 2013.222

When Congress fails to reauthorize the Farm Bill, expiration has various consequences. Discretionary provisions and the food stamps (“SNAP”) program can be continued through appropriations bills.223 For most mandatory provisions of the Farm Bill, however, expiration can halt new activities and even cause operations to entirely cease.224 A long enough expiration will lead to a “permanent law” reset.225 This means that all the provisions and amendments that required reauthorization lose the force of law, leaving in effect only the permanent provisions on which the modern Farm Bill was built.226 This is a poison pill for all affected parties, as the statutory and regulatory scheme essentially reverts back to that dictated by the first Farm Bill, the Agriculture Adjustment Act of 1938.227 This broadly undesirable default baseline appears to provide ample incentive for the regular reauthorization of the Farm Bill.

Federal Aviation Administration. Congress recently reauthorized the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) for five years.228 This reauthorization contains a mix of appropriations reauthorizations and power reauthorizations.229 These reauthorizations occurred in a somewhat similar way to the Farm Bill. Specifically, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 simply amended the relevant subsections of title 49 of the U.S. Code “by striking ‘2018,’ and inserting ‘2023,’” into the text.230 Certain sections also amended the maximum authorized appropriations for each given year.231

And, like the Farm Bill, the FAA Reauthorization Act includes substantive changes. Some changes seem minor, such as authorizing the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a study assessing the future of airport financing and infrastructure.232 Other changes, however, aim at updating agency authority to address new technologies, including the “establish[ment of] new conditions for recreational use of drones.”233 Other legislative reforms, moreover, appear to respond to democratic wishes, such as the reauthorization’s articulation of standards to improve passenger experience on commercial airlines.234

No Child Left Behind. Unlike the Farm Bill or the FAA reauthorization, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (“ESEA”), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, does not contain any general-authority sunset provisions; it is only constrained by its limited appropriations authorization period.235 When Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, it amended ESEA by extending various appropriations authorizations through 2007,236 while also substantively modifying the ESEA, most notably by implementing standardized tests as a means of assessing student development.237 But when it came time to reauthorize appropriations, Congress failed to do so. Therefore, in 2008, the ESEA received a one-year automatic extension of the 2007 appropriation level pursuant to the General Education Provisions Act.238 After that, and without reauthorizing appropriations for ESEA, Congress simply continued to provide the programs with funding through appropriations legislation.239 Not until Congress passed the comprehensive Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, reauthorizing appropriations through 2020, did these unauthorized appropriations come to an end.240

Pipeline Safety Act. Beginning with the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968, Congress authorized the Secretary of Transportation to regulate pipeline safety standards.241 While this authority has no sunset, the Act only authorized appropriations for three years.242 Congress routinely amends the appropriations authorization date, while also periodically including substantive changes, most notably in the Pipeline Safety Act of 1979,243 the Pipeline Safety Reauthorization Act of 1988,244 and the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002.245 In 2004, Congress also created the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.246 This administration’s enabling statute likewise lacks a sunset provision for its general authority but also lacks an appropriations authority sunset.247

FDA User Fee Programs. The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) user fee programs exemplify how regular reauthorization can run smoothly. Beginning in the 1990s, Congress passed several acts authorizing the FDA to implement user fee programs, which provide funds to improve the efficiency of relevant operations.248 These programs must be and have been reauthorized every five years.249 Most recently, with the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, four of these user fee programs were reauthorized into 2022 as a collective.250 The Act also updated the enabling statutes for these and other programs through clarifying revisions251 and some substantive modifications.252 While none of the revisions appear to be comprehensive, the routine reauthorizations keep these user fee programs fine-tuned and in working order.253 Reauthorization occurs regularly because the failure to reauthorize would revert the FDA drug approval process based solely on congressional appropriations—wholly inadequate to timely process drug approval requests—and would require the FDA to lay off agency officials whose salaries are funded by the user fees.254 The Government Accounting Office reported that if the 1997 reauthorization did not occur, the FDA would have to reduce its workforce by “700 full-time equivalents” for a total of 1,977 employees.255

Export-Import Bank. The Export-Import Bank (“EXIM Bank”) is another agency requiring periodic reauthorization. The EXIM Bank first became an independent agency at the close of the Second World War with the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945.256 The Act required and continues to require periodic reauthorization.257 The most recent reauthorization occurred in 2015 as part of the larger Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (“FAST”) Act.258 This reauthorization actually came five months after the EXIM Bank’s authority lapsed, the longest such lapse in the EXIM Bank’s history.259 In 2012, the EXIM Bank had been reauthorized through 2014, and then into early 2015 with a continuing appropriations resolution.260 When the EXIM Bank’s authority lapsed for five months in 2015, it lost the ability to conduct new business.261 However, the EXIM Bank could continue servicing incurred assets and obligations.262 When it was eventually reauthorized through September 2019 as part of the FAST Act,263 the reauthorization came alongside substantive reforms. For instance, the EXIM Bank is now required to hold a five percent reserve ratio264 and appoint a chief risk officer.265 This most recent reauthorization is yet another example of how sunset provisions can lead to the continued modification and modernization of federal agencies. Legislation is pending to reauthorize the EXIM Bank through 2029 and to create a temporary board of directors in the event that the EXIM Bank board lacks a quorum.266

Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) is an example of an agency that does not have a statutory sunset but must undergo periodic reauthorization of appropriations.267 Congress created the CFTC in 1974.268 Congress limited the CFTC by only authorizing appropriations through 1978.269 The appropriations authorization has been continually amended over time.270 And the CFTC has operated without authorization of appropriations at least five times during its almost half-century existence.271 Indeed, Congress has not reauthorized appropriations for the CFTC since 2008; such authorization expired in 2013.272 Even so, Congress continues to appropriate funds to the CFTC through appropriations bills.273

PATRIOT Act. The history of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (the “PATRIOT Act”)274 illustrates the versatility of sunset provisions. The PATRIOT Act was born of chaos and tragedy. It was hastily signed into law in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.275 The PATRIOT Act clothed the government with immense authority to counter the terrorist threat.276 Perhaps due to the emergency nature of the legislative response, Congress included a sunset requirement for most of the statutory provisions concerning enhanced surveillance.277 Those sections were set for a 2005 sunset.278

This sunset spurred Congress to debate the future of the PATRIOT Act. The debate culminated in Congress passing numerous reforms.279 At the same time, Congress repealed the sunset requirement for 14 of the 16 previously covered sections and made those sections permanent.280 A sunset was retained for amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (“FISA”), which authorized “roving” surveillance and business records requests.281 Another section, originating in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, also retained its sunset provision.282 Congress reauthorized these sections until the end of 2009.283

By 2009, Democrats controlled Congress and the White House. When it came time to address the expiring sections of the PATRIOT Act, Congress failed to pass any comprehensive legislation.284 Instead, the sections received one-year temporary extensions through a defense appropriations bill.285 Then, with the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011—and without any substantive alteration—Congress extended its sunset “by striking ‘May 27, 2011’ and inserting ‘June 1, 2015[.]’”286 Nearly 14 years after 9/11, Congress once again watched the sun begin to set on the roving surveillance and business records sections of the PATRIOT Act. After allowing the sections to expire for one day,287 Congress passed the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015, the current law.288 The Act extended the sunsets by roughly four-and-a-half years until December 2019.289 It also modified FISA substantially.290

*   *   *

These eight snapshots of regular reauthorization processes merit more in-depth exploration, as they identify a number of best practices that could be adopted, and challenges that could be avoided, in reform efforts to implement a more ambitious reauthorization process in Congress. We return to those implementation details in Part V.

V.     Reauthorization as a Tool to Advance
Nondelegation Values

As we have argued in this Article, the lack of legislative action with respect to decades-old broad delegations of policymaking authority to the regulatory state poses an overlooked, temporal delegation problem. As detailed in Part II, the EPA’s attempt to regulate climate change and the FCC’s attempt to regulate the internet provide vivid illustrations of this problem: In both circumstances, the federal agencies have relied on sources of authority granted by a prior Congress that never contemplated the regulatory problem; and in both circumstances, the agencies may be exercising that decades-old broad delegation in ways that a majority of the current Congress may not prefer.

This temporal delegation problem, however, has taken on added significance with the fall of lawmaking by legislation and the rise of lawmaking by regulation. Although counting words, pages, and laws is by no means a flawless method for capturing the extent of this trend in federal lawmaking, it provides at least an imperfect snapshot. For instance, by the end of 2016, the Code of Federal Regulations exceeded 175,000 pages, tens of thousands of agency rules, and one million regulatory restrictions.291 In 2016, federal agencies reached a new regulatory record by filling over 95,000 pages of the Federal Register with adopted rules, proposed rules, and notices—nearly 20 percent more than the 80,000 or so pages published in 2015.292 Roughly two-fifths of those pages in 2016 were devoted to 3,853 final rules, an increase from the 3,410 final rules that federal agencies promulgated in 2015.293 By contrast, the 114th Congress, over that same two-year period, enacted just 329 public laws for a total of 3,035 pages in the Statutes at Large.294

In other words, we live in an era in which the vast majority of federal lawmaking does not take place in Congress, but within the hundreds of federal agencies spread across the modern regulatory state. And such lawmaking is often taken under authority that Congress delegated decades before based on legislative compromises to address different problems. One obvious potential solution to this time problem of delegation would be for Congress to legislate more regularly—especially to more jealously guard the power it delegates to the President and the regulatory state.

Congress is unlikely to resume such legislative activity on its own, at least not on a voluntary basis. Nor is exhortation enough. The costs of regular legislative activity to members of Congress apparently outweigh its benefits and the accompanying costs of dealing with statutory obsolescence. But some form of temporary legislation or mandatory reauthorization could help force Congress to take its legislative role more seriously.

As detailed in Part IV, the idea of temporary legislation or regular reauthorization is not new. On the contrary, it even predates the founding, with firm roots in the colonial era.295 Congress has used it over the years in a variety of contexts, such as national security296 and economic policy.297 Though, mandatory reauthorization requirements are often ignored during the appropriations process.298

This Part explores how Congress could better use this longstanding legislative tool to mitigate the democratic deficits that accompany broad delegations of lawmaking authority to federal agencies. This discussion is inevitably preliminary, focusing on the bigger-picture framing and leaving the implementation details to those with more expertise in the legislative process. Section V.A sketches out the various tools Congress could use to force regular reauthorization, whereas Section V.B grapples with potential objections to Congress’ use of this reauthorization toolbox. Section V.C explores a number of potential side benefits that this legislative toolbox will produce beyond addressing the delegation issue.

A.     Implementation of a Regular Reauthorization Regime

When it comes to implementing a regular reauthorization regime, there are two main issues: the breadth of the reauthorization mandate and the means to encourage congressional compliance with the reauthorization requirement.

1.     Breadth of Reauthorization Mandate

History gives us a number of alternatives—some more sweeping than others—for tailoring the breadth of the reauthorization mandate. As Thomas Merrill has remarked, “[s]unset provisions come in various forms. They can apply to entire statutes, to particular statutory provisions, to agency regulations and programs, or to administrative agencies themselves.”299 On the one extreme, Congress could consider enacting a universal sunset statute that would require the reauthorization of any federal agency or program within a certain number of years. As discussed in Section IV.A, many state sunset laws, for instance, applied across the board. The failure to reauthorize would lead the sun to set on the entire agency or program, thus barring any subsequent appropriation.

This one-size-fits-all approach would be bold, yet foolish.300 It would certainly need to be designed to avoid the dramatic bottleneck Congress would encounter in potentially having to reauthorize everything at once. The legislation would need to spread out the reauthorization requirements over a number of years, taking into account the work of each authorizing committee.

Congress can and should be nimbler in its reauthorization approach. Statutes vary, and action-forcing reforms may not be appropriate for all regulatory contexts.301 For some federal programs and perhaps some entire federal agencies, it might make sense to incorporate express sunset provisions. Such a blanket sun-setting threat would force Congress to take a fresh look at the agency’s regulatory activities and whether the program or agency continues to effectively fulfill the purpose for which Congress created it.

A narrower program- or agency-specific sun-setting approach has the additional benefit of involving the House and Senate authorizing committees in deciding whether to include, and how to design, the sunset provision. These committees are the same that exercise oversight functions over the particular programs, agencies, and subject matters, and thus are in a better position to tailor sunset provisions that take into account the unique characteristics of the particular regulatory areas. One critical decision the authorizing committees will need to make is the size of the authorization window before the sunset. For some regulatory contexts, that window will be quite small, perhaps even within the same presidential administration. As Roberta Romano has argued, such short time limits may be particularly appropriate for new, temporary, or emergency-driven agency programs.302 For others, however, one could imagine a larger window of five, seven, ten, or even more years. A longer time horizon may be particularly appropriate where new administrative programs require an extended period of time to implement or when the agency programs might generate too much uncertainty or brinksmanship for continuing programs. Indeed, such considerations may counsel against the inclusion of any sunset provision.

Congress, moreover, does not face a binary choice between a complete sunset of an agency or program, or permanent legislation. It may also incorporate statutory sunset defaults, to which the agency or program resets if not reauthorized. For instance, in 2015, when Congress failed to reauthorize the EXIM Bank for the first time in 81 years, the result was not the agency’s closure.303 Instead, the expiration of authorization merely resulted in the agency being unable to take on new customers; it would continue to have statutory authority to service existing customers.304 It is also worth noting that that particular lapse in authorization lasted for only a matter of months, and the reauthorization resulted in a number of important legislative reforms to the agency305 and another (roughly) four years until the next sunset deadline.306

In some regulatory contexts, it might be advantageous to set the sunset default as something that would force Congress to revisit and reauthorize the agency or program. In the case of regulatory agencies, the lack of authorization could mean that an agency lacks the ability to act with the force of law. In effect, without a valid authorization, it could not be said that the agency has been delegated such authority.

Authorization for the Clean Air Act, to take one example, expired in 1998.307 Under this hypothetical proposal, the EPA would lack the ability to promulgate new regulations, issue new permits to regulated facilities, and perhaps even initiate new enforcement actions unless and until the Act was reauthorized. The expired authorization would not affect the validity of regulations already promulgated, however. Nor would it prevent state-level enforcement under previously approved state implementation plans or the filing of citizen suits against facilities for violating existing permits, regulations, or statutory provisions. Such a state of affairs would provide ample incentive for environmentalist organizations and regulated firms to support reauthorization, as each would find the default baseline undesirable—thus providing Congress with the opportunity and, indeed, the need to revisit and reconsider particularly obsolete or ineffective provisions in the law, much as has occurred with the Farm Bill.

Similarly, in the immigration context, perhaps Congress would tie reauthorization together for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). Failure to reauthorize could result in these agencies being unable to issue new removal orders and new visa and work permits for those who are presently inside the United States, while preserving the agencies’ ability to regulate such matters at entry into and exit from the country. In that sense, such a sunset default is reminiscent of the “hammer” provisions Congress has incorporated into certain rulemaking processes where an automatic agency action is triggered if the agency does not finish the rulemaking within the statutorily mandated deadline.308

The idea, in other words, would be to set the default to avoid catastrophic outcomes while still imposing significant costs on politically diverse groups so as to increase political pressure and swift congressional action. And, again, the authorizing committees would lead the way to craft such sunset defaults, leveraging their expertise in the subject matter that the committees gained through their oversight efforts. Sunset defaults may be particularly effective when they, in effect, stop the agency from growing but still allow the regulatory structure to remain in effect with the essential maintenance functions continuing. In that sense, this concept is somewhat analogous to what the federal government does when there is a complete shutdown, in that essential employees continue to ensure the agency’s provision of essential services.309 The difference would be that Congress would set by statute which services would continue under the sunset default. In other contexts, the more effective sunset default may be to dramatically increase regulatory activity. In one sense, that is what occurs in the above proposals of the EPA ceasing to grant permits or the USCIS ceasing to grant visas and work permits.

A softer approach would shift away from reauthorization or sunset provisions in agency organic statutes that require a governing statute to be reauthorized and, instead, turn to the more modern innovation of reauthorization of appropriations. As outlined in Section IV.B, in addition to temporary legislation and sunset provisions for certain federal programs and agencies, Congress frequently inserts authorization of appropriations provisions in substantive legislation. Indeed, when we talk about reauthorization, these two concepts are conflated and confused.

Consider again, for instance, the CFTC. The CFTC has operated without authorization of appropriations at least five times during its almost half-century existence and currently is acting without authorization.310 Then-CFTC Commissioner Walt Lukken referred to this legislative process as “periodic reauthorization,” but it is technically the process of periodic reauthorization of appropriations.311 By only tying agency funding to reauthorization, Congress can lower the stakes a bit for reauthorization. The agency remains in place; it just may have to stop certain operations and programs that are expressly tied to that particular appropriation.

One may respond that reauthorization of appropriations is toothless, because it does not force Congress to reconsider the agency’s substantive mandate, just its level of funding for operations. And that reauthorization could result in a one-sentence, rubber-stamp amendment just extending the authorization of appropriations. But that is not necessarily the case. After all, the authorizing committees—not appropriations committees—are in charge of reauthorizing appropriations, so they may invoke their oversight authority and leverage their substantive expertise. Indeed, Lukken has documented how CFTC reauthorization of appropriations has led to a dramatic modernization of the CFTC’s statutory mandate.312 It has also led to encouraging the CFTC to operate more effectively in order to achieve a more routine reauthorization process than some of its sibling financial regulators enjoy. After all, “[r]outine reauthorizations,” Lukken observed, “must be earned over time, not simply granted.”313

Similar to tailoring general reauthorization to include sunset defaults, Congress could design authorization of appropriations provisions to target agency actions that would encourage Congress to reauthorize but not lead to catastrophic outcomes. Perhaps an agency would continue to have funding to enforce current regulations and permits, but not to make new regulations or new permits. Congress could also target for reauthorization of appropriations new agency programs or agency activities that touch on emerging or changing technologies, so the agency has better incentives to respond to congressional wishes and secure congressional approval.

To be sure, asking Congress to rethink its approach to reauthorization or to reauthorization of appropriations is not a modest proposal. Perhaps Congress should begin with the more incremental approach: at least requiring, by statute, that the authorizing committees conduct some sort of oversight over the federal agency or program before Congress can pass appropriations legislation to renew funding for that agency or program. That would encourage authorizing committees to more closely monitor agency regulatory activities, and it would also encourage federal agencies to more carefully implement their statutory mandates and be more responsive to their congressional principals.314

In sum, Congress has a diverse reauthorization toolkit, ranging from an across-the-board sunset requirement to the modest requirement of conducting oversight before allowing reappropriation of funding. These are not new tools. But they could be incorporated more systemically in the legislative process to encourage Congress to engage in more regular legislative activity with respect to the statutes that govern federal agencies and programs.

2.     Means to Encourage Congressional Compliance

Even if Congress were to use this reauthorization toolbox more systematically and effectively, such efforts would still fall short unless Congress dusted off and more strictly enforced the more-than-a-century-old House and Senate rules prohibiting Congress from appropriating funds for unauthorized or expired federal agencies and programs. As noted in Section IV.B, appropriations committees, by chamber rules, have a duty to identify proposed funding for unauthorized or expired federal agencies and programs, and Congress has charged the CBO, by statute, to report to Congress annually on which authorizations of appropriations have already expired or will expire during the given fiscal year. The CBO identified nearly 1,000 such expired authorizations of appropriations in its 2019 report.315

Yet Congress apparently never enforces these rules against appropriation without authorization. That is because the current rules contemplate that a point of order must be raised—a procedural rule that apparently is never invoked. And, even if it could be successfully invoked, the House and Senate rules dictate that the Speaker of the House and the Presiding Officer of the Senate would have to rule on whether the appropriation lacks authorization.

To reverse this custom, the first step may be for various members of Congress to unite in their calls for these chambers’ rules to be enforced during the appropriations process. These calls could be backed by the threat of members raising the point of order if there is not a good-faith attempt at compliance. However, the Speaker or Presiding Officer may still rule that the appropriation does not lack authorization, or the chamber may decide to change its rules to avoid the appropriations process stalling over such a procedural point of order.316

The more lasting approach would be to encourage Congress to change its rules to make the prohibition of appropriations without authorization self-executing—albeit, still subject to majoritarian override. Such an approach would shift the burden of inertia onto the corner-cutters, and in so doing, could spur Congress into action.

A similar approach would be to include in the various authorizing statutes express mandates that bar agencies from spending appropriated funding on unauthorized or expired programs or operations. In this way, even if the appropriations have not been authorized, Congress can still include them in an appropriations bill. However, Congress would then have to return to the authorizing statute and amend it before the agency could spend any of the appropriated funds.

A more aggressive approach would be to provide for judicial review of agency actions on the basis that they lack statutory authorization of appropriations. Such a judicial-review provision could be inserted into reauthorization statutes of agency organic statutes. Or, more ambitiously, Congress could modernize Section 706 of the Administrative Procedure Act to expressly allow for judicial challenges to any agency action that lacks statutory authorization of appropriations.317

The wisdom of judicial review in this context exceeds this Article’s ambitions. But the bottom line is that Congress has various avenues for creating incentives, if not commands, to prohibit the appropriation of funding to federal programs or agencies that lack a current authorization (or authorization of appropriations). And members of Congress need not wait for a majority to attempt to move this project forward. A minority just needs to unite to call for Congress to enforce its own longstanding rules, with the threat that they will use congressional procedure to try to force Congress to do so.

*   *   *

This discussion of how to implement a regular reauthorization regime is necessarily preliminary. Any approach to implementation requires further development and empirical investigation. For instance, one needs to carefully consider the internal dynamics of Congress at the committee, leadership, and chamber levels, the role of congressional procedures and norms, the effect on reauthorization of divided versus unified government, and the role of electoral pressures—just to name a few. More in-depth study needs to be done regarding current attempts at regular reauthorization, such as the eight snapshots depicted in Section IV.B. We hope this Article helps frame and spur that further investigation.

B.     Responses to Objections

We do not endeavor to defend the position that legislation is constitutionally or normatively better than regulation when it comes to making laws that affect core value judgments or that address questions of major economic, political, or social significance—though our priors on that debate should be quite apparent. Nor do we seek to provide a full defense for the preference for temporary over permanent legislation.318 And, to be sure, there are strong critics that raise serious concerns.319 Instead, our main objective in this Article is to identify the underexplored temporal problems with broad congressional delegations and suggest one potential solution to this problem: regular, mandatory reauthorization of federal programs and agencies.

That said, three objections merit at least a brief response in this preliminary investigation of a regular reauthorization regime.

1.     Congressional Incapacity

A common argument against an Article I renaissance in federal lawmaking is that the federal government has become so vast and complicated that Congress lacks the capacity to be a primary lawmaker. This congressional incapacity argument is at least two-fold: Congress lacks the expertise to make the laws, and it lacks sufficient time to regularly legislate.

In the agency reauthorization context, this argument may take on special significance. After all, federal regulation has become highly technical and complex. Federal agencies employ tens of thousands of scientists, economists, lawyers, and other experts to effectively regulate. Similarly, there are hundreds of agencies implementing even more statutes, such that reauthorization of all of those statutes would take more time than Congress could ever allocate while still fulfilling its other obligations to address new problems via legislation, complete regular appropriations, and fulfill its other obligations, such as the Senate’s advise and consent function for administrative and judicial nominations. Indeed, mandatory reauthorization could displace resources necessary for Congress to pursue other objectives which those who elected them would prefer it prioritize. In other words, mandatory authorization could interfere with politically accountable agenda-setting. The time constraint issues are particularly acute in light of the barriers in the Senate for quick and efficient deliberation, including the legislative filibuster and the cloture floor time requirements.

Whereas the time constraint argument raises serious concerns, discussed below, the congressional expertise argument is less compelling. Congress has the capacity to enhance its institutional capacity and expertise. Indeed, the historical innovation of standing authorizing committees was a direct response to lawmaking power shifting to the Executive Branch.320 To be sure, as Josh Chafetz has helpfully pointed out, congressional capacity has declined precipitously in recent decades—both in terms of sheer numbers and inflation-adjusted pay of staffers for committees and members alike.321 The hollowing out of congressional support agencies, such as the Congressional Research Service, Congressional Budget Office, and Office of Technology Assessment (the latter of which no longer exists), has been even more dramatic.322

We agree that, as part of the call for Congress to resume its regular legislative role, Congress should also engage in “growing its staff, increasing their pay, and marshaling the resources necessary to play a more vigorous role in governance.”323 One potential positive side effect of our proposal could be an increased incentive for Congress to ensure it has the staff resources and expertise necessary for meaningful oversight and reauthorization of administrative agencies. In any event, we do not think Congress’ past decisions to limit its own capacity should be an excuse for a lack of meaningful engagement with administrative agencies.

It is also worth noting that Congress does not legislate on its own. It turns out that federal agencies are deeply involved in helping draft the legislation that grants them the discretion to regulate and constrains such discretion. They do so by drafting substantive legislation suggesting to Congress that they advance the agency’s or the administration’s policy preferences. They also “legislat[e] in the shadows,” as one of us has framed it, by providing confidential technical drafting assistance on draft legislation proposed by Congress.324 The substantial role federal agencies play in the legislative process may raise some separation-of-powers concerns—or perhaps not. But their role does undercut the argument that Congress lacks access to the expertise necessary to effectively legislate in these increasingly complex regulatory areas. Federal agencies are Congress’ partners and agents in this legislative process. And regulated entities and other interest groups are similarly involved, sharing their expertise and lobbying for their interests. Another welcome side effect of regular reauthorization is that members and their staff serving on the various standing authorizing committees will necessarily gain greater subject-matter expertise, become more familiar with the federal agencies their committees oversee, and deepen the committees’ working relationship with those agencies. In so doing, they will hopefully be better positioned to ensure that congressional staffers and members—not bureaucrats or interest groups—are the primary drafters and drivers of the legislative process.325

The time constraints are more compelling—but not insurmountable. After all, perhaps we should not worry too much about overtaxing a system that seems to expend so much energy on what amounts to so little of consequence these days. More to the point, Congress has developed a potent toolbox of procedural mechanisms to incentivize more responsive and timely legislative action. Congress may use unanimous consent or other methods to expedite consideration of relatively noncontroversial actions, including both legislative measures as well as the approval of nominees (of which there are hundreds with each new presidential administration).

When sufficient consensus does not exist, Congress can turn to other legislative tools. The Congressional Review Act, discussed in Section III.B., provides one example. There, Congress approved of a simple-majority resolution process, such that the filibuster does not apply in the Senate. Trade promotion authority, formerly known as fast track trade authorization, is another example.326 That statutory innovation required Congress to approve or deny the President’s trade negotiation, without having the ability to amend or filibuster.327 One could imagine similar legislative innovations being developed to efficiently process mandatory reauthorization legislation. Bills could be fast-tracked and prioritized on the calendar, amendments could be prohibited, the filibuster could be bypassed, and floor debate-time and amendment process could be severely limited—to mention just a few options.

Even with those innovations, however, Congress will need to be deliberate in how it handles reauthorizations. The standing authorizing committees will need to play an important role, and Congress may need to rely even more heavily on subcommittees to conduct the oversight and legislative development. The committees and the collective Congress will need to space out the reauthorization deadlines over the years to ensure sufficient committee and floor time to meet the deadlines and to minimize distortion in Congress’ agenda-setting priorities. The time constraints will impose costs, but we are not convinced that such costs outweigh the important benefits of Congress addressing the temporal problems of delegation.328

2.     Anti-Regulatory Disposition

Especially in light of the costs in terms of congressional resources and agenda-setting, some may argue that requiring regular reauthorization of federal programs and agencies will create a bias against regulation. Perhaps this proposal is just another example of what Gillian Metzger has proclaimed is “a resurgence of the antiregulatory and antigovernment forces that lost the battle of the New Deal.”329

Practical experience with sunset provisions and temporary legislation, at both the state and federal level, does not support the claim that such mechanisms are inherently anti-regulatory. At the state level, sunset requirements appear to have done more to encourage legislative engagement and oversight of administrative agencies than to eliminate or prevent regulation.330 At the federal level, periodic reauthorization has been used to update—and often to increase the stringency of—regulatory statutes, such as the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.331 As William Eskridge has observed, “sunsetting can also increase regulatory ambition and agency authority.”332 This is particularly true when one considers that federal agencies play a substantial role in drafting the legislation—oftentimes “legislating in the shadows” through confidential technical drafting assistance.333

An unstated assumption of the “anti-regulatory” critique is that legislatures are necessarily more hostile to regulatory intervention than administrative agencies. While there are reasons to suspect that agencies will tend to support measures that enhance their own power and influence, there are reasons to doubt the underlying claim. However much influence economic interests have in the legislative process, such interests are also the dominant participants within the administrative process.334

It is certainly true that Congress sometimes delegates power to administrative agencies with the hope or expectation that such agencies will promulgate regulations that members of Congress were unwilling to overtly embrace. Yet it is also true that Congress sometimes delegates responsibility for developing regulations to agencies as a means of forestalling or preventing the adoption of such rules, such as occurred with the first federal vehicle emission standards.335

Whatever its faults, the legislative process tends to be more open and transparent than the administrative process. As a comparative matter, we suggest that members of Congress are more accountable for their votes in favor or against substantive legislative proposals than they are for supporting or opposing the grant of power to federal agencies.336 Having to debate and deliberate over the reauthorization of specific laws may help facilitate the arrival of “republican moments” of the sort that have led to significant bouts of lawmaking.337 David Schoenbrod, who spent years at the Natural Resources Defense Council trying to reduce lead air pollution, makes a plausible case that Congress would have done more to reduce lead from gasoline—and more quickly—had it been unable to simply delegate the question to the EPA and been forced to address the issue directly.338

At the same time, it is undeniable that Congress is unlikely to support the continuation or reauthorization of costly and expansive federal regulatory programs where such programs face significant political opposition. In the early 1990s, there was significant political support for adopting a series of regulatory reform measures when reauthorizing federal environmental laws. Although the reforms had bipartisan support, they were opposed by the House leadership and most major environmentalist organizations.339 Because there were no real consequences from failing to renew the authorizations of “expired” statutes, the reauthorization bills were shelved, preventing the adoption of regulatory reforms for which there appeared to be significant political support.340

Overall, the primary effect of sunsets or reauthorization requirements should be to bring more regular legislative engagement and greater democratic accountability. In some cases, this is likely to result in greater federal regulation, and in other cases not. If there is broad support for increased regulation, requiring reauthorization should produce that result in a more accountable way than the status quo, particularly if reauthorization requirements are drafted in a way that incentivizes broad engagement in the reauthorization process and makes it difficult for Congress to shirk responsibility. Yet while sunsets and reauthorization requirements may not tilt the playing field for or against regulation, we expect that the contours of existing agency authority would evolve quite differently than if such requirements were not in place. Forced to reauthorize programs on a regular basis, Congress is more likely to consider whether prior delegations of authority match with contemporary demands and understandings. Were Congress forced to revisit the Clean Air Act, for example, it is possible that Congress would enact provisions delegating authority tailored to contemporary problems, such as climate change, rather than leave the EPA to attempt to shoehorn such concerns into the regulatory structures drafted to address different sorts of environmental concerns.

3.     Regulatory Uncertainty and Distorted Policymaking

A more potent objection might be that regular reauthorization requirements could induce greater regulatory uncertainty. After all, as Aaron Nielson has framed it, federal agencies can promulgate “sticky regulations,” which bring more certainty and reliability to the regulatory scheme and thus “create incentives designed to encourage regulated parties to develop technologies that help agencies accomplish their long-term goals.”341 There is no question that the prospect of regular legislative reauthorization introduces the prospect that existing regulatory requirements could change, and perhaps change more quickly than with informal rulemaking. Others may be concerned that regular reauthorization and legislative engagement will result in distorted policymaking due to log-rolling and the influence of interest groups.

Such concerns are real but can be ameliorated in various ways. Among other things, Congress could draft reauthorization requirements that are forward-looking. As suggested above, one way to incentivize reauthorization is to require agency action to be authorized if agencies are to act with the force of law, but not to eliminate existing rules or regulations when agency authorizations expire. If reauthorization occurs on a regular schedule, it will also be possible for the regulated community to anticipate when existing regulatory frameworks are “in play,” and to plan accordingly.

The prospect of reauthorization will certainly encourage interest groups, economic and otherwise, to be more engaged in the legislative process, but that can be a feature as much as a bug. Legislative deal-making, coalition-building, and compromise are all essential features of legislating. Log-rolling and rent-seeking are undoubtedly part-and-parcel of the legislative process, but that is inherent in democratic decision-making within a representative republic. Moreover, it is not as if rent-seeking is absent from the administrative process—though rent-seeking at the agency level may well be less transparent. The aim of this proposal is to encourage more legislative engagement because of the benefits that brings; this is not a cure-all designed to address every inadequacy or pathology within contemporary policymaking.

C.     Implications Beyond Nondelegation

Although Congress engaging in regular reauthorization could result in some of the costs discussed in Section V.B, it would, of course, also produce some important benefits.

Central to this Article, such legislative activity would help Congress address the temporal problems of broad, decades-old delegations of lawmaking power to federal agencies. Regular reauthorization should encourage Congress to revisit such delegations—giving Congress an opportunity to update old statutory delegations, revisit unpopular ones, and rein in or redirect agency actions inconsistent with current congressional and electoral preferences. In so doing, Congress could more easily modernize statutes in light of improved scientific understandings or other changing circumstances, and in turn improve agency efficiency and effectiveness. Congress would also be in a better position to more easily narrow overly broad delegations granted by prior Congresses.

Regular reauthorization would also produce a number of incidental benefits. A couple are worth briefly exploring here: how it would help strengthen the relationship between Congress and federal agencies and how it would help alleviate some of the concerns about judicial deference doctrines.

1.     Relationship Between Congress and Agencies

In their landmark study on statutory drafting within Congress, Lisa Bressman and Abbe Gluck reported that the surveyed congressional drafters “saw agencies as the everyday statutory interpreters, viewed interpretive rules as tools for agencies, too, and made no distinction, as some scholars have, between agency statutory ‘implementation’ and agency statutory ‘interpretation.’”342 A companion study of federal agency rule drafters reached a similar conclusion: Federal agencies—and not federal courts—“are the primary partners of Congress in agency statutory interpretation” and law implementation.343

As one of us has empirically explored in a report commissioned by the Administrative Conference of the United States (“ACUS”), federal agencies play a critical and substantial role in drafting statutes: “Indeed, they are often the chief architects of the statutes they administer. Even when federal agencies are not the primary substantive authors, they routinely respond to congressional requests to provide technical assistance in statutory drafting.”344 It turns out that federal agencies provide statutory drafting assistance on the vast majority of proposed legislation that directly affects them and on most legislation that gets enacted—regardless of whether the legislation would be detrimental to the agency.345 Agency officials report that their agencies engage in this legislative drafting assistance for a number of reasons, including to “maintain a healthy and productive working relationship with Congress” and to “educate the congressional staffers about the agency’s existing statutory and regulatory framework.”346

A regular reauthorization process would only increase the opportunity for meaningful interaction between the congressional principal and its administrative agents. Indeed, of the ten agencies studied in the ACUS report, one agency—the USDA—engaged in a regular reauthorization process.347 The USDA is involved in the Farm Bill reauthorization that takes place every five to six years.348 Those interviewed at the USDA emphasized how these reauthorization efforts greatly strengthened the agency’s relationship with its authorizing and oversight committees in Congress.349 If reauthorization were more common, other agencies would no doubt have similar opportunities to strengthen their relationship with Congress and thus be able to better understand, and be responsive to, current congressional preferences. Congress, in turn, would have more opportunities to reshape statutory mandates to respond to agency feedback on current challenges and new circumstances.

2.     Effects on Judicial Deference Doctrines

In recent years, we have seen a growing call to rethink administrative law’s deference doctrines to federal agency interpretations of law.350 As is relevant here, Chevron deference commands a reviewing court to defer to an agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous statute that the agency administers, so long as the interpretation is reasonable.351

One of the core challenges to Chevron deference is that it interferes with Congress’ legislative role. In particular, Article I vests Congress with “[a]ll legislative Powers,” yet Chevron deference encourages members of Congress to delegate broad lawmaking power to federal agencies.352 As Third Circuit Judge Kent Jordan put it, “[t]he consequent aggrandizement of federal executive power at the expense of the legislature leads to perverse incentives, as Congress is encouraged to pass vague laws and leave it to agencies to fill in the gaps, rather than undertaking the difficult work of reaching consensus on divisive issues.”353

The constitutional challenge to Chevron deference strikes us as lacking, at least in its current form. But Judge Jordan’s observation nevertheless carries considerable force as a normative matter. Not only does Chevron deference encourage Congress to delegate broadly, but it also discourages Congress from revisiting prior delegations. This is problematic not just because Congress is unlikely to revisit an agency statutory interpretation that a court has identified as a reasonable but not optimal interpretation. William Eskridge has made a similar observation as to the democratic dangers of permanent legislation:

One of the realities you have to confront is that when Congress passes these [permanent] statutes, however specific or general they are, Congress sets afloat a ship in an ocean that Congress is not necessarily going to control. The steering of the ship is not by members of Congress; it’s mainly by agencies, with judges often playing an important role as well. So the interaction of agency interpretations, judicial pushback, agency response, and group responses to all of this creates a very, very different statute. There is a genuine danger in our republic where the dynamic lawmaking, which is inherent in our separation of powers, removes important statutory mandates like the Voting Rights Act from the democratic process and from any sense of democratic accountability.354

The lack of any serious threat of legislative action, moreover, may encourage federal agencies to be even bolder in their regulatory efforts. Indeed, empirical work on agency rule drafters suggests that the mere threat of a more searching review—or, here, the threat of congressional attention—would encourage federal agencies to interpret statutes less “aggressively.”355 Unless there is a serious threat of legislative action, “agencies may come to view congressional oversight as just the cost of doing business and not a real constraint on regulatory activity.”356

For many of us, Chevron deference has become far more problematic in the current era of congressional inaction. Congress appears to have no capacity or willpower to intervene when an agency has used statutory ambiguity to pursue a policy inconsistent with current congressional wishes, much less when an agency’s organic statute is so outdated as to not equip the agency with authority and direction to address new technologies, challenges, and circumstances. If Congress were to engage in a regular reauthorization process, however, many of these concerns would be alleviated. Were Congress required to revisit agency statutory interpretations and delegations, courts would not have to worry as much about broad delegations, and they would not have less occasion to rely on arguments concerning legislative acquiescence.

Regular reauthorization may also produce similar salutary effects for another judicial deference doctrine: statutory stare decisis. The doctrine of stare decisis commands courts to not revisit judicial precedent absent some “special justification” beyond mere wrongness.357 And, when it comes to statutory holdings—as opposed to constitutional ones—stare decisis carries “special force.”358 Indeed, the Supreme Court has stressed that statutory stare decisis applies “whether [the Court’s] decision focused only on statutory text or also relied . . . on the policies and purposes animating the law.”359 Stare decisis currently carries more force in the statutory context, the Court has explained, because those who think the judiciary got the issue wrong “can take their objections across the street, and Congress can correct any mistake it sees.”360

If Congress continues its current trend of legislative inaction, one could imagine growing calls—similar to those already being raised against Chevron deference—for the Court to reconsider its approach to statutory stare decisis. Regular reauthorization would hopefully alleviate some of those concerns by forcing Congress to revisit existing statutes more regularly, especially those statutes that have been interpreted by agencies and courts in a way inconsistent with current congressional wishes.

VI.     Conclusion

Although four Justices expressed interest last Term in revitalizing the nondelegation doctrine,361 and Justice Kavanaugh joined that call this Term,362 the Supreme Court is unlikely to rediscover an administrable principle in the nondelegation doctrine any time soon. Congress will continue to face myriad incentives to delegate broad statutory authority to federal agencies and few incentives to revisit those broad delegations. And the President and federal agencies will continue to leverage such delegated authority. It will be difficult to change the legislative process (or constitutional doctrine) to decrease the breadth of statutory delegation to federal agencies.

So perhaps combatting the breadth of statutory delegations is the wrong focus. Or at least we should not focus myopically on breadth. Instead, as this Article argues, we should also attend to the overlooked temporal problems of delegation. In other words, not only is the breadth of delegation problematic. So is the fact that federal agencies use decades-old congressional delegations of authority to regulate new technologies and circumstances that were wholly unanticipated by the enacting Congress and perhaps would not garner support in the current Congress.

Unlike the breadth problem of congressional delegation, the temporal problem has a plausible path forward, albeit a difficult one. Congress needs to return to a regular practice of legislating and, in so doing, revisit prior delegations of authority to federal agencies. To encourage such legislative action, Congress should engage in regular reauthorization of federal agencies and programs and should take seriously its foundational rule against appropriation without authorization.

  1. [1]. Gundy v. United States, 139 S. Ct. 2116 (2019).

  2. [2]. U.S. Const. art. I, §1.

  3. [3]. See Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361, 371–72 (1989) (“[W]e long have insisted that ‘the integrity and maintenance of the system of government ordained by the Constitution’ mandate that Congress generally cannot delegate its legislative power to another Branch.” (quoting Field v. Clark, 143 U.S. 649, 692 (1892))).

  4. [4]. J.W. Hampton, Jr. & Co. v. United States, 276 U.S. 394, 409 (1928).

  5. [5]. Am. Power & Light Co. v. SEC, 329 U.S. 90, 105 (1946).

  6. [6]. Gundy, 139 S. Ct. at 2121; cf. id. at 2131 (Alito, J., concurring in the judgment) (“Because I cannot say that the statute lacks a discernable standard that is adequate under the approach this Court has taken for many years, I vote to affirm.”).

  7. [7]. See A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, 295 U.S. 495, 550–51 (1935); Panama Ref. Co. v. Ryan, 293 U.S. 388, 433 (1935). As Cass Sunstein quipped, “[w]e might say that the conventional doctrine has had one good year, and 211 bad ones (and counting).” Cass R. Sunstein, Nondelegation Canons, 67 U. Chi. L. Rev. 315, 322 (2000). Schechter Poultry and Panama Refining Co. are the two cases usually cited as the only successful nondelegation doctrine challenges, but the Court in Carter v. Carter Coal Co. seemed to invalidate one provision of the Bituminous Coal Conservation Act on nondelegation grounds in an opinion that struck down the rest of the law for violating the Commerce Clause. See Carter v. Carter Coal Co., 298 U.S.
    238, 311, 323–24 (1936). But see Alexander “Sasha” Volokh, The Shadow Debate over Private Nondelegation in DOT v. Association of American Railroads, 2014–2015 Cato Sup. Ct. Rev. 359, 372 (2015) (arguing that “when the Carter Coal Court talks about ‘legislative delegation in its most obnoxious form,’ it’s much more plausible that this refers to the Due Process Clause”).

  8. [8]. See, e.g., Whitman v. Am. Trucking Ass’ns, 531 U.S. 457, 472–76 (2001) (surveying unsuccessful nondelegation challenges).

  9. [9]. See Gundy, 139 S. Ct. at 2148 (Gorsuch, J., dissenting) (arguing that the nondelegation doctrine should not permit Congress to “hand off to the nation’s chief prosecutor the power to write his own criminal code”).

  10. [10]. Id. at 2120, 2129–30. Further, as Gary Lawson observes, “Gundy is the first time since 1935 that more than two justices in a case have expressed interest in reviving some substantive principle against subdelegation of legislative authority.” Gary Lawson, “I’m Leavin’ It (All) up to You”: Gundy and the (Sort-of) Resurrection of the Subdelegation Doctrine, 2018–2019 Cato Sup. Ct. Rev. 31, 33 (2019). Two Justices had expressed such an interest in 1981. See Am. Textile Mfrs. Inst. v. Donovan, 452 U.S. 490, 543–48 (1981) (Rehnquist, J., dissenting).

  11. [11]. Gundy, 139 S. Ct. at 2131 (Alito, J., concurring in the judgment).

  12. [12]. Id.

  13. [13]. Id. at 2139 (Gorsuch, J., dissenting).

  14. [14]. Kristin E. Hickman, Gundy, Nondelegation, and Never-Ending Hope, Reg. Rev. (July 8, 2019), [
    /8H4H-B9MN]; accord Mila Sohoni, Opinion Analysis: Court Refuses to Resurrect Nondelegation Doctrine, SCOTUSblog (June 20, 2019, 10:32 PM),
    opinion-analysis-court-refuses-to-resurrect-nondelegation-doctrine [] (“For the nondelegation doctrine, the significance of Gundy lies not in what the Supreme Court did today, but in what the dissent and the concurrence portend for tomorrow.”).

  15. [15]. Paul v. United States, 140 S. Ct. 342, 342 (2019) (mem.), denying cert. to United States v. Paul, 718 F. App’x 360 (6th Cir. 2017).

  16. [16]. See, e.g., Sunstein, supra note 7, at 315–16 (“I believe that the [nondelegation] doctrine is alive and well. It has been relocated rather than abandoned.... Rather than invalidating federal legislation as excessively open-ended, courts hold that federal administrative agencies may not engage in certain activities unless and until Congress has expressly authorized them to do so. The relevant choices must be made legislatively rather than bureaucratically. As a technical matter, the key holdings are based not on the nondelegation doctrine but on certain ‘canons’ of construction.”).

  17. [17]. Gundy, 139 S. Ct. at 2141 (Gorsuch, J., dissenting) (footnote omitted).

  18. [18]. King v. Burwell, 135 S. Ct. 2480, 2488–89 (2015); see also Jonathan H. Adler & Michael F. Cannon, King v. Burwell and the Triumph of Selective Contextualism, 2014–2015 Cato Sup. Ct. Rev. 35, 69 (2015) (highlighting Chief Justice Roberts’ reasoning that “resolving the ambiguity was the job of the Court because the underlying question ... was sufficiently ‘extraordinary,’ and of such ‘deep economic and political significance’”); Kent Barnett & Christopher J. Walker, Response, Short-Circuiting the New Major Questions Doctrine, 70 Vand. L. Rev. En Banc 147, 148 (2017) (“In King v. Burwell, Chief Justice Roberts ... crafted a new major questions doctrine that narrowed the scope of Chevron deference.”); Stephanie Hoffer & Christopher J. Walker, Is the Chief Justice a Tax Lawyer?, 43 Pepp. L. Rev. (Ann. Volume) 33, 39–46 (2015) (suggesting that the Chief Justice’s articulation of the major questions doctrine in King v. Burwell may be limited by the tax-exceptionalist nature of the case).

  19. [19]. King, 135 S. Ct. at 2489 (quoting Util. Air Regulatory Grp. v. EPA, 573 U.S. 302, 324 (2014)).

  20. [20]. Whitman v. Am. Trucking Ass’ns, 531 U.S. 457, 468 (2001). See generally Jacob Loshin & Aaron Nielson, Hiding Nondelegation in Mouseholes, 62 Admin. L. Rev. 19 (2010) (reviewing literature and providing a summary of the doctrinal development of the nondelegation doctrine).

  21. [21]. Note, The Mysteries of the Congressional Review Act, 122 Harv. L. Rev. 2162, 2162–63 (2009).

  22. [22]. See Congressional Review Act—115th Congress, Geo. Wash. Reg. Stud. Ctr., available at [] (last updated June 1, 2018). In addition, Congress also used the CRA to invalidate two regulations promulgated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) after President Trump assumed office. See infra notes 135
    –36 and accompanying text.

  23. [23]. S. 92, 116th Cong. § 3 (2019) (defining a “major rule” as one that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has deemed would “result in ... (A) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; ... (B) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or
    ... (C) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises”); see also Jonathan R. Siegel, The REINS Act and the Struggle to Control Agency Rulemaking, 16 N.Y.U. J. Legis. & Pub. Pol’y 131, 133 (2013) (“The REINS Act would ... eliminate the long-established authority of federal agencies to promulgate regulations governing virtually all aspects of society and reclaim authority over such matters for Congress.”). See generally Jonathan H. Adler, Placing “REINS” on Regulations: Assessing the Proposed REINS Act, 16 N.Y.U. J. Legis. & Pub. Pol’y 1 (2013) (discussing congressional attempts to increase accountability of federal agencies through the REINS Act).

  24. [24]. By suggesting that the temporal aspect of congressional delegation is missing from the nondelegation debate, we do not mean to suggest that scholars have not explored the temporal dimensions of delegation in other contexts. See, e.g., Mathew D. McCubbins et al., Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control, 3 J.L. Econ. & Org. 243, 257 (1987) (noting that temporal delay between congressional delegation and implementing regulation “makes it possible for agencies to adjust policies in directions desired by political leaders as more information is obtained”); Kenneth A. Shepsle, Bureaucratic Drift, Coalitional Drift, and Time Consistency: A Comment on Macey, 8 J.L. Econ. & Org. 111, 114 (1992) (“The enacting coalition in the statute game must, at the time of enactment, worry not only about bureaucratic discretion; they must also consider the prospect of subsequent plays of the statute game.... In the McNollgast picture, even after bureaucratic drift, it is quite possible that legislative or presidential preferences might change.”); Miranda Yaver, When Do Agencies Have Agency? The Limits of Compliance in
    the EPA 5 (Oct. 23, 2015) (unpublished manuscript), available at
    =2255056 [] (“Legislative turnover and drift in turn create two legislative principals [sic], one laying out procedural provisions for ex ante bureaucratic control in drafting the authorizing law, and the other engaging in ex post control consistent with their policy preferences, but potentially at the cost of enforcing the precise letter of the law....”). While delegation to administrative agencies inevitably results in a time lag before regulations
    are promulgated, scholars have not previously identified how this implicates nondelegation principles. Many thanks to Simon Haeder and Susan Webb Yackee for highlighting how our temporal arguments intersect with the political science literature. See Simon F. Haeder & Susan Webb Yackee, How Long is Too Long for Legislative Delegation?, Reg. Rev. (Mar. 3, 2020), [https://].

  25. [25]. See Michael S. Greve & Ashley C. Parrish, Administrative Law Without Congress, 22 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 501, 502 (2015) (“Congress ... consistently fails to update or revise old statutes even when those enactments are manifestly outdated or, as actually administered, have assumed contours that the original Congress never contemplated and the current Congress would not countenance ....”).

  26. [26]. See, e.g., Christopher J. Walker, Inside Agency Statutory Interpretation, 67 Stan. L. Rev. 999, 1000 (2015) [hereinafter Walker, Inside Agency Statutory Interpretation] (“[T]he focus and function of lawmaking have shifted from judge-made common law, to congressionally enacted statutes, and now to agency-promulgated regulations.”).

  27. [27]. See, e.g., Roberta Romano, Regulating in the Dark, in Regulatory Breakdown: The Crisis of Confidence in U.S. Regulation 86–87 (Cary Coglianese ed., 2012) (“Congress tends not to move nimbly to rework financial legislation when it becomes widely acknowledged as flawed
    or seriously deficient.”); Philip Wallach, Congress Indispensable, Nat’l Aff. (Winter 2018), [
    Y72B-9H5D] (“Congress is a mess. It seems incapable of passing major legislation ....”).

  28. [28]. See, e.g., Jody Freeman & David B. Spence, Old Statutes, New Problems, 163 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1, 2–3 (2014); Greve & Parrish, supra note 25, at 503; Philip A. Wallach, When Can You Teach an Old Law New Tricks?, 16 N.Y.U. J. Legis. & Pub. Pol’y 689, 698–99 (2013).

  29. [29]. See Romano, supra note 27, at 90 (exploring the regulatory rationale that “delegation enables legislators to ‘do something’ in a crisis, by passing ‘something’ and thereby mollifying media and popular concerns, while at the same time shifting responsibility to an agency for potential policy failures”).

  30. [30]. See Josh Chafetz, Congress’s Constitution: Legislative Authority and the Separation of Powers 2 (2017) (“Congress has numerous powers other than the power to pass bills into law, powers that tend to receive scant treatment even in isolation; they are almost never grouped together and conceptualized as a coherent set of legislative tools. And yet these tools together are potent, giving Congress the ability to assert itself vigorously against the other branches.”).

  31. [31]. Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 842–44 (1984).

  32. [32]. See Gillian E. Metzger, Foreword: 1930s Redux: The Administrative State Under Siege, 131 Harv. L. Rev. 1, 7 (2017) (“[B]road delegations of authority to the executive branch
    ... represent the central reality of contemporary national government.”); id. at 24 (“Broad delegations of policymaking power represent the backbone of the modern administrative state ... .”); see also Cary Coglianese, Dimensions of Delegation, 167 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1849, 1849 (2019) (noting that the Supreme Court’s reluctance to invalidate legislation on nondelegation grounds “has been fundamental to the development of the modern administrative state”).

  33. [33]. See Bowen v. Georgetown Univ. Hosp., 488 U.S. 204, 208 (1988) (“It is axiomatic that an administrative agency’s power to promulgate legislative regulations is limited to the authority delegated by Congress.”); see also La. Pub. Serv. Comm’n v. FCC, 476 U.S. 355, 374 (1986) (“[A]n agency literally has no power to act ... unless and until Congress confers power upon it.”); Thomas W. Merrill, Rethinking Article I, Section 1: From Nondelegation to Exclusive Delegation, 104 Colum. L. Rev. 2097, 2101 (2004) (“Congress has created the administrative state and has given its far-flung agencies extensive powers to adopt legislative rules.”).

  34. [34]. See, e.g., Edward H. Stiglitz, The Limits of Judicial Control and the Nondelegation Doctrine, 34 J.L. Econ. & Org. 27, 39 (2018) (noting empirical support for the claim “that the quantity of delegations increased dramatically during the New Deal”). For histories of the growth of the regulatory state tailing the increase in delegation, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s, see Marc Allen Eisner et al., Contemporary Regulatory Policy 35–44 (2000); Cornelius M. Kerwin, Rulemaking: How Government Agencies Write Law and Make Policy 8–20 (3d ed. 2003); and William F. West, Administrative Rulemaking: Politics and Processes 16–31 (1985). This expansion in delegation has been “a bipartisan enterprise.” Christopher DeMuth, The Regulatory State, Nat’l Aff. (Summer 2012),
    detail/the-regulatory-state []; see also Over-Regulated America, Economist (Feb. 18, 2012),
    -america [] (“Governments of both parties keep adding stacks of rules, few of which are ever rescinded.”).

  35. [35]. See Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361, 372 (1989) (noting that “in our increasingly complex society, ... Congress simply cannot do its job absent an ability to delegate power under broad general directives”). See generally Jerry L. Mashaw, Prodelegation: Why Administrators Should Make Political Decisions, 1 J.L. Econ. & Org. 81 (1985) (arguing for broad statutory delegation). Even some critics of the modern administrative state accept a need for delegation. See, e.g., Richard A. Epstein, The Dubious Morality of Modern Administrative Law 34 (2020) (“Delegation is a necessary part of the tool kit of any complex organization.”).

  36. [36]. See, e.g., Metzger, supra note 32, at 7 (claiming broad “delegations are necessary given the economic, social, scientific, and technological realities of our day”).

  37. [37]. See, e.g., David H. Rosenbloom, Building a Legislative-Centered Public Administration 133–34 (2000) (“Congress can delegate its legislative authority to the agencies at its discretion for a wide variety of reasons: to alleviate its workload; to avoid a particularly nettlesome political issue; to focus highly specialized administrative expertise on a particular problem; for convenience; or simply because the agencies do not face the constraints of a legislature that is reconstituted every two years.”). For additional arguments in support of delegation, see generally James M. Landis, The Administrative Process (1938); and Richard B. Stewart, The Reformation of American Administrative Law, 88 Harv. L. Rev. 1667 (1975).

  38. [38]. See DeMuth, supra note 34 (“A hierarchy can make decisions with much greater dispatch than a committee can.”).

  39. [39]. See David Schoenbrod, Power without Responsibility: How Congress Abuses the People through Delegation 109–11 (1993); Neomi Rao, Administrative Collusion: How Delegation Diminishes the Collective Congress, 90 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1463, 1465 (2015) (“The Constitution separates lawmaking from law execution to promote accountability and the rule of law, and thereby to safeguard individual liberty.”). Similar accountability concerns arise when agencies attempt to fix errors in the statutes they are charged with implementing. See, e.g., Leigh Osofsky, Agency Legislative Fixes, 105 Iowa L. Rev. 2107, 2151–52(2020).

  40. [40]. See, e.g., Philip Hamburger, Is Administrative Law Unlawful? 3–5 (2014); Schoenbrod, supra note 39, at 155–64; Gary Lawson, Delegation and Original Meaning, 88 Va. L. Rev. 327, 333–35 (2002); Gary Lawson, Discretion as Delegation: The “Proper” Understanding of the Nondelegation Doctrine, 73 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 235, 235–37 (2005); Michael B. Rappaport, The Selective Nondelegation Doctrine and the Line Item Veto: A New Approach to the Nondelegation Doctrine and Its Implications for Clinton v. City of New York, 76 Tul. L. Rev. 265, 281–85, 303–05 (2001).

  41. [41]. See Lawson, Delegation and Original Meaning, supra note 40, at 332 (“The delegation phenomenon raises fundamental questions about democracy, accountability, and the enterprise of American governance.”).

  42. [42]. John Hart Ely, Democracy and Distrust: A Theory of Judicial Review 131 (1980); see also Elena Kagan, Presidential Administration, 114 Harv. L. Rev. 2245, 2347 (2001) (“Congress rarely is held accountable for agency decisions ....”).

  43. [43]. See Sunstein, supra note 7, at 319–21. Indeed, as John Hart Ely observed, “[t]hat legislators often find it convenient to escape accountability is precisely the reason for a non-delegation doctrine.” Ely, supra note 42, at 133 (emphasis omitted).

  44. [44]. See Kagan, supra note 42, at 2256.

  45. [45]. See Christopher J. Walker, Legislating in the Shadows, 165 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1377, 1407–19 (2017) [hereinafter Walker, Legislating in the Shadows](exploring how the role of federal agencies in statutory drafting may exacerbate the risks of administrative collusion). See generally Rao, supra note 39 (explaining how delegation may create opportunities for individual legislators to “collude” with agencies or influence regulatory policy through oversight, appropriations, and direct involvement with agencies).

  46. [46]. See Dep’t of Transp. v. Ass’n of Am. R.Rs., 135 S. Ct. 1225, 1234 (2015) (Alito, J., concurring); id. at 1254–55 (Thomas, J., concurring); see also Metzger, supra note 32, at 23 (“Both Justices expressed concern that delegations make lawmaking too easy and threaten individual liberty.”); Rao, supra note 39, at 1465 (“The Constitution separates lawmaking from law execution to promote accountability and the rule of law, and thereby to safeguard individual liberty.”).

  47. [47]. Gundy v. United States, 139 S. Ct. 2116, 2134 (2019) (Gorsuch, J., dissenting).

  48. [48]. See Coglianese, supra note 32, at 1851 (“[T]he nondelegation doctrine, properly understood, concerns both the degree of discretion afforded to the holder of lawmaking power and the extent of the underlying power itself.”).

  49. [49]. See 42 U.S.C. §7409 (2012).

  50. [50]. See 47 U.S.C. §1302.

  51. [51]. See, e.g., Whitman v. Am. Trucking Ass’ns, 531 U.S. 457, 472–76 (2001) (describing various broad statutes that have survived nondelegation challenges).

  52. [52]. In a fascinating new study, Haeder and Webb Yackee find an interaction between the temporal aspects of regulation and the breadth of delegation, in that the broader the delegation, the longer it takes for the agency to regulate. See Simon F. Haeder & Susan Webb Yackee, Handmaidens of the Legislature? Understanding Regulatory Timing 3 (Oct. 2019) (unpublished manuscript) (on file with author) (finding that “the breadth of the congressional authorizing delegation is strongly associated with agency policy responsiveness, which we conceptualize via regulatory timing”).

  53. [53]. See In re Preserving the Open Internet, 25 FCC Rcd. 17,905 (2010), 2010 WL 5281676, vacated in part sub nom. Verizon v. FCC, 740 F.3d 623 (D.C. Cir. 2014); see also U.S. Telecom. Ass’n v. FCC, 855 F.3d 381, 417 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (Kavanaugh, J., dissenting) (per curiam) (“[B]ecause Congress never passed net neutrality legislation, the FCC relied on the 1934 Communications Act, as amended in 1996, as its source of authority for the net neutrality rule.”).

  54. [54]. Randolph J. May, Why Stovepipe Regulation No Longer Works: An Essay on the Need for a New Market-Oriented Communications Policy, 58 Fed. Comm. L.J. 103, 103 (2006).

  55. [55]. See, e.g., A Brief History of Wi-Fi, Economist (June 12, 2004),
    technology-quarterly/2004/06/12/a-brief-history-of-wi-fi [] (observing that the first Wi-Fi standard was published in 1997 and that “Wi-Fi caught on with consumers just as corporate technology spending dried up in 2001”); see also Jason Aten, Y2K Was 20 Years Ago. Here Are 12 Things We Can’t Live Without That Didn’t Even Exist Then, Inc. (Jan. 1, 2020), [] (listing Wikipedia, Gmail, Netflix, and Facebook).

  56. [56]. See May, supra note 54, at 104.

  57. [57]. See id. at 106–07 (“However serviceable these definitional constructs may have been at an earlier time, ...they no longer are serviceable in a world in which digital technology is rapidly displacing analog.”).

  58. [58]. See A. Dan Tarlock, The Nonequilibrium Paradigm in Ecology and the Partial Unraveling of Environmental Law, 27 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 1121, 1122–23 (1994) (noting how much environmental law was based upon an equilibrium paradigm that is no longer accepted by scientists); see also Daniel B. Botkin, The Moon in the Nautilus Shell: Discordant Harmonies Reconsidered xi (2012) (noting that major environmental laws are based on “the wrong set of assumptions”).

  59. [59]. See Botkin, supra note 58, at 6; Craig Anthony (Tony) Arnold & Lance H. Gunderson, Adaptive Law and Resilience, 43 Envtl. L. Rep. 10426, 10426 (2013) (“The foundational assumptions of U.S. environmental law are questionable.”).

  60. [60]. See William L. Andreen, The Clean Water Act Needs Positive Reform, Reg. Rev. (Aug. 12, 2013), [
    64LL-VYRA] (“The Clean Water Act has also never adequately addressed our most significant remaining source of pollution problems: non-point sources.”).

  61. [61]. See David Schoenbrod et al., Breaking the Logjam: Environmental Protection that Will Work 105 (2010) (noting that non-point source pollution represents greatest water quality challenge).

  62. [62]. For a critical overview of the development of these regulations, see generally Jonathan H. Adler, Heat Expands All Things: The Proliferation of Greenhouse Gas Regulation Under the Obama Administration, 34 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 421 (2011).

  63. [63]. Clean Air Amendments of 1970, Pub. L. No. 91-604, 84 Stat. 1676.

  64. [64]. Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977, Pub. L. No. 95-95, 91 Stat. 685.

  65. [65]. Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-549, 104 Stat. 2399. The CAA’s express authorization expired in 1998. See Kate C. Shouse & Richard K. Lattanzio, Cong. Research Serv., RL30853, Clean Air Act: A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements 3 (2020) (“The 1990 amendments also authorized appropriations for clean air programs through FY1998. The act has not been reauthorized since then.”).

  66. [66]. See Lisa Heinzerling, The Clean Air Act and the Constitution, 20 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 121, 121 (2001) (“The National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) form the centerpiece of what many consider to be this country’s single most important environmental program.”); see also Union Elec. Co. v. EPA, 427 U.S. 246, 249 (1976) (characterizing provisions requiring state implementation plans to meet NAAQS standards as “[t]he heart of the [CAA]”).

  67. [67]. See Richard Lazarus, Environmental Law Without Congress, 30 J. Land Use & Envtl. L. 15, 30 (2014) (“Climate change is perhaps the quintessential example of a new environmental problem that the Clean Air Act did not contemplate.”); see also Arnold W. Reitze, Jr., Air Pollution Control Law: Compliance and Enforcement 419 (2001) (noting that Congress never enacted measures to control the emissions of greenhouse gases).

  68. [68]. See Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-549, tit. I, 104 Stat. 2399, 2399
    –2471 (revising NAAQS provisions).

  69. [69]. See id. tit. IV, 104 Stat. at 2584–2634 (adding new provisions on acid deposition control); id. tit. VI, 104 Stat. at 2648–2672 (adding new provisions on stratospheric ozone protection).

  70. [70]. This was not for a lack of trying, however, as Congress did consider whether to grant the EPA regulatory authority over greenhouse gases. See S. Rep. No. 101-228, at 439 (1989), reprinted in 1990 U.S.C.C.A.N. 3385, 3819 (discussing provisions contained in proposed Senate amendments to the CAA that would have authorized EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles).

  71. [71]. See Arnold W. Reitze, Jr., Federal Control of Carbon Dioxide Emissions: What Are the Options?, 36 B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev. 1, 1 (2009) (“From 1999 to [2007], more than 200 bills were introduced in Congress to regulate [greenhouse gases], but none were enacted.”).

  72. [72]. Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497, 528–32 (2007).

  73. [73]. One of us is on record arguing that the Court was incorrect in Massachusetts v. EPA. See Jonathan H. Adler, Warming Up to Climate Change Litigation, 93 Va. L. Rev. Brief 61, 71–72 (2007).

  74. [74]. See Adler, supra note 62, at 422.

  75. [75]. This disjunction is readily evident in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, 134 S. Ct. 2427 (2014), in which the Court struggled to reconcile the CAA’s text with the obligation to regulate greenhouse gases as air pollutants.

  76. [76]. See 50 U.S.C. §1701(a) (2012).

  77. [77]. See, e.g., Dames & Moore v. Regan, 453 U.S. 654, 669–72 (1981) (upholding broad authority under the IEEPA to resolve diplomatic and financial disputes with Iran). For a brief overview of the IEEPA, see Stephanie Zable, What Comes After Tariffs: An IEEPA Primer, Lawfare (July 19, 2018, 3:12 PM), [].

  78. [78]. See Scott R. Anderson & Kathleen Claussen, The Legal Authority Behind Trump’s New Tariffs on Mexico, Lawfare (June 3, 2019, 4:19 PM), [].

  79. [79]. See Press Release, White House, Statement from the President Regarding Emergency Measures to Address the Border Crisis (May 30, 2019), available at
    briefings-statements/statement-president-regarding-emergency-measures-address-border-crisis [].

  80. [80]. See Christopher A. Casey et al., Cong. Research Serv., R45618, The International Emergency Economic Powers Act: Origins, Evolution, and Use 20 fig.4 (2019) (detailing increasing frequency of emergency declarations).

  81. [81]. See supra notes 32–34 and accompanying text; see also Richard J. Pierce, Jr., Delegation, Time, and Congressional Capacity, Reg. Rev. (Mar. 9, 2020),
    2020/03/09/pierce-delegation-time-congressional-capacity [] (noting that temporal concerns about delegation do not apply just to statutory delegations of power to federal agencies but also to statutory delegations to the President).

  82. [82]. See Freeman & Spence, supra note 28, at 43 (noting the “old statute” problem); Greve & Parrish, supra note 25, at 502 (noting the “old statute” problem); see also Lazarus, supra note 67, at 29 (noting that in environmental law, “statutory language, drafted years ago, often does not fit with... new problems”); David Schoenbrod, How REINS Would Improve Environmental Protection, 21 Duke Envtl L. & Pol’y F. 347, 347 (2011) (noting that “statutes that empower the agencies are increasingly obsolete”).

  83. [83]. See Rui J.P. de Figueiredo, Jr., Electoral Competition, Political Uncertainty, and Policy Insulation, 96 Am. Pol. Sci. Rev. 321, 322 (2002) (“Because of the multiplicity of veto points in the legislative process under a separation of powers system, new laws are extremely difficult to pass, for a minority can block new legislation.”); McNollgast, Positive Canons: The Role of Legislative Bargains in Statutory Interpretation, 80 Geo. L.J. 705, 720–21 (1992) (discussing the phenomenon of “veto gates”).

  84. [84]. Joseph Postell suggests that we may have the implications of the temporal aspect of congressional delegation backward:

    Perhaps the reinterpretation of old laws to address new purposes is a way of avoiding democratic deficits rather than a source of democratic deficit. Using open-ended statutes for current purposes allows the law to be updated to reflect the wishes of the living, rather than the dead who first enacted them. 

    Joseph Postell, Institutional Gridlock, Reg. Rev. (Mar. 5, 2020),
    2020/03/05/postell-institutional-gridlock []. Perhaps, in some circumstances, repurposing old statutes to address new issues may be more in line with current popular opinion polling. But such bureaucratic repurposing still lacks the deliberation and approval—and accompanying political accountability—that an elected legislature plays in our constitutional system. Such entrepreneurial endeavors by agencies cannot address democratic deficit concerns insofar as democratic accountability requires legislative ratification of new agency initiatives.

  85. [85]. See Suzanne Mettler, The Policyscape and the Challenges of Contemporary Politics to Policy Maintenance, 14 Persp. on Pol. 369, 379–82 (2016) (noting that frequency of legislative updating or reauthorizing of major statutes appears to have slowed in the last few decades).

  86. [86]. See Whitman v. Am. Trucking Ass’ns, 531 U.S. 457, 472 (2001) (“Article I, § 1, of the Constitution vests ‘[a]ll legislative Powers herein granted ... in a Congress of the United States.’ This text permits no delegation of those powers ....” (alteration in original)); Field v. Clark, 143 U.S. 649, 692 (1892) (“That Congress cannot delegate legislative power to the President is a principle universally recognized as vital to the integrity and maintenance of the system of government ordained by the Constitution.”); Rao, supra note 39, at 1468 (“The Supreme Court consistently affirms the importance of the nondelegation principle to the constitutional structure.”).

  87. [87]. According to Eric Posner and Adrian Vermeule, this is evidence that “there just is no constitutional nondelegation rule, nor has there ever been.” Eric A. Posner & Adrian Vermeule, Interring the Nondelegation Doctrine, 69 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1721, 1722 (2002). Under this view, the only unconstitutional delegation of legislative power would be if Congress sought to delegate the power to vote on legislation or engage in other legislative acts. “A statutory grant of authority to the executive isn’t a transfer of legislative power, but an exercise of legislative power.” Id. at 1723.

  88. [88]. See Whitman, 531 U.S. at 472; see also J.W. Hampton, Jr., & Co. v. United States, 276 U.S. 394, 409 (1928) (holding that delegation is permissible provided that “Congress ... lay down by legislative act an intelligible principle” to guide the agency).

  89. [89]. See Loving v. United States, 517 U.S. 748, 758 (1996) (“[T]he delegation doctrine [was] developed to prevent Congress from forsaking its duties.”); see also Indus. Union Dep’t, AFL-
    CIO v. Am. Petrol. Inst., 448 U.S. 607, 685 (1980) (Rehnquist, J., concurring) (“[T]he nondelegation doctrine ... ensures ... that important choices of social policy are made by Congress, the branch of our Government most responsive to the popular will.”).

  90. [90]. See, e.g., Merrill, supra note 33, at 2099 (noting that Congress only may not grant “something approaching blank-check legislative rulemaking authority”).

  91. [91]. Yakus v. United States, 321 U.S. 414, 420 (1944) (quoting Emergency Price Control Act of 1942, ch. 578, 56 Stat. 23).

  92. [92]. Nat’l Broad. Co. v. United States, 319 U.S. 190, 225–26 (1943).

  93. [93]. Whitman, 531 U.S. at 474–75 (quoting Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361, 416 (1989) (Scalia, J., dissenting)).

  94. [94]. See A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, 295 U.S. 495, 550–51 (1935); Panama Ref. Co. v. Ryan, 293 U.S. 388, 433 (1935). As discussed in supra note 7, some may view Carter v. Carter Coal Co., 298 U.S. 238, 311 (1936), as a third instance of a successful nondelegation doctrine challenge.

  95. [95]. Posner & Vermeule, supra note 87, at 1740 (citing Sunstein, supra note 7, at 322); see also Christopher DeMuth, Can the Administrative State Be Tamed?, 8 J. Legal Analysis 121, 128 (2016) (“[N]ondelegation was a one-year, two-case wonder ....”).

  96. [96]. See Sunstein, supra note 7, at 335–36 (“Nondelegation canons are barriers, and not merely catalysts, with respect to purely administrative ... judgment on the matters in question. They erect a decisive barrier to certain discretionary decisions by the executive.”); see also John F. Manning, The Nondelegation Doctrine as a Canon of Avoidance, 2000 Sup. Ct. Rev. 223, 223 (“[T]he Court has long enforced the nondelegation doctrine by narrowly construing administrative statutes ....”); Cass R. Sunstein, The American Nondelegation Doctrine, 86 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1181, 1185 (2018) (stating, for example, “[t]he cost-consideration canon ... is best seen as a way of disciplining the administrative state by avoiding a particular form of absurdity”).

  97. [97]. Sunstein, supra note 7, at 331.

  98. [98]. See generally Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984) (defining what to do when an agency construes an ambiguous statute and applying it to an EPA act).

  99. [99]. Id. at 842–44.

  100. [100]. See, e.g., Hamburger, supra note 40, at 315.

  101. [101]. See Thomas W. Merrill & Kristin E. Hickman, Chevron’s Domain, 89 Geo. L.J. 833, 855 (2001) (“A finding that there has been an appropriate congressional delegation of power to the agency is critical under Chevron.”); see also Jonathan H. Adler, Restoring Chevron’s Domain, 81 Mo. L. Rev. 983, 990–94 (2016) (discussing “[t]he delegation foundation of Chevron” and the implications of this approach).

  102. [102]. Adams Fruit Co. v. Barrett, 494 U.S. 638, 649 (1990); see also United States v. Mead Corp., 533 U.S. 218, 226–27 (2001) (“We hold that administrative implementation of a particular statutory provision qualifies for Chevron deference when it appears that Congress delegated authority to the agency generally to make rules carrying the force of law, and that the agency interpretation claiming deference was promulgated in the exercise of that authority.”). As Eskridge and Baer observe, “Mead appears to have partially settled the debate within the Court about the conditions for triggering Chevron deference.” William N. Eskridge, Jr. & Lauren E. Baer, The Continuum of Deference: Supreme Court Treatment of Agency Statutory Interpretations from Chevron to Hamdan, 96 Geo. L.J. 1083, 1123 (2008).

  103. [103]. See Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro, 136 S. Ct. 2117, 2125 (2016) (“A premise of Chevron is that when Congress grants an agency the authority to administer a statute by issuing regulations with the force of law, it presumes the agency will use that authority to resolve ambiguities in the statutory scheme.”).

  104. [104]. See Whitman v. Am. Trucking Ass’ns, 531 U.S. 457, 468 (2001).

  105. [105]. See King v. Burwell, 135 S. Ct. 2480, 2488 (2015) (quoting FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 529 U.S. 120, 159 (2000)).

  106. [106]. See id. at 2488–89 (citing Brown & Williamson, 529 U.S. at 159).

  107. [107]. Id. at 2489 (holding that the availability of tax credits on exchanges established by the federal government is “a question of deep ‘economic and political significance’ that is central to this statutory scheme; had Congress wished to assign that question to an agency, it surely would have done so expressly” (quoting Util. Air Regulatory Grp. v. EPA, 134 S. Ct. 2427, 2444 (2014))).

  108. [108]. Gundy v. United States, 139 S. Ct. 2116, 2142 (2019) (Gorsuch, J., dissenting). Justice Gorsuch also suggested that the “void for vagueness” doctrine is another tool the Court has developed to address nondelegation concerns, illustrating how “[i]t’s easy to see, too, how most any challenge to a legislative delegation can be reframed as a vagueness complaint.” Id.; see also Nathan Alexander Sales & Jonathan H. Adler, The Rest is Silence: Chevron Deference, Agency Jurisdiction, and Statutory Silences, 2009 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1497, 1539–40 (arguing that the delegation of some such major questions might raise constitutional questions).

  109. [109]. Thus, for example, the Court in King appeared to be concerned not merely with the magnitude of the question of whether tax credits would be available in federal exchanges, but also whether the Internal Revenue Service, in particular, would be delegated the authority to address such a question. See King, 135 S. Ct. at 2489 (“It is especially unlikely that Congress would have delegated this decision to the IRS, which has no expertise in crafting health insurance policy of this sort.This is not a case for the IRS.” (citation omitted)).

  110. [110]. James R. Bowers, Regulating the Regulators: An Introduction to the Legislative Oversight of Administrative Rulemaking 20–21 (1990).

  111. [111]. INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 944–45 (1983) (citing James Abourezk, The Congressional Veto: A Contemporary Response to Executive Encroachment on Legislative Prerogatives, 52 Ind. L.J. 323, 324 (1977)) (noting the existence of nearly 300 legislative veto provisions).

  112. [112]. See id. at 974 (White, J., dissenting) (“[T]he Executive has ... [generally] agreed to legislative review as the price for a broad delegation of authority.”); see also Michael Herz, The Legislative Veto in Times of Political Reversal: Chadha and the 104th Congress, 14 Const. Comment. 319, 324 (1997) (noting that the legislative veto was developed “as a means for allowing massive concessions of authority to the executive” by ensuring that Congress would retain the ability to review and control such delegations).

  113. [113]. Cf. Harold H. Bruff & Ernest Gellhorn, Congressional Control of Administrative Regulation: A Study of Legislative Vetoes, 90 Harv. L. Rev. 1369, 1369–71 (1977) (analyzing five case studies of the use of legislative vetoes to cabin agency action and arguing against legislation that would make the legislative veto generally available to Congress for any agency rulemaking).

  114. [114]. There is also the issue of whether Congress would even take regular advantage of a one-house veto. See, e.g., Michael Kaeding & Kevin M. Stack, Legislative Scrutiny? The Political Economy and Practice of Legislative Vetoes in the European Union, 53 J. Common Mkt. Stud. 1268, 1268–69 (2015) (finding little use of a similar legislative veto mechanism by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers).

  115. [115]. Chadha, 462 U.S. at 944–59.

  116. [116]. U.S. Const. art. I, § 7, cls. 2–3.

  117. [117]. Chadha, 462 U.S. at 951.

  118. [118]. See, e.g., William N. Eskridge Jr., Vetogates and American Public Law, 31 J.L. Econ. & Org. 756, 767–73 (2012); McNollgast, supra note 83, at 725–27.

  119. [119]. Congressional Review Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-121, 110 Stat. 868 (codified at 5 U.S.C. §§801–808 (2012)).

  120. [120]. 5 U.S.C. §801(a)(3)(B).

  121. [121]. See generally Paul J. Larkin, Jr., Reawakening the Congressional Review Act, 41 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 187 (2018) (arguing that the CRA will do a good job of controlling an agency’s exercise of power, but new legislation could do a better job).

  122. [122]. The window for congressional action may be extended by an agency’s failure to comply with the CRA’s reporting requirements. Under the CRA, a new rule is not to take effect until after the rule has been submitted to both houses of Congress and the Comptroller General. See 5 U.S.C. §801(a)(1)(A). Agency submission also starts the review period in which Congress may invoke the CRA’s procedures to enact a resolution of disapproval. See id. § 801(a)(1)(C). Were an agency to fail to submit a newly promulgated regulation, as required by the CRA, Congress would appear to retain the ability to revoke that regulation under the CRA. See Larkin, supra note 121, at 214–15.

  123. [123]. 5 U.S.C. §801(a)(1)(A).

  124. [124]. Id. §804(2).

  125. [125]. Id. §801(a)(3)(A).

  126. [126]. See id. §802.

  127. [127]. See Morton Rosenberg, Cong. Research Serv., RL30116, Congressional Review of Agency Rulemaking: An Update and Assessment of the Congressional Review Act After a Decade 6 (2008) (noting that through 2008, joint resolutions of disapproval were introduced for fewer than five percent of the regulatory actions to which the CRA procedure could be applied); Larkin, supra note 121, at 234 (noting that only one resolution of disapproval under the CRA had become law prior to 2017).

  128. [128]. Susan E. Dudley, Reversing Midnight Regulations, Regulation, Spring 2001, at 9, available at [https://]. See generally Maeve P. Carey, Cong. Research Serv., R42612, Midnight Rulemaking (2012) (surveying midnight rules made during several presidential transition periods, actions in response to those rules, and options for congressional action).

  129. [129]. See Bethany A. Davis Noll & Richard L. Revesz, Regulation in Transition, 104 Minn. L. Rev. 1, 17–18 (2019) (observing that “prior to the Trump administration, the Act had been successfully used only once” and detailing its successful invocation for the ergonomics rule).

  130. [130]. See id. at 16 (“[R]esolutions of disapproval are not as useful during non-transition times.”). Beyond revoking major rules of which Congress disapproves, the CRA can also be used as a political tool to force a vote on potentially controversial regulations, or even to force a presidential veto of a resolution of disapproval. So, for example, Senate Democrats used the CRA to force the Senate to vote on a Trump Administration regulation expanding the definition of short-term health insurance plans and the FCC’s final rule rescinding the Open Internet Order, aka “net neutrality.” See Jon Brodkin, Net Neutrality Bill 38 Votes Short in Congress, and Time Has Almost Run Out, Ars Technica (Dec. 11, 2018, 12:47 PM),
    2018/12/net-neutrality-bill-gains-votes-in-congress-but-not-enough-to-reverse-repeal [https://]; Laura Castro Lindarte, Senate Democrats to Force Vote on Trump Health Care Rule, Roll Call (Aug. 1, 2019, 8:46 AM), [].

  131. [131]. See Rep. Nick Smith, Restoration of Congressional Authority and Responsibility Over the Regulatory Process, 33 Harv. J. on Legis. 323, 326 (1996); see also Herz, supra note 112, at 323 (“Requiring presidential approval (or a two-thirds majority vote to override) is hardly a formality.”).

  132. [132]. See Memorandum from Joshua B. Bolten, Chief of Staff, The White House, to the Heads of Exec. Dep’ts & Agencies and the Adm’r of the Office of Info. and Regulatory Affairs (May 9, 2008), available at
    2008.pdf []; Charlie Savage & Robert Pear, Administration Moves to Avert a Late Rules Rush, N.Y. Times (May 31, 2008),
    2008/05/31/washington/31regulate.html?auth=linked-google [] (noting that the intended effect of Bolten’s memo was to make it more difficult for the incoming administration to reverse course).

  133. [133]. See Christopher J. Walker, Restoring Congress’s Role in the Modern Administrative State, 116 Mich. L. Rev. 1101, 1102 (2018) [hereinafter Walker, Restoring Congress’s Role] (reviewing Josh Chafetz, Congress’s Constitution: Legislative Authority and the Separation of Powers (2017)) (“[O]utside of the tax reform legislation enacted at the close of the year, Congress’s most significant legislative achievement in 2017 may well not be a new law at all. Instead, it is arguably Congress’s invocation of the Congressional Review Act....”). See generally Paul J. Larkin, Jr., The Trump Administration and the Congressional Review Act, 16 Geo. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 505 (2018) (detailing the Trump Administration and Congress’ extensive use of the CRA early in President Trump’s term).

  134. [134]. Id. at 509.

  135. [135]. Id.

  136. [136]. Id. at 510–12.

  137. [137]. 5 U.S.C. §801(b)(2) (2012).

  138. [138]. The precise scope of the CRA’s limitation on the promulgation of rules on related subject matter after the adoption of a resolution of disapproval has not yet been tested. See Stephen Santulli, Use of the Congressional Review Act at the Start of the Trump Administration: A Study of Two Vetoes, 86 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1373, 1377–80 (2018) (discussing potential conflict over what constitutes a rule that is “substantially the same” as one rescinded under the CRA).

  139. [139]. For a positive discussion of the REINS Act, see generally Adler, supra note 23. For a less favorable view of the REINS Act, see generally Siegel, supra note 23.

  140. [140]. For a summary and analysis of the precise legislative language introduced in 2011, see Adler, supra note 23, at 21–24.

  141. [141]. S. 92, 116th Cong. § 3 (2019).

  142. [142]. Then-Judge Stephen Breyer and Professor Laurence Tribe both suggested that a congressional approval requirement, such as that proposed in the REINS Act, would be a constitutional way of recreating the unicameral veto mechanism invalidated in Chadha. See Stephen Breyer, The Legislative Veto After Chadha, 72 Geo. L.J. 785, 793–96 (1984); Laurence H. Tribe, The Legislative Veto Decision: A Law By Any Other Name?, 21 Harv. J. on Legis. 1, 19 (1984).

  143. [143]. See Rao, supra note 39, at 1465–66.

  144. [144]. See Chafetz, supra note 30, at 3 (explaining the broad overall powers of Congress).

  145. [145]. See id. at 45–77.

  146. [146]. See id. at 66–73; see also Barbara Sinclair, Unorthodox Lawmaking: New Legislative Processes in the U.S. Congress 111–28 (4th ed. 2012) (explaining the evolution of the appropriations and budget processes into a prominent and “unorthodox” form of legislating).

  147. [147]. See Richard J. Lazarus, Congressional Descent: The Demise of Deliberative Democracy in Environmental Law, 94 Geo. L.J. 619, 653 (2006) (“[T]he appropriations process is procedurally distinct from the authorization process in several significant respects. These differences, moreover, have significant ramifications for the kind and substance of the laws that are produced.”).

  148. [148]. See id. at 652–53.

  149. [149]. Id. at 653–54; accord Christopher J. Walker, Federal Agencies in the Legislative Process: Technical Assistance in Statutory Drafting 10–11, 38–39 (2015) [hereinafter Walker, ACUS Report], available at
    technical-assistance-final-report.pdf []; see also Adoption of Recommendations, 80 Fed. Reg. 78,161, 78,162 (Dec. 16, 2015) (“Appropriations legislation presents agencies with potential coordination problems as substantive provisions or ‘riders’ may require technical drafting assistance, but agency processes for reviewing appropriations legislation are channeled through agency budget or finance offices. It is crucial for the budget office to communicate with an agency’s legislative counsel office to anticipate and later address requests for technical assistance related to appropriations bills.”).

  150. [150]. See Walker, Restoring Congress’s Role, supra note 133, at 1108.

  151. [151]. See Tenn. Valley Auth. v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153, 189 (1978).

  152. [152]. For a review of the entire saga of the snail darter and the Tellico Dam, see generally Zygmunt Plater, Classic Lessons from a Little Fish in a Pork Barrel—Featuring the Notorious Story of the Endangered Snail Darter and the TVA’s Last Dam, 32 Utah Envtl. L. Rev. 211 (2012).

  153. [153]. See, e.g., Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2001, Pub. L. No. 106-377, app. A, 114 Stat. 1441, 1441A–41 (2000); Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2000, Pub. L. No. 106-74, tit. III, 113 Stat. 1047, 1080 (1999); Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999, Pub. L. No. 105-276, tit. III, 112 Stat. 2461, 2496 (1998).

  154. [154]. See Chafetz, supra note 30, at 78–151.

  155. [155]. See Walker, Restoring Congress’s Role, supra note 133, at 1109.

  156. [156]. See Chafetz, supra note 30, at 267–301.

  157. [157]. See id. at 152–98.

  158. [158]. See id. at 201–31. Congress may still constrain the ability of individual members of Congress to leak nonpublic information through Article I’s internal disciple powers. See id. at 232–66.

  159. [159]. See Walker, Restoring Congress’s Role, supra note 133, at 1112–13 (citing Chafetz, supra note 30, at 231).

  160. [160]. See Brian D. Feinstein, Designing Executive Agencies for Congressional Influence, 69 Admin. L. Rev. 259, 265 (2017). See generally Alex Acs, Congress and Administrative Policymaking: Identifying Congressional Veto Power, 63 Am. J. Pol. Sci. 513 (2019) (exploring empirically how Congress can use its oversight and appropriations powers to exercise a legislative veto power over agency policymaking); Brian D. Feinstein, Congress in the Administrative State, 95 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1187 (2018) (exploring empirically how Congress utilizes its oversight powers and how agencies actually respond to such oversight to avoid further congressional scrutiny).

  161. [161]. See Walker, Restoring Congress’s Role, supra note 133, at 1105 & n.17 (citing Rao, supra note 39, at 1504 and Walker, Legislating in the Shadows, supra note 45, at 1415–16) (arguing that lawmaking via congressional oversight, as opposed to legislation via the collective Congress, risks “administrative collusion” between individual members of Congress and committees and the federal agencies being overseen).

  162. [162]. See Mettler, supra note 85, at 370 (“The lack of policy maintenance undermines laws’ ability to achieve the purposes for which they were created.”); id. at 375.

  163. [163]. See generally Mathew D. McCubbins et al., Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control, 3 J.L. Econ. & Org. 243 (1987) (discussing how oversight and administrative procedures serve as political controls over agencies).

  164. [164]. See generally Jacob E. Gersen, Temporary Legislation, 74 U. Chi. L. Rev. 247 (2007) (assessing the historical uses and implications of temporary legislation).

  165. [165]. See id. at 248; see also Brian Baugus & Feler Bose, Sunset Legislation in the States: Balancing the Legislature and the Executive 8–18 (2015).

  166. [166]. See Gersen, supra note 164, at 248.

  167. [167]. Id. at 298. See generally Frank Fagan, Law and the Limits of Government: Temporary Versus Permanent Legislation (2013) (analyzing the effects of temporary and permanent legislation on social welfare).

  168. [168]. Letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison (Sept. 6, 1789), reprinted in 6 The Works of Thomas Jefferson, 1789–1792, at 3, 9 (Paul Leicester Ford ed., 1904).

  169. [169]. The Federalist No. 26, at 141–43 (Alexander Hamilton) (Am. Bar Ass’n 2009).

  170. [170]. See Gersen, supra note 164, at 252–53.

  171. [171]. Sedition Act of 1798, ch. 74, § 4, 1 Stat. 596, 597.

  172. [172]. See Act of Apr. 10, 1816, ch. 44, 1 Stat. 266; Act of Feb. 25, 1791, ch. 10, 3 Stat. 191.

  173. [173]. See William O. Douglas, Go East, Young Man: The Early Years: The Autobiography of William O. Douglas 297 (1974).

  174. [174]. See Theodore J. Lowi, The End of Liberalism: The Second Republic of the United States 309–10 (2d ed. 1979).

  175. [175]. See Mark B. Blickle, The National Sunset Movement, 9 Seton Hall Legis. J. 209, 210–11 (1985). See generally Thad Hall, Authorizing Policy (2004) (providing a comprehensive look at short-term authorizations).

  176. [176]. Blickle, supra note 175, at 212; see also Chris Mooney, A Short History of Sunsets, Legal Aff., (Jan.–Feb. 2004),
    mooney_janfeb04.msp [].

  177. [177]. See Blickle, supra note 175, at 213, 217.

  178. [178]. See Richard C. Kearney, Sunset: A Survey and Analysis of the State Experience, 50 Pub. Admin. Rev. 49, 49–50 (1990).

  179. [179]. See Baugus & Bose, supra note 165, at 9–13.

  180. [180]. See Blickle, supra note 175, at 228–29. In some cases, the cost of the periodic review approached or exceeded the cost savings from the termination of unnecessary programs. Id.

  181. [181]. See Philip K. Howard, Starting Over with Regulation, Wall St. J. (Dec. 3, 2011), https:// [
    /ZJ6H-E92U]; see also Philip K. Howard, Try Common Sense: Replacing the Failed Ideologies of Right and Left 122–23 (2019) (proposing methods of sunsetting federal laws).

  182. [182]. See James Broughel, Idaho Repeals Its Regulatory Code, Mercatus Ctr: The Bridge (May 9, 2019), []. The Article I Restoration Act, if ever enacted, would sunset certain new federal regulations promulgated through notice-and-comment rulemaking after three years unless reauthorized by Congress. Article I Restoration Act of 2019, H.R. 3617, 116th Cong. (2019).

  183. [183]. See, e.g., The Federalist Society 2011 National Lawyers Convention, 16 Tex. Rev. L. & Pol. 339, 353–59 (2012) [hereinafter 2011 National Lawyers Convention] (transcribing Professor William N. Eskridge, Jr.’s comments on the Voting Rights Act’s reauthorization history, at the showcase panel titled A Federal Sunset Law); John E. Finn, Sunset Clauses and Democratic Deliberation: Assessing the Significance of Sunset Provisions in Antiterrorism Legislation, 48 Colum. J. Transnat’l L. 442, 460–70 (2010) (detailing the history of the USA PATRIOT Act and its reauthorization); see also Stephen I. Vladeck, Ludecke’s Lengthening Shadow: The Disturbing Prospect of War Without End, 2 J. Nat’l Security L. & Pol’y 53, 59 (2006) (arguing for mandatory reauthorization for the statutory Authorization for Use of Military Force (“AUMF”)).

  184. [184]. See, e.g., Manoj Viswanathan, Note, Sunset Provisions in the Tax Code: A Critical Evaluation and Prescriptions for the Future, 82 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 656, 658 (2007) (contending that “sunset provisions used in tax legislation are the product of political maneuvering designed to bypass budgetary constraints and are exploited as a means of enacting permanent legislation under the guise of an ostensible expiration date”).

  185. [185]. Guido Calabresi, A Common Law for the Age of Statutes 60–62 (1982) (noting how temporary legislation can help mitigate the problems of stale statutes and proposing, instead, that courts should have the power to engage in common lawmaking in statutory contexts). Compare Guido Calabresi, The Nonprimacy of Statutes Act: A Comment, 4 Vt. L. Rev. 247, 253–55 (1979) (assessing Senator Jack Davies’ “mechanical” approach to dealing with aging statutes), with Jack Davies, A Response to Statutory Obsolescence: The Nonprimacy of Statutes Act, 4 Vt. L. Rev.
    203, 204–06 (1979) (discussing Senator Davies’ proposed act that would render any statute susceptible to courts’ common law review 20 years after the statute’s enactment).

  186. [186]. See Blickle, supra note 175, at 228–30.

  187. [187]. See Romano, supra note 27, at 96.

  188. [188]. Id.

  189. [189]. Calabresi, supra note 185, at 60.

  190. [190]. See Baugus & Bose, supra note 165, at 13–18; see also George K. Yin, Temporary-Effect Legislation, Political Accountability, and Fiscal Restraint, 84 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 174, 182 (2009) (arguing that, in the context of tax and spending legislation, “increased use of temporary-effect legislation enhances political accountability and may lead to greater fiscal restraint”).

  191. [191]. See 2011 National Lawyers Convention, supra note 183, at 360 (transcribing Judge Easterbrook’s comments about the “possibility that the same reasons that make laws more likely to expire under a general sunset regime—as the special prosecutor statute eventually did under its statute-specific clause—make it easier to pass laws in the first place”).

  192. [192]. Gersen, supra note 164, at 247 (“[T]emporary legislation merely sets a date on which an agency, regulation, or statutory scheme will terminate unless affirmative action satisfying the constitutional requirements of bicameralism and presentment is taken by the legislature.”).

  193. [193]. Cong. Budget Office, Expired and Expiring Authorizations of Appropriations: Fiscal Year 2019, at 2 (2019) [hereinafter CBO Report], available at
    system/files/2019-03/55015-EEAA.pdf [].

  194. [194]. See Gersen, supra note 164, at 255–58 (providing examples and collecting sources); Mettler, supra note 85, at 379–83.

  195. [195]. Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, Pub. L. No. 99-177,
    § 221(b), 99 Stat. 1037, 1060 (codified as amended at 2 U.S.C. § 602(e)(3) (2012)). Copies of these reports, dating back to January 2000, are available at Major Recurring Reports: Expired and Expiring Authorizations of Appropriations, Cong. Budget Off.,
    products/major-recurring-reports#13 [].

  196. [196]. CBO Report, supra note 193, at 1.

  197. [197]. Id. at 6 tbl.4.

  198. [198]. To access the CBO’s searchable supplemental data file, see generally Expired and Expiring Authorizations of Appropriations: Fiscal Year 2019, Cong. Budget Off. (Mar. 14, 2019), https:// [].

  199. [199]. CBO Report, supra note 193, at 2.

  200. [200]. See U.S. Gov’t Accountability Office, GAO-16-464SP, Principles of Federal Appropriations Law 2-54 to 2-56 (4th ed. 2016) [hereinafter GAO Red Book], available at [] (differentiating authorization, authorization of appropriations, and appropriations). For a classic account of the differences between authorization, authorization of appropriations, and appropriations, see generally Louis Fisher, The Authorization-Appropriation Process in Congress: Formal Rules and Informal Practices, 29 Cath. U. L. Rev. 51 (1979).

  201. [201]. See GAO Red Book, supra note 200, at 2-55 (“Like organic legislation, authorization legislation is considered and reported by the committees with legislative jurisdiction over the particular subject matter, whereas appropriation bills are exclusively within the jurisdiction of the appropriations committees.”); CBO Report, supra note 193, at 2. See generally Chafetz, supra note 30, at 267–301 (detailing how Congress has used its cameral rules powers to create standing committee to legislate on specific subject matters and oversee the administrative state).

  202. [202]. See CBO Report, supra note 193, at 3–4 tbls.1 & 2.

  203. [203]. See Chafetz, supra note 30, at 45–77 (providing an overview of Congress’ appropriations “power of the purse”).

  204. [204]. CBO Report, supra note 193, at 2.

  205. [205]. Sinclair, supra note 146, at 111–28; accord Jack M. Beermann, Congressional Administration, 43 San Diego L. Rev. 61, 84–90 (2006) (detailing the use of appropriations riders to substantively constrain federal agency action); Lazarus, supra note 67, at 28–30; see also GAO Red Book, supra note 200, at 2–59 (“[D]espite the occasional comment to the contrary in judicial decisions ... Congress can and does ‘legislate’ in appropriation acts.”).

  206. [206]. One of us documents and explores this agency organizational phenomenon in Walker, ACUS Report, supra note 149, at 30–32, 38–39, 48–90.

  207. [207]. Adoption of Recommendations, 80 Fed. Reg. 78,161, 78,163 (Dec. 16, 2015); see also id. at 78,162 (“It is crucial for the [agency] budget office to communicate with an agency’s legislative counsel office to anticipate and later address requests for technical assistance related to appropriations bills. Agencies have taken a variety of approaches to address this issue, ranging from tasking a staffer in an agency legislative counsel office with tracking appropriations bills; to holding weekly meetings with budget, legislative affairs, and legislative counsel staff; to emphasizing less informally that the offices establish a strong working relationship.”).

  208. [208]. Walt Lukken, Reauthorization: Let the Debate Begin, 24 No. 6 Futures & Derivatives L. Rep. 1 (2004) (“Dating back to the 19th century, House and Senate rules have generally banned appropriating monies for non-authorized purposes and have subjected the legislation containing an unauthorized appropriation to a procedural point of order on the House and Senate floors.”); accord CBO Report, supra note 193, at 2 & n.3. See generally James V. Saturno & Brian T. Yeh, Cong. Research Serv., R42098, Authorization of Appropriations: Procedural and Legal Issues (Nov. 30, 2016) (explaining the distinction between authorized and unauthorized appropriations).

  209. [209]. U.S. House of Representatives, Rules of the House of Representatives
    r. XXI(2)(a)(1) (2019), available at
    files/documents/116-House-Rules-Clerk.pdf [].

  210. [210]. U.S. Senate, Standing Rules of the Senate r. XVI (2013), available at [

  211. [211]. See, e.g., Lukken, supra note 208, at n.3 (“Rule 21 of the House of Representatives and Rule 16 of the Senate generally prohibit the inclusion of unauthorized appropriations in appropriation and other legislation. However, these rules are not self-enforcing. Members of each body must raise a point of order at the appropriate time to enforce the rules. If a point of order is not raised, the unauthorized appropriation will continue through the legislative process.”); accord GAO Red Book, supra note 200, at 2-55 to 2-56.

  212. [212]. See CBO Report, supra note 193, at 2 (“Whether an appropriation lacks authorization and whether it is in violation of a House or Senate rule are determined by the Speaker of the House or the Presiding Officer of the Senate on the basis of advice from the relevant chamber’s Office of the Parliamentarian.”); Saturno & Yeh, supra note 208, at 4–7 (detailing House and Senate procedures for raising a point of order with respect to appropriation without authorization).

  213. [213]. Farm Bill Law Enter., A Very Brief History of the Farm Bill 1, available at http:// [

  214. [214]. See Nat’l Inst. of Food & Agric., The Farm Bill, U.S. Dep’t of Agric., https:// [].

  215. [215]. Farm Bill Law Enter., supra note 213, at 1.

  216. [216]. Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-334, 132 Stat. 4490.

  217. [217]. E.g., id. §6503, 132 Stat. at 4772 (codified at 7 U.S.C. § 940c(a) (2018)).

  218. [218]. E.g., id. § 2812, 132 Stat. at 4602.

  219. [219]. E.g., id. §1402, 132 Stat. at 4518.

  220. [220]. E.g., id. §1402(a), 132 Stat. at 4518 (codified at 7 U.S.C. § 8772(e)).

  221. [221]. Agricultural Act of 2014, Pub. L. No. 113-79, 128 Stat. 649; see Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-234, pmbl., 122 Stat. 923, 923.

  222. [222]. Jim Monke et al., Cong. Research Serv., R42442, Expiration and Extension of the 2008 Farm Bill 5–6 (2013).

  223. [223]. Id. at 1, 3.

  224. [224]. Id. at 3.

  225. [225]. Id. at 3, 7.

  226. [226]. Id. at 7.

  227. [227]. See id.

  228. [228]. FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-254, § 111, 132 Stat. 3186, 3199.

  229. [229]. Compare id. § 111(a), 132 Stat. at 3199 (reauthorizing appropriations), with id. § 111(b), 132 Stat. at 3199 (reauthorizing obligations).

  230. [230]. E.g., id. § 111(b), 132 Stat. at 3199.

  231. [231]. E.g., id. § 113(a), 132 Stat. at 3200.

  232. [232]. Id. § 122, 132 Stat. at 3202.

  233. [233]. See FAA Reauthorization Bill Establishes New Conditions for Recreational Use of Drones, Fed. Aviation Admin., [
    M-3J3F] (last modified Oct. 12, 2018, 12:32 PM).

  234. [234]. See Ashley Halsey III, Senate Gives Final Approval for FAA Reauthorization, Sends Bill to White House, Wash. Post (Oct. 3, 2018, 11:54 AM),
    =.a6857e565732 [].

  235. [235]. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-110, § 1002, 115 Stat. 1425, 1440 (2002) (codified as amended at 20 U.S.C. § 6302 (2012)).

  236. [236]. Id.

  237. [237]. Id. § 1111, 115 Stat. at 1444–62 (codified as amended at 20 U.S.C. § 6311(b)).

  238. [238]. Wayne C. Riddle, Cong. Research Serv., RL33749, The No Child Left Behind Act: An Overview of Reauthorization Issues for the 111th Congress 19 (2009).

  239. [239]. Id.; accord Cong. Research Serv., R44297, Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: Highlights of the Every Student Succeeds Act 1 (2015).

  240. [240]. Every Student Succeeds Act, Pub. L. No. 114-95, §§ 1002, 3002, 7013, 9106, 129 Stat. 1802, 1814–15, 1953–54, 2088, 2137 (2015); Cong. Research Serv., R44297, supra note 239.

  241. [241]. Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968, Pub. L. No. 90-481, pmbl., 82 Stat. 720, 720.

  242. [242]. Id. § 15, 82 Stat. at 729.

  243. [243]. Pipeline Safety Act of 1979, Pub. L. No. 96-129, 93 Stat. 989.

  244. [244]. Pipeline Safety Reauthorization Act of 1988, Pub. L. No. 100-561, 102 Stat. 2805.

  245. [245]. Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107-355, 116 Stat. 2985.

  246. [246]. Norman Y. Mineta Research and Special Programs Improvement Act, Pub. L. No. 108-426, § 2, 118 Stat. 2423, 2423–24 (2004) (codified at 49 U.S.C. § 108 (2012)).

  247. [247]. Id.

  248. [248]. See Susan Thaul, Cong. Research Serv., RL33914, The Prescription Drug User Fee Act: History Through the 2007 PDUFA IV Reauthorization 1 (2008).

  249. [249]. See id.; see, e.g., Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007, Pub. L. No. 110-85, § 106, 121 Stat. 823, 842.

  250. [250]. FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, Pub. L. No. 115-52, pmbl., 131 Stat. 1005, 1005; see, e.g., id. § 104, 131 Stat. at 1012.

  251. [251]. See, e.g., id. § 302(3), 131 Stat. at 1020.

  252. [252]. See, e.g., id. § 203(f), 131 Stat. at 1015.

  253. [253]. See, e.g., Amanda Rae Kronquist, Backgrounder, The Prescription Drug User Fee Act: History and Reauthorization Issues for 2012, at 3–5 (2011), available at https:// [] (summarizing key changes with each reauthorization).

  254. [254]. See Letter from Bernice Steinhardt, U.S. Gen. Accounting Office, to Sen. James Jeffords 1 (July 21, 1997), available at [

  255. [255]. Id.

  256. [256]. See Full Historical Timeline, Export-Import Bank, [].

  257. [257]. See, e.g., Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-122, § 2, 126 Stat. 350, 350.

  258. [258]. FAST Act, Pub. L. No. 114-94, § 54001, 129 Stat. 1312, 1768 (2015) (codified at 12 U.S.C. § 635f (2018)).

  259. [259]. Full Historical Timeline, supra note 256.

  260. [260]. Mark Thorum & Terry Settle, Office of Inspector Gen., Export-Import Bank, OIG-EV-17-02, Report on EXIM Bank’s Activities in Preparation for and During Its Lapse in Authorization, at i (2017).

  261. [261]. Id. at 1.

  262. [262]. See FAST Act § 54001, 129 Stat. at 1768 (codified at 12 U.S.C. § 635f).

  263. [263]. Id.

  264. [264]. Id. § 51002, 129 Stat. at 1763 (codified at 12 U.S.C. § 635e(b)).

  265. [265]. Id. § 51005, 129 Stat. at 1765–66 (codified at 12 U.S.C. § 635a(l)).

  266. [266]. S. 2293, 116th Cong. §§3–4 (2019).

  267. [267]. See Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974, Pub. L. No. 93-463, § 101(b), 88 Stat. 1389, 1391.

  268. [268]. Id. § 101, 88 Stat. at 1389–91.

  269. [269]. Id. § 101(b), 88 Stat. at 1391.

  270. [270]. See, e.g., CFTC Reauthorization Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-246, § 13104, 122 Stat. 2189, 2196 (codified at 7 U.S.C. § 16(d) (2012)).

  271. [271]. See Lukken, supra note 208, at n.4 (“The CFTC has operated without authorization five times during its 30-year history: from September 30, 1982 to January 11, 1983; from September 30, 1986 to November 10, 1986; from September 30, 1989 to October 28, 1992; from September 30, 1994 to April 21, 1995; and from September 30, 2000 to December 21, 2000.”).

  272. [272]. 7 U.S.C. § 16(d) (“There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this chapter for each of the fiscal years 2008 through 2013.”); Rena S. Miller, Cong. Research Serv., R44733, Commodity Futures Trading Commission: Proposed Reauthorization in the 115th Congress 2 (2017).

  273. [273]. See, e.g., Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, Pub. L. No. 116-6, div. D, tit. V, 133 Stat. 13, 164.

  274. [274]. Brian Duignan, USA PATRIOT Act, Britannica,
    USA-PATRIOT-Act [] (last updated Oct. 17, 2019).

  275. [275]. See id.

  276. [276]. See id.

  277. [277]. See USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-56, § 224, 115 Stat. 272, 295.

  278. [278]. Id.

  279. [279]. See, e.g., USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-177, § 108, 120 Stat. 192, 203–04 (2006).

  280. [280]. Fact Sheet: USA PATRIOT Act Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005, U.S. Dep’t of Justice (Mar. 2, 2006), [].

  281. [281]. Id.; USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005, § 102, 120 Stat. at 194–95.

  282. [282]. Id. § 103, 120 Stat. at 195.

  283. [283]. Id.

  284. [284]. Rachel L. Brand, New Federal Initiatives Project: Reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act, Federalist Soc’y 4 (2010), available at [

  285. [285]. Id.

  286. [286]. PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011, Pub. L. No. 112-14, § 2(a), 125 Stat. 216, 216.

  287. [287]. Jeremy Diamond, Patriot Act Provisions Have Expired: What Happens Now?, CNN (June 1, 2015, 10:48 AM), [].

  288. [288]. USA FREEDOM Act of 2015, Pub. L. No. 114-23, 129 Stat. 268.

  289. [289]. Id. § 705, 129 Stat. at 300.

  290. [290]. E.g., id. § 101(a)(3), 129 Stat. at 269–70.

  291. [291]. See Clyde Wayne Crews Jr., Competitive Enter. Inst., Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State 20 figs.13 & 14 (2017), available at
    202017.pdf [] (reporting the total pages at the end of 2016 as 185,053); RegData U.S. Regulation Tracker, QuantGov, [] (reporting 1,078,373 regulatory restrictions in the CFR as of December 30, 2016).

  292. [292]. Crews, supra note 291, at 59 (reporting the total pages at the end of 2016 as 97,069, compared to 81,402 pages at the end of 2015). Of the 97,069 pages in 2016, 1,175 were blank. Id.

  293. [293]. See id. at 17, 75; Maeve P. Carey, Cong. Research Serv., R43056, Counting Regulations: An Overview of Rulemaking, Types of Federal Regulations, and Pages in the Federal Register 28–29 tbl.A-6 (updated Sept. 3, 2019) (providing year-by-year statistics on the content of the Federal Register by pages and actual numbers of proposed and final rules).

  294. [294]. Compare Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015, Pub. L. No. 114-1, 129 Stat. 3, with American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, Pub. L. No. 114-329, 130 Stat. 2969, 3038 (2017) (reflecting the number of pages taken up with public laws).

  295. [295]. See Gersen, supra note 164, at 252–53.

  296. [296]. E.g., USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-56, § 224, 115 Stat. 272, 295.

  297. [297]. E.g., Act of Feb. 25, 1791, ch. 10, 3 Stat. 191.

  298. [298]. E.g., CBO Report, supra note 193, at 1.

  299. [299]. 2011 National Lawyers Convention, supra note 183, at 341 (quoting Thomas Merrill).

  300. [300]. Accord id. at 358 (providing comments of William Eskridge, who observed “that sunsetting is not a one-size-fits-all solution” and that “[i]t may work better for some statutory schemes than for others”).

  301. [301]. For an example of how different sorts of lawmaking reforms might be best suited to different sorts of problems, see generally Richard J. Lazarus, Super Wicked Problems and Climate Change: Restraining the Present to Liberate the Future, 94 Cornell L. Rev. 1153 (2009).

  302. [302]. See Romano, supra note 27, at 86–87.

  303. [303]. See Full Historical Timeline, supra note 256.

  304. [304]. See Thorum & Settle, supra note 260, at 1.

  305. [305]. E.g., FAST Act, Pub. L. No. 114-94, § 51002, 129 Stat. 1312, 1763 (2015) (codified at 12 U.S.C. § 635e(b) (2018)); id. § 51005, 129 Stat. at 1765–66 (codified at 12 U.S.C. § 635a(l)).

  306. [306]. Id. § 54001, 129 Stat. at 1768 (codified at 12 U.S.C. § 635f).

  307. [307]. See Shouse & Lattanzio, supra note 65, at 3.

  308. [308]. See, e.g., Lazarus, supra note 301, at 1225–26 (discussing “hammer” provisions in environmental law); M. Elizabeth Magill, Congressional Control over Agency Rulemaking: The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act’s Hammer Provisions, 50 Food & Drug L.J., no. 1, 1995, at 149, 150; Sidney A. Shapiro & Robert L. Glicksman, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Quiet Revolution in Administrative Law, 1988 Duke L.J. 819, 839 (discussing “hammer” provisions in environmental law).

  309. [309]. See Comm. for a Responsible Fed. Budget, Q&A: Everything You Should Know About Government Shutdowns 1 (2019), available at
    QAShutdowns_Feb2019.pdf [].

  310. [310]. See 7 U.S.C. § 16(d) (2012); Lukken, supra note 208, at n.4.

  311. [311]. See 7 U.S.C. § 16(d) (“There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this chapter for each of the fiscal years 2008 through 2013.”); Lukken, supra note 208.

  312. [312]. See Lukken, supra note 208.

  313. [313]. Id.

  314. [314]. Cf. Walker, ACUS Report, supra note 149, at 17 (quoting an agency official, in explaining why federal agencies assist Congress in legislative drafting, that “oversight is always in the back of our minds”).

  315. [315]. CBO Report, supra note 193, at 1.

  316. [316]. For helpful guidance on how to navigate this congressional procedural terrain, see Saturno & Yeh, supra note 208, at 4–7.

  317. [317]. See 5 U.S.C. § 706(2) (2012) (providing that a reviewing court “shall ... hold unlawful and set aside agency action” that is, inter alia, “in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations, or short of statutory right” or “without observance of procedure required by law”).

  318. [318]. Others have attempted to carefully advance that defense. See, e.g., Gersen, supra note 164, at 261–98 (assessing arguments on both sides and citing relevant literature). Jacob Gersen concludes: “Normatively, temporary legislation should not be globally eschewed, and at least in specific policy domains such as responses to newly recognized risk, there should be a presumptive preference in favor of temporary legislation.” Id. at 298.

  319. [319]. See, e.g., Rebecca M. Kysar, Lasting Legislation, 159 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1007, 1051–65 (2011). Kysar has argued that, instead of utilizing temporary legislation to address the issue of delegation and time, Congress should embrace “dynamic legislation,” by which “the legislative product itself may automatically update without further action by Congress.” Rebecca M. Kysar, Dynamic Legislation, 167 U. Pa. L. Rev. 809, 813 (2019). See generally Lazarus, supra note 301 (discussing use of legislative precommitment strategies as a means of addressing particularly difficult policy challenges that defy legislative engagement).

  320. [320]. See, e.g., Chafetz, supra note 30, at 267–301 (detailing evolution of standing committees in the House and Senate).

  321. [321]. Josh Chafetz, Delegation and Time ... and Staff, Reg. Rev. (Mar. 4, 2020), https:// [] (describing the decline in congressional capacity).

  322. [322]. Id.

  323. [323]. Id.

  324. [324]. Walker, Legislating in the Shadows, supra note 45, at 1379.

  325. [325]. Cf. Chafetz, supra note 321 (“If we are worried about bureaucrats running wild in exercising delegated authority, surely we should be even more worried about relying increasingly on bureaucrats to write those statutory delegations.”).

  326. [326]. See Hal Shapiro & Lael Brainard, Trade Promotion Authority Formerly Known as Fast Track: Building Common Ground on Trade Demands More than a Name Change, 35 Geo. Wash. Int’l L. Rev. 1, 2 (2003) (discussing 2002 statutory change in terminology for “fast track” trade authorization to “trade promotion authority”).

  327. [327]. See, e.g., Michael A. Carrier, All Aboard the Congressional Fast Track: From Trade to Beyond, 29 Geo. Wash. J. Int’l L. & Econ. 687, 696 (1996).

  328. [328]. Richard Pierce, in his thoughtful response to our Article, raises a different type of congressional capacity argument. He argues that any proposal to restore Congress’ legislative role will fail without broader reforms to how members of Congress are elected. Richard J. Pierce Jr., Delegation, Time, and Congressional Capacity, Iowa L. Rev. Online (forthcoming 2020). Tackling these deeper electoral concerns and dynamics exceeds our ambitions for this Article. Perhaps he is correct that Congress cannot regularly legislate until the electoral process is fixed. We are hopeful he’s not. But even if he is correct, we will still have the problem of delegation and time, and Congress, once fixed per Pierce’s suggestions (or others’), should consider our proposals to remedy that problem.

  329. [329]. See Metzger, supra note 32, at 2. Indeed, one scholar has already reacted to our
    proposal with this accusation. See Richard W. Parker, Punishing the Innocent, Reg. Rev. (Mar.
    10, 2020), [https://] (declaring our proposal “simply a back-door device for paralyzing or, depending on how the sunset is phrased, de-constructing the administrative state along with vital protections it offers all Americans”). Based on Parker’s response, it is quite clear we do not share the same values about the role Congress should play in the federal lawmaking process today, much less whether it is fulfilling that role. But we do regret that he did not engage with our actual proposals to encourage greater legislative engagement that are outlined in Section V.B, and instead responds to a strawman of a blunt, across-the-board sunsetting requirement for regulatory programs—a proposal we expressly disclaim and label as “foolish.” See supra text accompanying note 300 (“This one-size-fits-all approach would be bold, yet foolish.”); cf. Chafetz, supra note 321 (“To their great credit, Adler and Walker do not propose a one-size-fits-all solution. Indeed, they suggest that Congress should remain ‘nimble’ and experiment with different sorts of reauthorization schemes. Moreover, they think in sophisticated ways about how to structure reauthorization mechanisms so as to ‘avoid catastrophic outcomes while still imposing significant costs on politically diverse groups’ in the event of failure to reauthorize, thus promoting the sort of coalition-building necessary for reauthorizing legislation to pass.”).

  330. [330]. See Baugus & Bose, supra note 165, at 18–19; Kearney, supra note 178, at 50.

  331. [331]. See 2011 National Lawyers Convention, supra note 183, at 347 (providing comments of Thomas Merrill); see also id. at 353–54 (providing comments of William Eskridge on the Voting Rights Act).

  332. [332]. Id. at 357 (providing comments of William Eskridge).

  333. [333]. See Walker, Legislating in the Shadows, supra note 45, at 1416 (“[T]he relationship between individual members of Congress (and congressional committees) and federal agencies may elevate the risk that legislating in the shadows leads to excessive delegation of interpretive and policymaking authority in ways that contravene the will of the collective Congress.”).

  334. [334]. See, e.g., Wendy Wagner et al., Rulemaking in the Shade: An Empirical Study of EPA’s Air Toxic Emission Standards, 63 Admin. L. Rev., no. 1, 2011, at 99, 103 (documenting “interest group imbalances” within the administrative processes). See generally Rachel Augustine Potter, Bending the Rules: Procedural Politicking in the Bureaucracy (2019) (exploring empirically the role of political pressure and interest groups in the rulemaking process).

  335. [335]. See David Schoenbrod, Saving Our Environment from Washington: How Congress Grabs Power, Shirks Responsibility, and Shortchanges the People 24–26 (2005); E. Donald Elliott et al., Toward a Theory of Statutory Evolution: The Federalization of Environmental Law, 1 J.L. Econ. & Org. 313, 330–33 (1985).

  336. [336]. See generally E. Scott Adler & John D. Wilkerson, Congress and the Politics of Problem Solving (2012) (exploring how Congress is held electorally responsible for its collective problem-solving ability and why that leads to successful legislation, even during periods of deep partisanship divide).

  337. [337]. See Daniel A. Farber, Politics and Procedure in Environmental Law, 8 J.L. Econ. & Org. 59, 66 (1992) (citing James Gray Pope, Republican Moments: The Role of Direct Popular Power in the American Constitutional Order, 139 U. Pa. L. Rev. 287, 292, 311 (1990)).

  338. [338]. See Schoenbrod, supra note 335, at 29–38.

  339. [339]. See John H. Cushman Jr., E.P.A. Critics Get Boost in Congress, N.Y. Times, Feb. 7, 1994, at A1, available at [] (noting environmental group opposition to reforms, dubbed “the unholy trinity,” that enjoyed bipartisan support).

  340. [340]. See John H. Cushman Jr., Environmental Lobby Beats Tactical Retreat, N.Y. Times, Mar. 30, 1994, at B7, available at []; see also Dan Krainin & Dale Curtis, Strategy: Enviros May Look to Delay Most Key Bills, Greenwire (Mar. 18, 1994) (detailing an environmental group memorandum providing a legislative strategy of delaying environmental law reauthorizations after meeting with House Democratic leadership).

  341. [341]. Aaron L. Nielson, Sticky Regulations, 85 U. Chi. L. Rev. 85, 90 (2018).

  342. [342]. Lisa Schultz Bressman & Abbe R. Gluck, Statutory Interpretation from the Inside—An Empirical Study of Congressional Drafting, Delegation, and the Canons: Part II, 66 Stan. L. Rev. 725, 765 (2014).

  343. [343]. Walker, Inside Agency Statutory Interpretation, supra note 26, at 1051–52.

  344. [344]. Walker, ACUS Report, supra note 149, at 1 (footnote omitted).

  345. [345]. See id. at 13–20 (reporting relevant findings from agency interviews and follow-up survey).

  346. [346]. Id. at 17.

  347. [347]. See id. at 48.

  348. [348]. Id.; see supra notes 214–16 and accompanying text.

  349. [349]. See Walker, ACUS Report, supra note 149, at 48–51 (presenting a USDA case study).

  350. [350]. For a summary of these recent challenges, see generally Christopher J. Walker, Attacking Auer and Chevron Deference: A Literature Review, 16 Geo. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 103 (2018).

  351. [351]. Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 842–44 (1984).

  352. [352]. U.S. Const. art. 1, § 1.

  353. [353]. Egan v. Del. River Port Auth., 851 F.3d 263, 279 (3d Cir. 2017) (Jordan, J., concurring).

  354. [354]. 2011 National Lawyers Convention, supra note 183, at 358–59 (providing comments of William Eskridge).

  355. [355]. Christopher J. Walker, Chevron Inside the Regulatory State: An Empirical Assessment, 83 Fordham L. Rev. 703, 715–28 (2014).

  356. [356]. Walker, Restoring Congress’s Role, supra note 133, at 1119 (paraphrasing Philip Wallach’s statements made at the 2017 ABA Administrative Law Conference).

  357. [357]. Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2398, 2407 (2014) (quoting Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 443 (2000)); accord Kimble v. Marvel Entm’t, LLC, 135 S. Ct. 2401, 2409 (2015) (“Respecting stare decisis means sticking to some wrong decisions. The doctrine rests on the idea, as Justice Brandeis famously wrote, that it is usually ‘more important that the applicable rule of law be settled than that it be settled right.’” (quoting Comm’r v. Coronado Oil & Gas Co., 285 U.S. 393, 406 (1932) (Brandeis, J., dissenting))).

  358. [358]. Bryan A. Garner et al., The Law of Judicial Precedent 333 (2016) (“Stare decisis applies with special force to questions of statutory construction.”).

  359. [359]. Kimble, 135 S. Ct. at 2409; see also Aaron L. Nielson & Christopher J. Walker, A Qualified Defense of Qualified Immunity, 93 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1853, 1856 (2018) (“Even Justice Thomas, who gives the least weight to stare decisis of all the current Justices, appears to acknowledge its force when it comes to statutes.”).

  360. [360]. Kimble, 135 S. Ct. at 2409.

  361. [361]. Gundy v. United States, 139 S. Ct. 2116, 2131 (2019) (Gorsuch, J., dissenting); id. at 2130–31 (Alito, J., concurring in the judgment).

  362. [362]. Paul v. United States, 140 S. Ct. 342, 342 (2019) (mem.) (“Like Justice Rehnquist’s opinion 40 years ago, Justice Gorsuch’s thoughtful Gundy opinion raised important points that may warrant further consideration in future cases.”), denying cert. to United States v. Paul, 718 F. App’x 360 (6th Cir. 2017).


Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and Director, Coleman P. Burke Center for Environmental Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law.


John W. Bricker Professor of Law, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

For able research assistance, thanks to Nathan Coyne (Moritz Class of 2020). For helpful comments on prior drafts, thanks to Alex Acs, Sarah Bender, Josh Chafetz, Jonathan Entin, Bill Eskridge, Jonah Gelbach, Simon Haeder, Paul Larkin, Matthew Lawrence, Richard Lazarus, Brian Mannix, Jennifer Mascott, Gillian Metzger, Richard Parker, Richard Pierce, Joseph Postell, David Schoenbrod, Kevin Stack, Philip Wallach, and Susan Webb Yackee, as well as participants at the Ohio State American Politics Seminar, University of Pennsylvania Law School Legislation Seminar, and University of San Diego Law Faculty Workshop. The authors received funding from the C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State to prepare and present this Article at the Center’s conference, “The Constitution’s First Branch—Rediscovering the Legislative Power.”