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H.R. 469: Sunshine for Regulations and Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2017

This was a vote to pass H.R. 469 in the House.

H.R. 469 increases accountability and transparency in the federal regulatory process by providing more scrutiny of rulemaking resulting from suits against federal agencies, mandating increased transparency of reporting requirements for payments made from the Judgment Fund, and strengthening the rights of Congress to intervene or participate as an amicus in litigation, particularly litigation regarding the constitutionality of Congress’ statutes.

Title I—The Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act (H.R. 469)

The bill would increase transparency and judicial scrutiny of consent decrees and settlements, and ensure that rulemaking resulting from suits observes proper rulemaking procedure. Provisions in title I include:

Improved Transparency and Accountability—The bill requires that any proposed consent decree or settlement agreement requiring a federal agency to undertake new rulemaking be published in the Federal Register for 60 days for public comment prior to filing with the court. The bill also requires agencies to publish intent-to-sue notices within 15 days after receipt and instructs courts to assure that proposed decrees and settlements provide adequate time for compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act and other statutory and executive-order requirements governing the rulemaking process.

Motions to Intervene—The bill enhances the ability of affected parties to file motions to intervene in an action and participate in settlement negotiations prior to the entry of a consent decree or settlement agreement that requires new rulemaking.

Senior Level Official Approval—The bill requires the Attorney General (for cases litigated by the Department of Justice), or the head of a federal agency that independently litigates a case, to certify to the court his or her approval of certain types of settlement agreements and consent decrees.

Greater Flexibility for Modifications—The bill allows courts more flexibility to review consent decrees when agencies seek to modify them due to changed circumstances.

Title II—The Judgment Fund Transparency Act of 2017 (H.R. 1096)

The bill requires the Department of Treasury to disclose details after payments are made from the Judgement Fund. The fund is a permanent and indefinite appropriation to pay judgements against the United States.

Specifically, the Treasury must disclose to the public on a website: the agency or entity whose actions gave rise to the claim or judgement, the plaintiff or claimant, the counsel for the plaintiff or claimant, the amount paid, a description of the facts that gave rise to the claim, and any information available on reports generated by the Judgement Fund Payment Search administered by Treasury.

If a payment is made to a foreign state, Treasury must also include: the method of payment; the currency denomination used for the payment; and the name and location of each financial institution owned or controlled by a foreign state or an agent of a foreign state through which the payment passed, form which the payment was withdrawn, or that is holding the payment.

The bill will also make public the total annual amount paid for attorneys’ fees, interest, and all other amounts for all payments made from the Judgment Fund. In addition to the transparency requirements, this bill prohibits Judgment Fund payments to a state sponsor of terrorism or to a foreign terrorist organization.

Title III—The Article I Amicus and Intervention Act of 2017 (H.R. 4070)

The bill ensures Congress has sufficient time to review and intervene in any civil action in which the Attorney General has determined DOJ will not defend the constitutionality of any provision of federal law. Specifically, the bill puts in place a formal timeline as to when DOJ must report to Congress if the department has decided not to defend the constitutionality of a provision of law.

Additionally, the bill provides the House of Representatives the same right as the Senate to intervene or file an amicus brief in any legal action or proceeding pending any court in the United States.

Source: Republican Policy Committee


Congress
115th Congress
Date
Oct 25, 2017
Chamber
House
Number
#588
Question:
On Passage of the Bill in the House
Result:
Passed

What you can do

Key: R Aye D Aye D No
Seat position based on our ideology score.
This is a cartogram. Each hexagon represents one congressional district.
Totals     Republican     Democrat
  Aye 234
 
 
54%
232 2
  No 187
 
 
43%
0 187
Not Voting 11
 
 
3%
6 5
Required: Simple Majority source: house.gov

Vote Details

Notes: The Speaker’s Vote? “Aye” or “Yea”?
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