[House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House] [Chapter 14. Congressional Disapproval Actions] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov] [[Page 363]] CHAPTER 14 - CONGRESSIONAL DISAPPROVAL ACTIONS HOUSE PRACTICE Sec. 1. In General Sec. 2. Constitutionality Sec. 3. Consideration in the House Research References U.S. Const. art. I, Sec. 7 Manual Sec. Sec. 1130-1130(30) Sec. 1 . In General Congress has enacted numerous laws reserving to itself a right of review by approval or disapproval of certain actions of the executive branch or of independent agencies. These laws, known as ``congressional disapproval'' statutes, take various forms, often including expedited procedures. For example, the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Act of 1976 permits the privileged consideration of joint resolutions approving Presidential decisions on the Alaska natural gas transportation system when those resolutions are reported from committee or are discharged after 30 days. 15 USC Sec. Sec. 719f, 719g; Manual Sec. 1130(18); 95-1, Nov. 1, 1977, p 36347. Another statute sets forth a similar procedure for congressional approval or disapproval of certain actions by the District of Columbia Council. District of Columbia Home Rule Act, Sec. Sec. 602(c), 604; Manual Sec. 1130(5). The House Rules and Manual carries a compilation of current texts of congressional disapproval provisions that include expedited procedures. Manual Sec. 1130 Sec. 2 . Constitutionality Federal court decisions indicate that congressional action to approve or disapprove an executive branch determination should be undertaken by way of a bill or joint resolution and not by way of a simple or concurrent resolution or through committee action. In 1983, the Supreme Court declared in Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha (462 U.S. 919 (1983)) that a statute permitting the disapproval of a decision of the Attorney General by simple resolution of one House only was unconstitutional. The Court said the device violated the doctrine of separation of powers, the principle of bicameralism, and the clause of the Constitution requiring that legislation passed by both Chambers must be presented to the President for his signa [[Page 364]] ture or veto. In an earlier decision, the Court of Appeals had specifically held a one-house legislative veto provision in the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 (15 USC Sec. 3341(b)) to be unconstitutional. In its decision, the circuit court for the District of Columbia said that the primary basis for its holding was that the one-house veto violates article I, section 7 of the Constitution both by preventing the President from exercising his veto power and by permitting legislative action by only one House of Congress. The circuit court also found the one-house veto to contravene the separation of powers principle implicit in articles I, II, and III because it authorizes the legislature to share powers properly exercised by the other two branches of government. The court declared that article I, section 7 sets forth the fundamental prerequisites to the enactment of Federal laws--bicameral passage of legislation and presentation for approval or disapproval by the President, and held that congressional disapproval of final agency rules must comply with these requirements. The court added that Congress may choose to use a resolution of disapproval as a means of expediting action, but only if it acts by both Houses and presents the resolution to the President. Consumer Energy Council of America, et al. v. FERC, 673 F.2d 425 (D.C. Cir. 1982), Affd, 463 U.S. 1216 (1983). In the light of these decisions, Congress has amended several statutes to convert procedures involving simple or concurrent resolutions of approval or disapproval to procedures requiring joint resolutions to be presented to the President for his signature or returned for a possible veto override, consistent with the ``presentment'' clause of article I, section 7. Manual Sec. 1130. Sec. 3 . Consideration in the House Many ``congressional disapproval'' statutes prescribe special procedures for the House to follow when reviewing executive branch actions. For a compilation of the relevant provisions of such statutes, see Manual Sec. 1130. These procedures technically are rules of the House, enacted expressly or implicitly as an exercise of the House's rule-making authority. At the beginning of each Congress, it is customary for the House to reincorporate by reference in the resolution adopting its rules such ``congressional disapproval'' procedures as may exist in current law. Nevertheless, because the House retains the constitutional right to change its rules at any time, the Committee on Rules may report a resolution varying such procedures. Manual Sec. 1130. Where a law enacted as a rule of both Houses provides special procedures during consideration of a joint resolution approving a Presidential determination, and the House then adopts a special order providing for consid [[Page 365]] eration of such a joint resolution in the House, the Speaker will nevertheless interpret the special statutory provisions to apply if consistent with the special order. 97-1, Dec. 10, 1981, p 30486.