United States: Chairman Goodlatte Outlines Sweeping Agenda For House Judiciary Committee

With Washington undergoing a transformation the likes of which has not been seen in decades, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte recently outlined his committee's priorities for the 115th Congress. Speaking at an event sponsored by the Federalist Society at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Chairman Goodlatte outlined a vision extending from intellectual property to the nation's borders and provided a road map for business leaders of important regulatory law issues on which to focus.

Regulatory reform: Chairman Goodlatte stressed the importance of reforming the nation's rules and rulemaking, particularly for small businesses. Declaring that the cost of excessive regulation reaches nearly $2 trillion annually, or $15,000 per U.S. household, he noted that the committee has passed a series of bills to reign in red tape and provide transparency, and that the House had approved these bills in January. They are:

  • H.R. 5, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017, would change administrative rulemaking procedures, consolidating six earlier bills aimed at reforming the regulatory process. Federal agencies would be required to choose the lowest-cost rulemaking alternative that meets statutory objectives, and would be required to make all preliminary and final factual determinations based on evidence and public hearings of the evidence before any protective regulations are put into place. The act also would repeal the Chevron and Auer doctrines, necessitating de novo review of agency action in all circumstances – which supporters say reasserts the separation of powers. Chairman Goodlatte, the sponsor of the bill, stressed that overturning such deference to the agency would make it more likely that congressional intent is reflected in court decisions.

    The act, which is worth reading in full detail, would also change rules specifically for small businesses, require the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to determine whether a new rule would cost the economy at least $1 billion annually and require that each federal agency submit monthly reports that include rules the agency expects to propose or finalize within the following 12 months.

    Enactment of H.R. 5 would amount to sweeping reform for businesses across nearly all sectors of the economy. Further, by putting an end to the deference afforded agencies by the Chevron and Auer doctrines and giving more oversight of agency action to the judicial branch, the bill would overturn decades of legal precedent. The bill has currently been referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
  • H.R. 21, the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017, would amend the Congressional Review Act to allow lawmakers to bundle together multiple rules and overturn them. Specifically, this would target regulations instituted during the final year of a president's term. It would help Congress move more quickly to undo parts of major programs, such as the Affordable Care Act, which have deep regulatory roots in addition to statutory requirements. The bill passed the House on January 4, 2017, and currently awaits debate in the Senate.
  • H.R. 26, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017, would revise provisions related to congressional review of agency rulemaking. Specifically, a federal agency promulgating a rule would have to publish information about it in the Federal Register and include in its report to Congress and to the Government Accountability Office both a classification of the rule as a major or non-major rule, and a copy of the cost-benefit analysis of the rule that includes an analysis of any jobs added or lost. The important question in this discussion will be what, exactly, constitutes a major rule. The billed passed the House on January 5, 2017, and has been referred to the Senate committee.

Although all three bills have already passed the House, they are likely to face a much steeper climb in the Senate, where Republicans have a narrower majority.

Privacy: Chairman Goodlatte stressed that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, passed in the 1980s, requires reform to ensure privacy is protected in the face of technological advances. Chairman Goodlatte supported the Email Privacy Act, approved 419-0 in the House in 2016 but now stalled in the Senate. The act would require all government agencies to get a warrant to search Americans' online communications, regardless of when the communications were crafted. Under current law, any email older than 180 days can be searched without a warrant if it is stored on third-party servers.

Emphasizing the need to balance privacy and security, Chairman Goodlatte noted that Congress was taking a bipartisan approach to addressing issues such as the Apple/FBI dispute regarding encryption, and that he hoped to continue those efforts. However, in response to an audience question, he said that the committee did not currently have anything specific planned with respect to hacking.

Immigration: On one of the most contentious social and business issues, Chairman Goodlatte stressed the importance of restoring the rule of law and enforcing existing laws, which he said was not done under President Obama. Congress should remove the president's ability to shut down immigration enforcement, Chairman Goodlatte said, noting that President Trump would roll back President Obama's actions on immigration.

Chairman Goodlatte also said he supports an agricultural guest worker system, EB-5 reform, mandated employment verification (a longtime goal of Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who is on the Judiciary Committee) and efforts to stop abuse of the asylum system. He also said he supports a bill introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, which would tighten the "credible fear" standard that asylum seekers must meet. Chairman Goodlatte further noted the importance of reforming legal immigration, citing statistics indicating that, of the 1 million green cards issued annually, only 12 percent were issued in connection with needed skills.

Patent reform: Chairman Goodlatte said his committee would focus on patent issues regarding non-practicing entities. He said the courts have made recent strides in this area – likely an allusion to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2016 decision in support of government procedures for challenging patents – which was supported by Apple and other technology companies.

Overall, Chairman Goodlatte's remarks promised an active year for the House Judiciary Committee, which has recently continued work on these and other agenda priorities in approving bills related to litigation reform and is considering an antitrust bill targeted at health insurers. Although it is difficult to predict how many of the committee's goals will gain traction in the Senate, it is clear that the committee, under Chairman Goodlatte's leadership, hopes to make big changes in the new Congress.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions