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After eight years of Obama, Republicans are about to enjoy sweet payback. And thanks to former President Bill Clinton, Democrats can’t do much about it.

Making straight the way for Trump, Republicans have brushed off the Clinton-era Congressional Review Act to rapidly roll back many of Obama’s accomplishments. Instead of grumbling, though, Democrats should be cheering their colleagues and praising Clinton’s foresight.

When Republicans retook the House, Clinton did something that Obama found odious. He compromised. In March of 1996, Clinton signed then-Speaker Gingrich’s “Contract with America,” praising one provision in particular, the CRA.

Boasting that he “long supported the concept,” Clinton predicted that the parliamentary mechanism would “increase congressional accountability for regulations” and provide “expedited procedures for Congress to review those regulations.”

Essentially, it works like a legislative veto. Under the law, Congress has 60 days to vote up or down on any major administrative rule. Practically though, the CRA is used as Congressional stress relief. In twenty years, lawmakers have introduced 72 motions of disapproval. Only one was actually successful. In 2001, Republicans used the law to repeal regulation that mandated better workplace ergonomics.

Two weeks into Trump’s presidency, it’s clear that Republicans will use the parliamentary mechanism to do more than wage war on lumbar support. They plan on erasing Obama’s regulatory legacy.

Already Republicans have used the CRA to give the coal industry CPR, ease gun purchases, and rollback fiduciary rules. There’s no sign they’ll stop anytime soon. The Congressional Research Service put together an ad-hoc list of more than 50 Obama-era regulations that could get the axe in 2017, ridding the economy of a $42 billion regulatory burden. And it’s all thanks to Clinton.

Watching Obama’s thumbprint get erased from the federal register makes Democrats understandably downcast. But Minority Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer should take heart. For every partisan victory brought about by the CRA, there’s a constitutional silver lining.

By limiting the power of administrative agencies, Republicans are checking their own executive. Thanks to the CRA, there’s little chance Trump will appropriate Obama’s governing methods for Republican ends. The threat of a legislative veto makes it almost impossible for him to pick up the pen and phone of his predecessor. Instead, Trump must work with Congress, which requires compromise and that means a seat at the table for Democrats.

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What’s more, every time Republicans deploy the act, they’re setting a precedent. Democrats can find some comfort knowing that roles will someday be reversed and they’ll be the ones taking an administrative weed whacker to the legacy of a GOP executive. Perhaps that hope could help Democrats finally learn to love a government that governs least.

Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

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