GAO: Leveraged Lending Guidance Constitutes a ‘Rule’

The Government Accountability Office today issued a statement that the 2013 interagency guidance on leveraged lending issued by the federal banking agencies constitutes a “rule” for purposes of the Congressional Review Act. The GAO ruled that the guidance — issued without notice and comment — is a general statement of policy with general applicability, does not meet any CRA exceptions and thus counts as a rule. The leveraged lending guidance had substantial effects on institutions subject to it, as the American Bankers Association noted at the time.

Under the CRA, Congress can — in certain cases — vote to overturn a regulation. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who requested the GAO review, commented that “agencies have a responsibility to live up to their obligations under the Congressional Review Act. When they don’t, Congress should hold them accountable. I will explore steps to do so.”