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house Bill H.R. 998

Does a Commission Need to Review High-Cost Regulations and Recommend Their Repeal?

Argument in favor

Federal agencies can’t always be relied upon to look at how effective their existing regulations are and an independent commission would provide sound recommendations about which regulations are no longer effective and are imposing an excessive cost on the economy relative to their benefit.

jameslj's Opinion
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02/28/2017
"Federal agencies already review their own regulations" made me laugh. If that's the only reason to vote nay, then count me as a yea. Might as well let the convicts run the prisons while you're at it. (Not to compare convicts to executive branch bureaucrats; I wouldn't want to insult convicts like that.) It's the reason the executive branch of the government has become so powerful and the Congress, the actual representatives of the people, has become so weak. That said, I only would support this commission if it has no connection to the executive branch and is accountable to Congress.
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operaman's Opinion
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02/28/2017
No new commission! Just elect honest Representatives and the rest will follow. Every time a issue presents itself, someone or some group calls for a commission or committee to investigate, establish a budget and just moves on. Issue solved because there is now a commission. Congress has too many committees with too much talk for the people's work to be done.
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BangBang's Opinion
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02/28/2017
It's a recommendation. Congress members will have an opportunity to provide feedback and potentially vote. This will offer more visibility into our lawmaker's perspectives. They will be in situations that require them to take a stand more often.
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Argument opposed

Enacting this bill would lead to the prioritization of economic considerations over the health and safety of the American public through the repeal of vital regulatons. Federal agencies already review their own regulations, so a $30 million commission isn’t needed to evaluate them.

Kayla's Opinion
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02/28/2017
I think regulations should be looked at with necessity and effectiveness in mind, not cost. This looks like the beginning of a slippery slope backwards to a time of polluted waterways and unsafe work places.
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Danielle's Opinion
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02/27/2017
This allows the creation is a secretive and unaccountable commission to have veto power over rules created by govt agencies. Why doesn't Congress do something positive and take on much needed campaign finance reform? Oh wait, that would mean actually doing something the majority of people want regardless of political affiliation.
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Charles's Opinion
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02/28/2017
This GOP bill is a free lunch for special interests and their representatives in Congress; a mechanism for mugging regulations in a dark alley, out of public view. It frees lawmakers from having to put their names on bills that alter public policy and rescind public-interest regulations (e.g., environmental or health and safety rules).
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What is House Bill H.R. 998?

This bill — known as the SCRUB Act — would establish a bipartisan commission to retroactively review existing major federal regulations that have been around for at least 15 years and determine which are no longer necessary or useful, or are disproportionately costly. Its goal would be to reduce the cost of a regulation by 15 percent with a minimal reduction in its effectiveness. It would seek out  with a minimal reduction in the overall effectiveness of the regulation, impose high costs on small businesses, or could be strengthened while reducing their economic cost. Congress would be required to consider legislation repealing regulations it identifies before an agency repeals the rule in question, and the agency would be banned from reissuing new rules that are similar or result in the same negative effect without congressional approval.

The commission would consider whether the following criteria are met in deciding to eliminate regulations:

  • If the original purpose of the rule was achieved.

  • The implementation, compliance, administration, enforcement, imposition of unfunded mandates (which require state or local gov’ts to perform actions with no money provided to pay for it), or other costs aren’t justified by a cost-benefit analysis.

  • The rules have become unnecessary or obsolete.

  • The rules are ineffective at achieving their purpose.

  • The rules overlap, duplicate, or conflict with other federal, state or local rules.

  • The rules have excessive compliance costs, impose unfunded mandates, or are excessively burdensome compared to alternatives.

  • The rules inhibit innovation or harm competition.

  • The rules limit or prevent an agency from applying new or emerging technologies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government.

  • The rules harm wage growth, including that of minimum wage and part-time workers.

The commission would terminate on the later of five years and 180 days after this bill’s enactment or five years after the date on which all commission members begin their terms. It would operate a website to provide information to the public in a standard format, and receive and publish public comments at no cost.

Federal agencies would be required to repeal rules the commission identifies as recommended for repeal in order to offset the cost of new regulations it proposes. Agencies would be exempt from this requirement when it has implemented the repeal of all rules the commission recommended repealing. Additionally, agencies would have to include a plan for the review of a new rule within 10 years of it taking effect when the new rule is issued.

A major rule or regulation would be defined as one that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs finds is likely to impose:

  • An annual economic cost of $100 million or more;

  • Increase prices or costs for consumers, individual industries, federal, state, or local governments, or geographic regions;

  • Significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based businesses to compete with foreign-based enterprises;

  • Significant impacts on multiple sectors of the economy.

Members of the commission would be nominated by the top two lawmakers of each party in Congress, and the president would appoint nine total members to the commission. Candidates would have experience with the regulatory process.

In case you were wondering, the SCRUB Act is short for the “Searching for and Cutting Regulations are Unnecessarily Burdensome Act.”

Impact

Federal agencies; members of the commission; congressional leadership; and the president.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 998

$30.00 Million
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost $30 million over the 2018-2022 period for the operation of the commission, and could lead to other spending or generate revenue depending on actions taken by the commission.

More Information

In-Depth: When he introduced this bill’s predecessor in the 114th Congress, sponsoring Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) wanted to curtail “Washington’s excessive meddling” with the economy in the form of “costly, burdensome regulations.” He added that:

“My mission with the SCRUB Act is to require a full evaluation of all 175,000-plus pages of the Federal Register and identify outdated and ineffective regulations for removal. This streamlining will lessen regulatory burdens on small businesses and give them the freedom to innovate and grow.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) filed a statement opposing this legislation in the committee’s report, which read:

“Through the creation of an unelected Commission, this bill would duplicate work agencies are already doing to review and repeal regulations -- at a cost to taxpayers of $30 million -- and it would prioritize corporate profits over the health and safety of the American public.”

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed this legislation on a party-line vote of 22-17. It currently has the support three Republican cosponsors in the House.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: y2bk via Flickr / Creative Commons)

AKA

SCRUB Act

Official Title

To provide for the establishment of a process for the review of rules and sets of rules, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed March 1st, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 240 Yea / 185 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law
    IntroducedFebruary 9th, 2017

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    "Federal agencies already review their own regulations" made me laugh. If that's the only reason to vote nay, then count me as a yea. Might as well let the convicts run the prisons while you're at it. (Not to compare convicts to executive branch bureaucrats; I wouldn't want to insult convicts like that.) It's the reason the executive branch of the government has become so powerful and the Congress, the actual representatives of the people, has become so weak. That said, I only would support this commission if it has no connection to the executive branch and is accountable to Congress.
    Like (70)
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    I think regulations should be looked at with necessity and effectiveness in mind, not cost. This looks like the beginning of a slippery slope backwards to a time of polluted waterways and unsafe work places.
    Like (668)
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    This allows the creation is a secretive and unaccountable commission to have veto power over rules created by govt agencies. Why doesn't Congress do something positive and take on much needed campaign finance reform? Oh wait, that would mean actually doing something the majority of people want regardless of political affiliation.
    Like (304)
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    Share
    This GOP bill is a free lunch for special interests and their representatives in Congress; a mechanism for mugging regulations in a dark alley, out of public view. It frees lawmakers from having to put their names on bills that alter public policy and rescind public-interest regulations (e.g., environmental or health and safety rules).
    Like (233)
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    A bill with a catchy acronym and no official summary that gives Congress the power to erase enforcement rules they don't like. What could possibly go wrong?
    Like (152)
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    The regulations weren't put in place depending upon their cost and therefore should not be removed dependent upon their costs. Only their value to the public should be considered.
    Like (121)
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    I would welcome bipartisan discussion rather than executive order as the means of ridding ourselves of outdated regulations. My concern is with the priority of cost. Cost to businesses, presumably. I'd prefer to prioritize in terms of cost to environment. Keep regs that protect the environment and worker safety.
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    Creating a secretive committee to review and remove rules from any government agency is not right. If an agency wants to remove a rule it should go through the standard public comment process. If congress wants to remove a rule it should have to do so in the light, on the record, and with a law.
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    When researching the bill, be sure to look at the 115th Congress for the correct one. This is co-sponsored by Sessions and Chaffetz. Need I say more?
    Like (58)
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    This is a poorly disguised attempt by Republicans to deregulate all agencies that check corporate power. Vote for the 99%, and vote no!
    Like (57)
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    Laws and regulations are not meant to benefit private corporations. The fact that a regulation for a business is expensive should have no bearing on that regulation. Regulations are put in place to protect everyday hard working Americans from negligence and bad businesses. A good business should be able to innovate under constraints, but instead these days we remove those constraints and thus innovation.
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    I think we already have such a group. It's called Congress.
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    I don't think this bill is inherently a bad idea. However, given the research I have been doing regarding the regulations that are being misnomered "red tape" and the insanely partisan nature of much of the republican majority (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/on-the-media/id73330715?mt=2&i=1000381876030) I believe this committee would be an agent of partisan dismantling of regulations designed to protect consumers and the environment (in other words people, plants, animals, the planet and the future.)
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    This Orwellian sounding legislation is as bad as it gets. Creating a non-public committee that has no responsibility to the public, no transparency & that can strike down any rule or regulation is a recipe for disaster & would be the beginning of the end of our democracy.
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    No new commission! Just elect honest Representatives and the rest will follow. Every time a issue presents itself, someone or some group calls for a commission or committee to investigate, establish a budget and just moves on. Issue solved because there is now a commission. Congress has too many committees with too much talk for the people's work to be done.
    Like (27)
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    It's a recommendation. Congress members will have an opportunity to provide feedback and potentially vote. This will offer more visibility into our lawmaker's perspectives. They will be in situations that require them to take a stand more often.
    Like (24)
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    I don't believe regulations should be undone because of cost.
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    This bill would lead to special interests having a huge sway in the legislature and would give the executive branch power over the legislature which is not how America works.
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    During the Obama administration, Republicans always complained about the skyrocketing national debt. Their typical rant was something like "We can't leave our children and grandchildren this mountain of debt". Conversely, its apparently OK to leave them a dying planet.
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    There are parts of this bill that worry me. While trying to keep updated on out of date regulations is great, this bill makes no sense. The idea that you have to get rid of rules to implement a new one makes about as much sense as schools needing to have two women's sports for everyone one male sport. This is a definite NO.
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