Hatch Applauds House Passage of SCRUB Act

The U.S. House of Representatives passed on a bipartisan basis the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome, or SCRUB, Act—major legislation aimed at reducing the burden posed by federal regulations. 

Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the senior Republican in the United States Senate and the lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate, praised the House’s vote and called on the Senate to follow suit.

“Federal regulations impose a crushing burden our economy,” Hatch said. “Excessive and often unnecessary rules imposed by Washington bureaucrats strain family budgets and create conditions where small businesses struggle to create jobs. Every President since Jimmy Carter has agreed on the need to review our existing regulations to ensure they are efficient and are no more intrusive and burdensome than necessary. The SCRUB Act turns this longstanding bipartisan priority into a reality by taking the responsibility of reviewing old rules away from the bureaucrats who keep failing at that task. I applaud today’s bipartisan vote in House of Representatives passing this crucial measure, and I will continue to lead the fight in the Senate to ensure its speedy passage.”

According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, federal regulations today impose a burden of $1.88 trillion dollars on the economy. That figure equates to roughly $15,000 per household and more than corporate and individual income taxes combined. The Code of Federal Regulations is now more than 175,000 pages long and contains more than 200 volumes. And according to a study by the American Action Forum, the Obama administration’s efforts to review existing regulations resulted in the addition of more than $23 billion dollars in costs on the economy and nearly 9 million hours of paperwork.

The SCRUB Act:

  • Establishes a bipartisan, Blue-Ribbon, BRAC-style commission to review existing federal regulations and identify those that should be repealed to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens. 
  • Sets the Commission’s goal to be the reduction of at least 15 percent in the cumulative costs of federal regulation with a minimal reduction in the overall effectiveness of such regulation. 
  • Prioritizes for review regulations that are major rules, have been in effect more than 15 years, impose paperwork burdens that could be reduced substantially without significantly diminishing regulatory effectiveness, impose disproportionately high costs on small businesses, or could be strengthened in their effectiveness while reducing regulatory costs.
  • Establishes key additional factors to be taken into account when identifying regulations for repeal (e.g., the regulations have: been rendered obsolete by technological or market changes; achieved their goals and can be repealed without target problems recurring; are ineffective; overlap, duplicate, or conflict with other federal regulations or with state and local regulations; or, impose costs that are not justified by benefits produced for society within the United States). 
  • Requires that annual and final Commission recommendations of regulations be presented to Congress for approval by joint resolutions of Congress. If Congress votes to approve the Commission’s recommendations, repeal must take place. 
  • For any given regulation, the Commission is authorized to recommend either immediate repeal or repeal through “cut-go” procedures, whereby agencies, on a forward basis, would have to offset the costs of new regulations by repealing Commission-identified regulations of equal or greater cost. These procedures allow immediate repeal in the most urgent cases and staggered repeals of other regulations to assure a smoother process for agencies and affected entities. 
  • In the House of Representatives, the SCRUB Act is sponsored by Representative Jason Smith (R-Missouri). It passed both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this fall. 

Senator Hatch has played a key role in every major regulatory reform effort for the past 38 years, including as an original cosponsor of the 1981 Regulatory Reform Act and as an author of the 1995 Comprehensive Regulatory Reform Act while serving as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. His past proposals that address the problem of regulatory accumulation include the original Regulatory Accountability Act of 1993, which included a number of mechanisms for implementing retrospective review similar to those in the SCRUB Act.