Washington, D.C. – In a longstanding effort to reduce federal regulations that unnecessarily harm American families and small businesses, today Alaska Congressman Don Young supported House passage of two regulatory reforms bills: H.R. 1155, the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome Act of 2015 (SCRUB Act) and H.R.712, the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act.
“We’ve seen a massive expansion of federal regulations in this country – 79,000 pages of new regulations in the federal register in 2015 alone,” said Congressman Don Young. “This out of control system of unchecked growth, amounting to $1.86 trillion annually, has caused our economy to suffer and eliminated numerous opportunities to lower costs, raise wages, and create new jobs for hardworking Americans. The SCRUB Act and the SUNSHINE Act are prime examples of good governance; common sense ideas to restore certainty to our system and eliminate outdated, obsolete and needlessly harmful regulations. Our federal agencies are known for their inefficiencies and backdoor rule making, and there’s no doubt that these two bills will improve our unmanageable regulatory system and save hardworking taxpayers millions of dollars each year.”
The SCRUB Act authorizes the creation of a new, bipartisan commission to review regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations and identify those that should be repealed in order to reduce unnecessary burdens. The bill would:
- Set a goal of at least a 15 percent reduction in costs with a minimal reduction in effectiveness.
- Prioritize review of regulations that are major rules, are more than 15 years old, impose paperwork burdens that can be reduced substantially without significantly diminishing effectiveness, impose disproportionately high costs on small businesses, or can be strengthened while reducing costs.
- Establish key factors to be considered – whether regulations are obsolete due to technological or market changes; have achieved their goals and can be repealed without target problems recurring; are ineffective; overlap, duplicate or conflict with other federal regulations or with state and local regulations; or,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.
- Require the Commission’s annual and final repeal recommendations to be presented to Congress for approval by joint resolutions. Once Congress approves the recommendations, repeal must take place.
- Authorize the Commission to recommend either immediate repeal or repeal through “cut-go” procedures that require agencies to offset the costs of new regulations by repealing Commission-identified regulations of equal or greater cost. This allows for immediate repeal in the most urgent cases and staggered repeals of other regulations to assure a smoother process for agencies and affected entities.
H.R. 712, the Sunshine for Regulations and Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act, increases accountability and transparency in the federal regulatory process by providing increased scrutiny of sue-and settle rulemakings cases, an issue Congressman Young has highlighted for years (see Congressman Young’s op-ed on “sue and settle” tactics). The bill would also mandate increased reporting requirements for planned rulemaking and provide for simplified summaries of proposed rules. The bill would create:
- Greater transparency:
- Agencies must publish sue-and-settle notices of intent to sue, complaints, decrees, settlements, and attorneys' fee awards and report on them to Congress.
- Greater rights for regulated entities and the public:
- Agencies cannot propose sue-and-settle decrees and settlements to the courts until parties affected by the proposed regulations can intervene and participate in settlement negotiations and the proposed decrees and settlements are published for public notice and comment.
- Greater judicial scrutiny:
- Courts weighing proposed decrees and settlements must assure compliance with normal rulemaking procedures and account for agencies' competing mandatory duties not within the litigation.
- Greater accountability:
- The Attorney General must certify to the courts his or her approval of proposed decrees that convert discretionary authorities into mandatory duties.