Hearings

2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law

Legislative Hearing on H.R. ____, the “Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome Act of 2014” (SCRUB Act)

Chairman Goodlatte:  “Just over six months ago, President Obama announced that he would once again pivot to the economy. The bottom line of his speech: after four-and-a-half years of the Obama Administration, ‘We're not there yet.’

“The President was right. We were not there yet. Regrettably, the same can be said today. Job creation and economic growth continue to fall short of what is needed to produce a real and durable recovery in this country. The nominal unemployment rate is down, but that is not because enough workers have found jobs. It is because so many unemployed workers have despaired of ever finding new full-time work that they have left the work force or settled for part-time jobs.

“As long as this situation continues, Congress must stay focused on enacting reforms that will stop the losses, return America to prosperity and return discouraged workers to the dignity of a good, full-time job.

“Throughout this term of Congress, the Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust law has worked hard to produce the regulatory reforms that will help to produce these results. Today, we turn to one of the biggest remaining pieces of the puzzle – how to clear the clutter of outdated and unnecessarily burdensome regulations that too often keep growth and job creation down.

“For years, there has been a bipartisan consensus that this is an important task that must be performed. But, as with so many things, the hard part has always been the details.  Different approaches have been tried by different presidential administrations, and some solutions have been offered by Congress. But, to date, no sufficiently meaningful results have been produced.

“In many ways, this must be because past approaches have never fully aligned the incentives and tools of all of the relevant actors – regulatory agencies, regulated entities, the President, the Congress, and others – to identify and cut the regulations that can and should be cut. On their own, regulators have little incentive to shine a spotlight on their errors or on regulations that are no longer needed. Regulated entities, meanwhile, may fear retaliation by regulators if they suggest ways to trim the regulators’ authorities. And the sheer volume of the Code of Federal Regulations – which contains well over 150,000 pages of regulations – presents a daunting task for any Congress or President to address.

“The SCRUB Act represents a real step forward in our attempts to identify a way to cut the forest of federal regulations down to size without compromising needed regulatory objectives. By establishing an expert commission with the resources and authority to assess independently where and how regulations are outdated and unnecessarily burdensome, it overcomes the disincentives for agencies and even regulated identities to identify problem regulations.

“In addition, by providing a fast-track legislative method to green-light repeal and amendment of the highest priority regulations, the SCRUB Act assures that we will take care of the biggest problems quickly. Further, by instituting regulatory ‘cut-go’ measures, the bill assures that the rest of the work of cutting regulations will finally happen.

“Finally, by instituting efficient means for Congress to provide the ultimate checks on the regulatory review exercise, it assures that the Legislative Branch has the ultimate say over the exercise of legislative authority it delegates to agencies.

“I urge my colleagues to support the RAPID Act and cut down the time it takes America’s workers to see a real Jobs Recovery.”

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