Jun 18 2014
2141 Rayburn House Office Building
Markup of H.R. 4874, the “Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome Act of 2014” (SCRUB Act)
Five years ago, officials declared that the “Great Recession” had ended and recovery had begun. Workers, small business owners and Main Street families across our Nation know the truth – America remains mired in a jobs recession.
Job creation and economic growth continue to fall short of what is needed to produce a real, durable and full recovery in this country. The official, 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.
Major contributors to this problem are the estimated $1.86 trillion in annual costs that federal regulation imposes on our economy and the continued flood of new, costly regulations emerging from Washington. How can America’s job creators create enough new jobs while Washington regulations divert so many of their resources in other directions?
To reverse this situation, 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 have worked hard to produce the regulatory reforms that will help to produce these results. Today, the Committee turns to one of the biggest remaining pieces of the puzzle – how to clear the clutter of existing, outdated and unnecessarily burdensome regulations that too often keep growth and job creation down.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 now contains roughly 175,000 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 eliminate obsolete and unnecessarily burdensome federal regulations 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 entities to identify problem regulations.
In addition, by providing a legislative method to immediately repeal the most problematic regulations, the SCRUB Act assures that we will take care of the biggest problems quickly. Further, by instituting regulatory “cut-go” measures for the remaining regulations the Commission identifies for repeal – when Congress approves of the repeal -- the bill assures that the rest of the work of cutting regulations will finally happen.
I commend Rep. Jason Smith for his hard work on this important bill. I urge my colleagues to support the SCRUB Act and help cut down the time it takes America’s workers finally to see a real Jobs Recovery.