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115th Congress }                                          { Rept. 115-14
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session   }                                          { Part 1

======================================================================
 
SEARCHING FOR AND CUTTING REGULATIONS THAT ARE UNNECESSARILY BURDENSOME 
                                  ACT

                                _______
                                

 February 21, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Chaffetz, from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 998]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 998) to provide for the 
establishment of a process for the review of rules and sets of 
rules, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that 
the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Committee Statement and Views....................................     2
Section-by-Section...............................................     4
Explanation of Amendments........................................     6
Committee Consideration..........................................     6
Roll Call Votes..................................................     6
Correspondence...................................................    12
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................    14
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................    14
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............    14
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................    14
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................    14
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................    14
Unfunded Mandate Statement.......................................    14
Earmark Identification...........................................    14
Committee Estimate...............................................    15
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...    15
Minority Views...................................................    18

                     Committee Statement and Views


                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 998, the ``Searching for and Cutting Regulations that 
are Unnecessarily Burdensome Act of 2017'' (SCRUB Act) 
establishes a Retrospective Regulatory Review Commission 
(Commission) to identify unnecessary regulations for repeal to 
reduce regulatory burdens and stimulate economic growth. If 
Congress agrees to the recommendations, the identified 
regulations would be repealed immediately or through a 
regulatory ``cut-go'' procedure. The SCRUB Act sets a goal of a 
15 percent reduction in economic costs of regulations and 
prioritizes major rules more than 15 years old that can be 
reduced without diminishing effectiveness.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Regulations have substantially hampered economic growth in 
the United States over the past 36 years.\1\ One study 
estimated that the total regulatory burden on Americans is over 
$2 trillion.\2\ Specifically, the ``the growth of regulation 
since 1980 cost the United States roughly $4 trillion in GDP in 
2012 alone,''\3\ and if regulation levels remained constant 
with regulation levels in 1980, the American economy would have 
been nearly 25 percent larger by 2012.\4\
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    \1\Bentley Coffey, Patrick A. McLaughlin, and Pietro Peretto, 
Mercatus Center, George Mason University, the Cumulative Cost of 
Regulations 8 (2016), available at https://www.mercatus.org/system/
files/Coffey-Cumulative-Cost-Regs-v3.pdf.
    \2\W. Mark Crain and Nicole V. Crain, National Association of 
Manufacturers (NAM), The Cost of Federal Regulation to the U.S. 
Economy, Manufacturing and Small Business 1 (2014), available at http:/
/www.nam.org/Data-and-Reports/Cost-of-Federal-Regulations/Federal-
Regulation-Full-Study.pdf.
    \3\Bentley Coffey, Patrick A. McLaughlin, and Pietro Peretto, 
Mercatus Center, George Mason University, the Cumulative Cost of 
Regulations 8 (2016), available at https://www.mercatus.org/system/
files/Coffey-Cumulative-Cost-Regs-v3.pdf.
    \4\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), 
federal agencies published over 36,000 final rules between 
fiscal year (FY) 2006 and FY 2015.\5\ Of these rules, 555 were 
major rules, meaning the anticipated effect on the economy of a 
just one of them was at least $100 million annually.\6\ This is 
a substantial increase from just a decade prior, when agencies 
issued only 95 major rules between October 1, 1995, and 
September 30, 2005.\7\ This rapid growth in regulations helps 
explain why small businesses rank regulations as one of the top 
reasons for uncertainty and slow business growth.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), OMB, 2016 
Draft Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal 
Regulations and Agency Compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
7 (2016), available at https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/
default/files/omb/assets/legislative_reports/
draft_2016_cost_benefit_report_12_14_2016_2.pdf.
    \6\ Id.
    \7\OIRA, OMB, 2006 Report to Congress on the Costs and Benefits of 
Federal Regulations and Unfunded Mandates on State, Local, and Tribal 
Entities 2 (2006), available at https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/
sites/default/files/omb/assets/omb/inforeg/2006_cb/
2006_cb_final_report.pdf.
    \8\NFIB, Small Business Economic Trends 18 (2016), available at 
http://www.nfib.com/assets/SBET-November-2016.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Regulations promulgated year after year have resulted in a 
cumulative burden that is stifling entrepreneurship and 
adversely affecting economic growth and the labor market.\9\ 
While an individual regulation may be well intended to address 
a singular problem, over time and across the government, these 
regulations build up, duplicate, and sometimes conflict with 
each other.\10\ Further, even as potentially duplicative or 
unnecessary regulations are identified, these regulations are 
often difficult to roll back and eliminate. Special interest 
groups and agency employees may have a vested interest in 
keeping regulations, even unnecessary ones, or no incentive to 
pare them down.\11\ This regulatory buildup has created a net 
negative impact on the economy.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\Patrick A. McLaughlin and Richard Williams, Mercatus Center, 
George Mason University, the Consequences of Regulatory Accumulation 
and a Proposed Solution 2 (2014), available at https://
www.mercatus.org/system/files/McLaughlin_RegulatoryAccumulation_v2.pdf.
    \10\Bentley Coffey, Patrick A. McLaughlin, and Pietro Peretto, 
Mercatus Center, George Mason University, the Cumulative Cost of 
Regulations 38 (2016), available at https://www.mercatus.org/system/
files/Coffey-Cumulative-Cost-Regs-v3.pdf.
    \11\Patrick A. McLaughlin and Richard Williams, supra note 9, at 5.
    \12\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Legislation is necessary to reduce the regulatory burden on 
individuals and businesses across the United States and avoid 
unnecessarily stifling economic growth. While experts and 
interested parties have suggested varying potential solutions 
for problems associated with regulatory accumulation, a 
reoccurring theme is the need for an independent regulatory 
commission.\13\ The cumulative effect of regulations across 
multiple agencies and industries requires any review cut across 
all agencies. This legislation establishes an independent 
regulatory commission with experts who, rather than being tied 
to individual federal agencies, would identify overlap and 
duplication while also seeking to eliminate outdated or 
unnecessary regulations. Americans want to follow the rules; 
however, currently the regulatory system in America is 
overflowing with superfluous regulations that make it difficult 
and impose significant costs and burdens.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\See Michael Mandel, Ph.D., Progressive Policy Institute, 
Reviving Jobs and Innovation: A Progressive Approach to Improving 
Regulation 2 (2011), available at http://www.progressivefix.com/wp-
content/uploads/2011/02/2011_Mandel_A-Progressive-Approach-to-
Improving-Regulation.pdf; see e.g. Patrick A. McLaughlin and Richard 
Williams, supra note 9, at 5-8.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The SCRUB Act, through the establishment of an independent 
and transparent commission, will greatly reduce the regulatory 
burdens currently in existence. The SCRUB Act creates a 
commission for a limited time span with the independence 
necessary to provide objective recommendations for removal of 
ineffective regulations. The Presidents select members of the 
Commission from a list jointly offered by leadership in the 
U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Those appointments 
are then subject to Senate confirmation. The legislation also 
requires transparency in the Commission process by requiring 
the Commission to establish a methodology for conducting the 
review and identifying regulations for repeal. The methodology 
is required to be published in the Federal Register. Finally, 
Congress must vote to implement the recommendations of the 
Commission before any regulation will be repealed. Congress 
will serve as a check against improper removal if a substantial 
need for the regulation still exists.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    Representative Jason Smith (R-MO) introduced H.R. 998 on 
February 9, 2017, which was referred primarily to the Committee 
on Oversight and Government Reform, with an additional referral 
to the Committee on the Judiciary. On February 14, 2017, the 
Committee considered H.R. 998 at a business meeting. The 
Committee ordered the bill reported favorably, without 
amendment, was reported favorably with a vote of 22 to 17.
    During the 114th Congress, the House Committee on the 
Judiciary favorably reported the SCRUB Act (H.R. 1155) to the 
U.S. House of Representatives by a recorded vote of 17 to 12 on 
March 24, 2015. On January 7, 2016, the U.S. House of 
Representatives passed the legislation by a recorded vote of 
245 to 174.
    During the 113th Congress, the House Committee on the 
Judiciary favorably reported without amendment the SCRUB Act 
(H.R. 4874) to the U.S. House of Representatives on June 18, 
2014. Following this, on July 24, 2014, the Committee on 
Oversight and Government Reform amended the SCRUB Act through 
an amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by 
Representative Doug Collins (R-GA). The amendment applied the 
Federal Advisory Committee Act to the Commission and made a 
number of other minor revisions to the bill.

                           Section-by-Section


Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 establishes the short title of the bill as the 
``Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily 
Burdensome Act of 2017'' or the ``SCRUB Act of 2017.''

Section 2. Table of contents

    Provides a table of contents for the bill with Titles I-V.

          Title I--Retrospective Regulatory Review Commission


Section 101. In general

    Subsection (a) establishes the Retrospective Regulatory 
Review Commission, to review rules to be repealed to reduce 
costs to the economy and establishes a termination date that is 
five-and-a-half years after enactment of the legislation.
    Subsection (b) establishes the membership of the Commission 
as nine members appointed by the President and confirmed by the 
Senate, selected from lists of recommendations from the 
leadership of both chambers.
    Subsection (c) defines the power and authority of the 
Commission to hold meetings, hold public hearings, access 
information, and issue subpoenas for information and witnesses.
    Subsections (d) through (g) set the rate of pay and travel 
expenses, provide for a Director of the Commission, and provide 
for staff and hiring authority.
    Subsection (h), paragraph (1), directs the Commission to 
review regulations to identify regulations to repeal, giving 
priority to older major rules, with a goal of reducing 
cumulative costs of Federal regulation by 15%.
    Paragraph (2) of the subsection establishes criteria by 
which the Commission will review regulations, including: 
whether purpose was achieved and rule could be repealed without 
recurrence, whether the costs of the regulation outweigh its 
benefits, whether the rule is now unnecessary or obsolete, 
whether the rule is ineffective at achieving its purpose, 
whether it conflicts with or duplicates other rules, whether 
compliance costs are excessive compared to alternatives, 
whether the rule inhibits innovation or growth, whether the 
rule harms competition, and other criteria to eliminate or 
reduce unnecessarily burdensome costs.
    Paragraph (3) of the subsection requires the Commission to 
establish a methodology to conduct the review and publish the 
terms in the Federal Register and on the Commission's website.
    Paragraph (4) of the subsection requires the Commission to 
classify identified regulations as either appropriate for 
immediate repeal or eligible for repeal through regulatory cut-
go procedures. The paragraph requires a majority vote for 
identifying and classifying rules.
    Paragraph (5) of the subsection allows the Commission to 
initiate a review of a specific rule or set of rules upon 
submission by specified officials, including the President or a 
Member of Congress.
    Subsection (i) requires the Commission to submit notices of 
meetings or hearings, reports at the conclusion of meetings, 
and annual reports to Congress.
    Subsection (j) provides for Congressional consideration of 
the Commission's recommendations and requires agencies to 
repeal regulations in accordance with the recommendations upon 
enactment of a joint resolution approving of the 
recommendations.
    Subsection (k) authorizes appropriations not to exceed $30 
million.
    Subsection (l) requires the Committee to establish a 
website to publish information about the Commission and 
Commission hearings and meetings. Requires comments and 
submissions to the Commission be published to the website.
    Subsection (m) clarifies that the Federal Advisory 
Committee Act applies to the Commission and any subcommittees 
of the Commission.

                      Title II--Regulatory Cut-Go


Section 201. Cut-Go procedures

    Section 201 requires agencies to repeal a Commission 
identified rule with equal to or greater than costs to the 
economy when issuing a new rule. Allows agencies to repeal 
rules prior to promulgating new regulations to apply the cost 
savings to new rules promulgated at a later time.

Section 202. Applicability

    Sections 201 and 203 are applicable until an agency has 
repealed all regulations identified.

Section 203. OIRA Certification of cost calculations

    Section 203 requires the Administrator of OIRA to review 
and certify agency determinations of costs of new rules under 
section 201.

                Title III--Retrospective Review of Rules


Section 301. Plan for future review

    Section 301 requires that agencies include a plan for a 
future review in all new regulations.

                       Title IV--Judicial Review


Section 401. Judicial review

    Section 401 subjects an agency's compliance with the repeal 
provision, cut-go process, and the requirement for new 
regulations to include a future review plan to judicial review.

                   Title V--Miscellaneous Provisions


Section 501. Definitions

    Section 501 defines the terms, ``agency,'' ``Commission,'' 
``major rule,'' ``rule,'' and ``set of rules.''

Section 502. Effective date

    Section 502 sets the effective date as the date of 
enactment of this bill into law.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    During Full Committee consideration of the bill, five 
amendments were offered to H.R. 998.
    Ranking Minority Member Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) offered 
an amendment to exempt unspecified regulations related to 
whistleblowers. The Cummings amendment was not adopted by a 
roll call vote of 12 to 21.
    Representative Lawrence (D-MI) offered an amendment to 
exempt regulations related to lead paint. The Lawrence 
amendment was not adopted by a roll call vote of 14 to 21.
    Representative Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) offered an amendment 
to change the priority of regulations reviewed from major 
regulations promulgated 15 or more years ago, to a chorological 
review starting with the oldest regulations. The Krishnamoorthi 
amendment was not adopted by voice vote.
    Representative Raskin (D-MD) offered an amendment to exempt 
regulations related to conflicts of interest by employees of 
the executive branch. The Raskin amendment was not adopted by a 
roll call vote of 17 to 22.
    Representative Raskin (D-MD) offered an amendment to exempt 
regulations related to clean air act. The Raskin amendment was 
not adopted by a roll call vote of 17 to 22.

                        Committee Consideration

    On February 14, 2017, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered reported favorably the bill, H.R. 998, by a vote of 22 
to 17, a quorum being present.

                            Roll Call Votes

    There were five roll call votes during consideration of 
H.R. 998:


              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. 
This bill establishes a commission to reduce regulatory 
burdens. As such this bill does not relate to employment or 
access to public services and accommodations.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goal or objective of this bill is to provide for the 
establishment of a process for the review of rules and sets of 
rules, and for other purposes.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    In accordance with clause 2(c)(5) of rule XIII no provision 
of this bill establishes or reauthorizes a program of the 
Federal Government known to be duplicative of another Federal 
program, a program that was included in any report from the 
Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to 
section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a 
program identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that enacting this bill does not 
direct the completion of any specific rule makings within the 
meaning of 5 U.S.C. 551.

                     Federal Advisory Committee Act

    The Committee finds that the legislation establishes an 
advisory committee within the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., 
Section 5(b).

                       Unfunded Mandate Statement

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandate Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement as to 
whether the provisions of the reported include unfunded 
mandates. In compliance with this requirement, the Committee 
has received a letter from the Congressional Budget Office 
included herein.

                         Earmark Identification

    This bill does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI.

                           Committee Estimate

    Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out 
this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) of that rule provides 
that this requirement does not apply when the Committee has 
included in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the 
bill prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974.

     Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received 
the following cost estimate for this bill from the Director of 
the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                 Washington, DC, February 21, 2017.
Hon. Jason Chaffetz,
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 998, the SCRUB 
Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 998--SCRUB Act

    Summary: H.R. 998 would establish a commission to review 
existing federal regulations and to identify those that should 
be repealed to reduce the cost of regulations on the economy. 
In addition, the legislation would require agencies to create a 
plan to review all new regulations within 10 years of their 
issuance. Finally, H.R. 998 would authorize the appropriation 
of up to $30 million to fund the commission.
    CBO estimates that, assuming appropriation of the specified 
amounts, implementing H.R. 998 would cost $30 million over the 
2018-2022 period to operate the commission. CBO estimates that 
enacting the bill could affect direct spending or revenues; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO cannot 
estimate the direction or magnitude of those effects.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 998 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 998 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary effect of H.R. 998 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within function 800 (general 
government) and all budget functions that include funding for 
agencies that issue regulations.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                    ------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       2018      2019      2020      2021      2022    2018-2022
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 INCREASES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Estimated Authorization Level......................         6         6         6         6         6         30
Estimated Outlays..................................         6         6         6         6         6         30
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
bill will be enacted by the end of fiscal year 2017 and that 
the funds for the commission will be provided each year.
    Title I would establish a commission to review the Code of 
Federal Regulations to determine if any rules should be 
repealed to lower the cost of regulations on the U.S. economy. 
The commission would recommend to the Congress a list of rules 
to be repealed. Under the bill, no existing regulations could 
be repealed unless subsequent legislation to authorize the 
repeal was enacted.
    The commission would consist of nine members appointed by 
the President and confirmed by the Senate. Members would be 
paid and reimbursed for travel expenses. In addition, the 
commission could hire staff and would end after either five 
years and a half after enactment or five years after all 
commissioner terms have commenced, whichever is later. H.R. 998 
also would direct the commission to produce annual and final 
reports on its activities and would authorize the appropriation 
of up to $30 million to cover the costs of the commission. 
Assuming appropriation of those amounts, CBO estimates that 
implementing this title would cost $30 million over the 2018-
2022 period.
    Under title II, federal agencies would be directed to 
offset the estimated costs that new regulations would impose on 
the economy by repealing existing regulations that have been 
recommended for repeal by the commission. How agencies would 
comply with this requirement is unclear because repeal of 
existing regulations would depend on future Congressional 
action. It is also not clear how implementation of new rules 
would be delayed or postponed until existing regulations were 
approved for repeal. Consequently, CBO cannot estimate the 
budgetary effects of implementing title II.
    Title III would require agencies to create a plan to review 
all new regulations within 10 years of being issued. Because 
agencies are already required to review regulations after they 
are issued, CBO expects that implementing title III would have 
no significant costs.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: CBO estimates that enacting 
the bill could affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, 
pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO cannot estimate 
the direction or magnitude of those effects.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 998 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Matthew Pickford; 
Impact on State, Local, and Tribal governments: Paige Piper/
Bach; Impact on the Private-Sector: Zach Byrum.
    Estimate approved by: H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                             MINORITY VIEWS

    Committee Democrats strongly oppose H.R. 998. We reject the 
view that this bill would be a panacea for eliminating 
regulations that have unnecessary regulatory costs on our 
economy. 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.
    This new Commission would perform retrospective regulatory 
reviews that agencies are already required to conduct under 
current law.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to review 
each rule that has ``a significant economic impact upon a 
substantial number of small entities'' within ten years after 
it is published.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Pub. L. 96-354.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Executive Order 13563, issued by President Obama, requires 
each agency to ``periodically review its existing significant 
regulations to determine whether any such regulations should be 
modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed.''\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\76 Fed. Reg. 3821 (Jan. 21, 2011).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Executive Order 13610, also issued by President Obama, 
requires each agency to report twice a year to the Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs on the status of their 
review efforts.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\77 Fed. Reg. 28,469 (May 14, 2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In November 2014, a report prepared for the Administrative 
Conference of the United States highlighted the impact of these 
mandated reviews, concluding that ``agencies identified tens of 
billions of dollars of cost savings and tens of millions of 
hours of reduced paperwork and reporting requirements through 
modifications of existing regulations.''\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Joseph Aldy, Report prepared for the Administrative Conference 
of the United States, Learning from Experience: An Assessment of the 
Retrospective Reviews of Agency Rules and the Evidence for Improving 
the Design and Implementation of Regulatory Policy (Nov. 17, 2014) 
(online at www.acus.gov/sites/default/files/documents/
Aldy%2520Retro%2520Review%2520Draft%252011-17-2014.pdf).
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    This bill would create a new unelected Commission to review 
existing regulations for repeal--including regulations that 
protect against conflicts of interest in the federal government 
and protect whistleblowers from retribution--based almost 
exclusively on cost and without consideration of the benefits.
    Under the bill, agencies would have to repeal an existing 
health or safety regulation in order to promulgate a health or 
safety regulation in response to new threats, based solely on 
cost. The bill is silent on how the agencies should to 
calculate the costs of every rule. The bill establishes a 
regulatory ``cut-go'' process that would force agencies to 
prioritize between existing protections and responding to new 
threats to health and safety. Referred to as the ``most extreme 
of all antiregulatory reforms'' by the Center for Progressive 
Reform, regulatory cut-go would prohibit an agency from issuing 
any new rule--even in the case of an emergency or imminent harm 
to public health--until the agency first offsets the costs of 
that new rule by repealing an existing rule specified by the 
Commission.\5\ This requirement would endanger public health 
and safety and unnecessarily delay federal rulemaking by years, 
wasting taxpayer dollars and agency resources.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\Letter from Center for Progressive Reform to Chairman Tom Marino 
and Ranking Member Hank Johnson, House Committee on the Judiciary, 
Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law (July 
15, 2015) (online at http://progressivereform.org/articles/
071515_OIRA_Oversight_Hearings_Letter_Judiciary_Committee.pdf).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The bill would take regulatory review out of the hands of 
agency subject-matter experts and place it in an unelected 
Commission. The Commission could devise any methodology for its 
review of rules, and no rules would be exempt. The bill would 
require the Commission to prioritize major rules in its review 
as well as those that have been in effect for more than 15 
years.
    The Commission would have virtually unlimited authority to 
subpoena witnesses or documents. Most agency Inspectors General 
do not have such broad authority to compel witness testimony. 
This broad subpoena power, combined with the Commission's 
uncircumscribed jurisdiction over all regulations, would mean 
that it could compel any American to testify on any subject. A 
schoolteacher could be compelled to testify about education 
rules, or a senior citizen could be compelled to testify about 
Medicare or Social Security rules.
    The Commission's report to Congress, containing all of the 
rules that it would recommend for repeal, would be subject to 
an up or down vote. This requirement, which would not allow 
Congress to vote on each regulation subject to repeal 
individually, would usurp the authority of Congress.
    Ranking Member Elijah Cummings offered an amendment that 
would have exempted rules that protect whistleblowers or impose 
penalties on individuals who retaliate against whistleblowers. 
Agencies issue rules that protect individuals who blow the 
whistle on waste, fraud, abuse, as well as health and safety 
issues. This amendment was rejected.
    Rep. Brenda Lawrence offered an amendment that would have 
exempted rules relating to the protection of the public, 
including children, against lead poisoning. As the tragedy in 
Flint, Michigan demonstrates, federal rulemaking to address 
imminent harms to public health are often necessary. This 
amendment was also rejected.
    Rep. Jamie Raskin offered an amendment that would have 
exempted any regulations relating to potential conflicts of 
interest of executive branch employees. This amendment would 
have ensured that agency ethics rules would stay in place. This 
amendment was also rejected.
    Rep. Raskin offered another amendment that would have 
exempted rules that relate to the Clean Air Act. Cleaner air 
provides exceptional economic benefits because it results in 
the improved health and productivity of Americans and reduces 
medical expenses for air pollution-related health. This 
amendment was also rejected.
    Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi offered an amendment that would 
have required the Commission to begin its review by looking at 
the oldest operative regulations and then proceed 
chronologically to the newest rules. He argued that the 
Commission should focus on regulations that are outdated, 
duplicative, or otherwise easily removable. This amendment was 
also rejected.
    The SCRUB Act is opposed by a broad coalition of groups, 
including:
           Citizens for Sensible Safeguards, a 
        coalition of more than 150 consumer, labor, and good 
        government groups;
           the Center for Progressive Reform, a 
        nonprofit research and educational organization with a 
        network of Member Scholars working to protect health, 
        safety, and the environment through analysis and 
        commentary; and
           the American Sustainable Business Council, a 
        group representing more than 200,000 businesses and 
        325,000 business professionals, including industry 
        associations, local and state chambers of commerce, 
        micro-enterprise, social enterprise, green and 
        sustainable business, local living economy groups, 
        woman and minority business leaders, and investor 
        networks.
    The SCRUB Act is a dangerous solution in search of a 
problem. Congress already has authority under the Congressional 
Review Act to disapprove any rule that an agency proposes. 
These dangerous procedures would waste valuable resources, 
taxpayer dollars and place the health and safety of Americans 
at risk.
    For these reason, Committee Democrats strongly oppose the 
SCRUB Act.

                                        Elijah E. Cummings,
                                                    Ranking Member.

                                  [all]