Regulatory Changes Focus of House Legislative Actions

Three pieces of legislation that originated and passed in the U.S. House of Representatives the week of February 27, 2017, through March 3, 2017, focused on regulatory reform. The bills have gone to the Senate for consideration, with all three being referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

H.R. 998 SCRUB Act – Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome Act

The House of Representatives passed the SCRUB Act on March 1, 2017, with a vote of 240 “Ayes” and 185 “Noes.” H.R. 998 was introduced to the House on Feb. 9, 2017, by Rep. Jason Smith (R-Missouri) for the establishment of a Retrospective Regulatory Review Commission that will be tasked with the responsibility to review the Code of Federal Regulations to “identify rules and sets of rules that collectively implement a regulatory program that should be repealed to lower the cost of regulation.”

The legislation currently stipulates that the Commission would give priority to major rules or sets of rules that have been in effect in excess of 15 years and met a set of criteria set out within the SCRUB Act. The stated goal of H.R. 998 is to “achieve a reduction of at least 15% in the cumulative costs of regulation with a minimal reduction in the overall effectiveness of such regulation.”

Such regulatory reform would ideally reduce the burden and costs to both the federal government and the public and private entities subject to the “burdensome” regulations and elimination of ineffective or redundant regulations, streamlining the Code of Federal Regulations.

H.R. 998 was received in the Senate on March 2 and was read twice before being sent to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

H.R. 1004 Regulatory Integrity Act of 2017

This measure, introduced by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Michigan) on February 13, 2017, is designed to amend chapter 3 of title 5, of the United States Code, specifically adding after Section 306 the new provisions of H.R. 1004 that directs every federal agency to make information available to the public about regulatory actions and to do so in a searchable format on a “prominent” website.

After passing a vote in the full House of Representatives with 246 “Ayes” and 176 “Noes,” H.R. 1004 was received in the Senate on March 2, 2017, and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs after receiving two readings in that Congressional body.

H.R. 1009 OIRA Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act

H.R. 1009 was introduced by Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Michigan) on Feb. 13, 2017 as an amendment to title 44 of the United States Code to create a group within the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for the purpose of streamlining processing within the OIRA and for the entities interacting with that office. In addition, the newly-formed group would be tasked with helping small businesses who are trying to comply with federal regulations.

Like the SCRUB Act and H.R. 1004, H.R. 1009 was passed in the House of Representatives on March 1, 2017, and received in the Senate on March 2, where after two readings it was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The OIRA Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act passed the House with 241 “Ayes” and 184 “Noes.”

Featured Image of U.S. Capitol Building per jensjunge at Public Domain License

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