House Passes SCRUB Act Aimed at Reducing Economically Burdensome Regulations

The House voted to pass H.R. 998, the “Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome (SCRUB) Act.” The goal of the Act is to reduce the cumulative cost of regulation by at least 15%. It contains several key components:

First, the Act calls for the establishment of a commission that would review and propose regulations for repeal based on considerations pertaining to the utility and economic impacts of the regulation. For example, the Act directs the commission to consider “whether or not the rule or set of rules harms competition within the United States economy or the international economic competitiveness of enterprises or entities based in the United States” when identifying regulations for repeal. The Act directs the commission to prioritize the repeal of rules that are fifteen years and older, but does not contain any prohibition on selecting more recent rules for repeal.

Second, the Act directs agencies to ensure that the costs of new rules are offset by the repeal of old rules (this is referred to as the “cut-go procedure”). Agencies would be exempted from cut-go requirements when the commission has implemented the repeal of all rules and sets of rules that the commission has recommended for repeal.

Third, the Act directs agencies, when issuing new regulations, to include a plan for reviewing those regulations within ten years of their issuance.

The bill is still awaiting Senate approval. If passed, it could have implications for both new and future climate change regulations: specifically, existing regulations could be selected for repeal based on their economic impacts, and new regulations would be subject to the “cut-go procedure.”