Vote Notes: H.R. 998, The SCRUB Act
What a difference a year makes!
Last January, the House passed a bill called the SCRUB (Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome) Act, which would require federal agencies to repeal existing regulations to offset the cost of new rules, and I voted for the bill. Although this bill did not make it to President Obama’s desk, I imagine he would have vetoed it. This January, President Trump signed an executive order that would require federal agencies to do what the SCRUB Act would have required, specifically by scrapping two old regulations for every new one. The SCRUB Act came up for a vote again this week and it passed 240-180.
When the SCRUB Act passed the House last year, I wrote a post on why I voted for the bill, and would like to share that post again:
Yesterday, the House passed H.R. 1155, the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome, (SCRUB) Act. This bill would create a temporary commission that would identify harmful, duplicative, and outdated regulations to be repealed. Government agencies would then have to eliminate any of their regulations the commission suggests to offset any new regulations they propose. This is like a family making choices to stay within their budget. If they want to spend $60 to go out to dinner, they can’t also spend that same money to go to the movies. That the government would live up to a similar standard strikes me as a reasonable policy.
While this bill would authorize $30 million to establish and cover administrative costs for the temporary commission - It seems likely that the amount of tax dollars that can be saved make this a wise investment. The estimated annual cost of federal regulations to the economy is now $1.86 trillion, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the SCRUB Act represented an attempt to address some that do more harm than good. To give a sense of context, $1.86 trillion is more than some of the government’s largest programs: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Obamacare, combined. Every American taxpayer will spend an average of 77 days per year working just to cover the cost of these regulations.
To be fair, some of these regulations are well-intentioned. Regulations that ensure our airplanes are safe and our rivers are not polluted are something that we all find important. But not all of these regulations are effective or necessary. One example I can think of is the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule on wood-fired stoves, which would outlaw many stoves sold on the market today. It strikes me as an overreach when the federal government starts telling people what kind of stove they can or can’t buy.
While more still needs to be done to solve the problem of federal overregulation, I think the SCRUB Act was a step in the right direction and voted yes.