The U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight and Government Reform Committee has advanced three bills to address federal rulemaking as part of Republican lawmakers’ continued effort to cut down on the number of regulations and their impact on the economy. The federal regulatory landscape, particularly the imposition of unfunded mandates on local governments, has long been a concern for America’s counties, many of which are still facing tight budgetary limitations as we continue to recover from the Great Recession.
President Donald Trump stated on the campaign trail and in the opening weeks of his presidency that he wanted to cut the number of federal regulations by as much as 75 percent. The bills advanced by the committee – the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome (SCRUB) Act (H.R. 998); the Regulatory Integrity Act (H.R. 1004); and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Insight, Reform and Accountability Act (H.R. 1009) – are designed to help reach this goal by assessing and removing outdated or unnecessarily burdensome regulations, imposing additional transparency requirements on federal agencies, streamlining rule processing and assisting small businesses with compliance.
The SCRUB Act (H.R. 998) was introduced in the House on February 9 by Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.). Similar to legislation also introduced by Rep. Smith during the 114th congress, the SCRUB Act would create a commission to review federal regulations and identify rules that should be cut from the Federal Register. The goal of the commission would be to reduce the number of rules in the Federal Register by 15 percent by removing rules that are outdated or burdensome. The current bill has gained three Republican cosponsors.
The Regulatory Integrity Act (H.R. 1004) was introduced in the House by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) on February 3. This bill would require each federal agency to list pending regulations on the agency website, as well as similar standing regulations and any alternatives being considered. The bill would also require agencies to publically post all public communications about the rule and would prohibit agencies from using these communications to generate public support or opposition. Rep. Walberg introduced similar legislation during the 114th Congress.
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Insight, Reform and Accountability Act (H.R. 1009) was introduced by Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.) on February 13. This bill aims to create a group within the OIRA to streamline processing and provide help to small businesses attempting to comply with federal regulations. This group would also focus on reducing repetitive regulations. The current bill has gained three Republican cosponsors.
NACo opposes federal regulations that require action by counties and local governments but do not provide adequate funding for the implementation of such regulations. County governments currently work under limited budgets to provide services to our citizens, and cannot afford to fund federal regulations without compensation. NACo will continue to work closely with Congress and the administration to strengthen the local-state-federal regulatory partnership, and to ensure that federal regulatory actions take into account the needs and interests of America’s counties and do not impose unfunded mandates on local taxpayers.
Contact: Julie Ufner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.942.4269