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House Marks Up More Regulatory Reform Bills This Week

Posted @ Friday, February 17, 2017    By Stephanie Missert
Posted in [ Blog, Legislative, Regulatory ] | 0 Comments

On February 14, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee marked up a number of regulatory reform bills, including the "Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome (“SCRUB”) Act of 2017," the "Regulatory Integrity Act of 2017," and the "OIRA (“Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs”) Insight, Reform and Accountability Act." The "SCRUB Act," which passed the House last year, would establish a nine-member body and authorize an appropriation of up to $30 million to independently assess which regulations are outdated or unnecessarily burdensome. The "Regulatory Integrity Act," which also passed the House last year, would require agencies to disclose actions about their pending rules along with their public communications about those rules. It would also prohibit agencies from using those communications to lobby the public for support of their rules.

Meanwhile, more regulatory reform bills continue to be introduced in the House.  Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) introduced H.R. 998, which would establish a process for the review of regulations and sets of rules; and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) introduced H.R. 978, which would establish an independent advisory committee to review rules.

The flurry of activity in the House this week is a continuation of conservative congressional focus on reforming the regulatory system. During the first week of the 115th Congress, the House passed two bills to change the approval and repeal processes for major rules promulgated by executive-branch agencies. The first bill, H.R. 26, the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017” (“REINS Act”), would require Congress to approve any major rule that has an annual economic cost of $100 million or more before an agency would be able to enforce or implement the rule. The second bill, H.R. 21, the “Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017,” would authorize Congress to pass a single joint resolution blocking multiple major rules completed during the final 60 legislative days of a president’s term. These legislative proposals are the beginning of a broader effort by Republicans to not only rollback Obama-era rules but also reform the regulatory process to limit what they see as an overreach of agency power. With a Republican White House and Congress, there is renewed hope that several regulatory reform bills that have failed in past sessions of Congress will move in the 115th Congress.

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