June 18, 2014 - Conyers: “Judiciary Republicans Approve Bill to Spend Billions Reviewing All Federal Regulations”

Press Release

(WASHINGTON) – Today, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a full committee Markup of H.R. 4874, the “Search for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome (SCRUB) Act of 2014.” Section 101(K) of the bill funds a new Retrospective Regulatory Review Commission by taking $ 25 million or 1%, whichever is greater, of unobligated funding from federal agencies. Under any methodology this figure would reach into the billions. After voting against H.R. 4874, Ranking Members John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement:

This morning, my conservative colleagues on the Judiciary Committee continued their anti-regulatory push with the ‘SCRUB Act.’ While I strongly oppose the legislation, I do think that the bill is aptly-named; as the title implies, this legislation would do away with life-saving consumer and regulatory protections. This markup is simply another installment in the majority’s ideological agenda that prioritizes corporate profits over public health and safety.

The ‘SCRUB Act’ will siphon billions of dollars from agency coffers to finance a review of all existing regulations. Not only would this effort be costly, but it would divert needed agency funds into an unnecessary bureaucratic accounting project. Further, by simply focusing on the costs of federal safeguards, my Republican colleagues fail to account for the countless benefits of these protections. From food inspections, to guaranteeing that our air and water are clean, the government plays a major role in ensuring the public’s well-being.

The SCRUB Act also takes a zero sum approach to protecting American’s health and safety by requiring that any new regulation, no matter how essential or beneficial, be offset by the repeal of an existing regulation. This could force agencies to make a false choice between existing protections and responding to new  threats to our health, safety, or food security.

Rather than promote a regulatory race-to-the-bottom, Congress should work to reinforce existing protections and shore up agency’s insufficient funding after years of budget austerity. Dismantling our highly-effective regulatory regime to fund a review of these safeguards is simply nonsensical and counterproductive. We have long since left the lawless days of the Wild West; I encourage House Republicans to do the same.

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