Cleaning up its act

By |  January 26, 2016

It’s a piece of legislation that is sure to get vetoed if it passes the Senate, and would likely turn into a partisan mess if it ever actually became law, but the basic idea behind the SCRUB Act is a good one.

Officially known as the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome Act, it passed the U.S. House of Representatives this month by a vote of 245-174. If it were to somehow become law, the SCRUB Act would establish a bipartisan commission to review existing federal regulations and identify rules that should be repealed.

Specifically, the bill establishes the Retrospective Regulatory Review Commission to review rules “that impose paperwork burdens or unfunded mandates that could be reduced substantially without significantly diminishing regulatory effectiveness, that impose disproportionately high costs on small entities, or that could be strengthened in their effectiveness while reducing regulatory costs.”

In other words, the idea is to simplify and/or get rid of regulations that are outdated and ineffective, such as some of those imposed on aggregate producers.

According to The Hill, lawmakers say the commission’s goal would be to reduce cumulative costs from regulations by 15 percent and prioritize rules that have been in effect for more than 15 years. Critics argue that creating a new commission could cost taxpayers as much as $30 million – the amount of funding authorized by the legislation – and replicate what agencies and Congress are already doing.

The White House says the president would veto the bill, because it would limit the authority federal agencies have to issue rules.

In his 1970 book, “Up the Organization,” Robert Townsend, former CEO of Avis, wrote, “Every company should have a Vice President of Killing Things.” He wasn’t referring to hunting. He was suggesting that companies discontinue outdated projects and initiatives that are no longer effective or serve a purpose. As new ideas are generated, old projects and procedures that should be nixed tend to go on, because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

If administered properly, the SCRUB Act could be like the government’s Vice President of Killing Things. But the SCRUB Act is unlikely to ever become law.

And, if it did, the partisan atmosphere in Washington would likely turn it into a political football.

This article is tagged with , and posted in Editors' Blog

About the Author:

Darren Constantino is an editor of Pit & Quarry magazine. He can be reached at

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