There are a lot of old, musty, unused, and obsolete laws on the books. Congress should repeal them as part of its basic hygiene, but members have little incentive to do so. A standing repeal committee could help. David Deerson and I look at how such a committee might work in a piece over at RealClearPolicy:
The job would be a big one. All in all, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) rambles on for 169,000 pages, many of which could be dispensed with and replaced with nothing. For example, one of the 50 titles in the CFR is dedicated entirely to the Panama Canal, which hasn’t been under United States jurisdiction since 1999. Elsewhere, an entire chapter consists of guidelines for dealing with the Y2K computer crisis that didn’t happen 12 years ago…
As old Washington hand Joseph Gibson points out in his book, A Better Congress, a repeal committee would almost certainly face strong opposition from members of other committees, who would see it as a threat to their own prerogatives. To soften this opposition, he suggests involving the committee with jurisdiction over the statute to be repealed through a secondary referral—subject to time limit to ensure that the committee cannot sit on a proposed repeal indefinitely.
Read the whole thing here.