Campaign Updates

Byrne rolls out bill to ‘sunset’ govt. agencies, forcing them to justify their existence

Posted on April 22nd, 2015


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Wednesday on Yellowhammer Radio, Representative Bradley Byrne (R-AL1) announced he is rolling out a plan to require Congress to renew each government agency every ten years, rather than allowing agencies to operate in perpetuity without having to justify their existence.

Inspired by his time as a state legislator, Byrne’s bill would create a “sunset” system for agencies such as the IRS and the Food and Drug Administration, as well as less visible agencies like the Agricultural Marketing Service and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.

“It forces them to look at it hard,” Byrne said. “I think we need that in Washington.”

“Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program,” host Cliff Sims said, quoting the late free-market economist Milton Friedman.

The Sunset Inefficient and Unaccountable Government Act, or the Sunset Act, would require the over 275 government departments, agencies and boards to be reviewed and renewed once every ten years. Departments and agencies essential to national security would be exempt.

Byrne said he has just begun gathering support for his bill, but expects it will be popular among conservatives.

“I think that’s a healthy thing for the government to do, and I anticipate we’ll get some pretty good support on it,” he said.

“They always sunset things like tax cuts,” Sims observed. “But the opposite never happens. If they raise taxes, or if they create a new program or agency or whatever, there’s never a sunset clause on that to justify its existence. I think this is brilliant.”

While Byrne admits that President Obama would be unlikely to sign the bill, he said that when, not if, a Republican president is inaugurated in 2017, “we’ll be ready to move right then.”

You can hear the entire interview in the audio clip above.