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Foxx, Sanchez Introduce Legislation to Make Federal Mandate Costs Transparent to Employers, Local Governments

Release from Foxx’s office:

Jan. 6, 2015. Reps. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., and Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., today introduced legislation to shed light on how federal policies impact the budgets of state and local governments and private sector employers.

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx
U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx

The Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act, H.R. 50, would fix loopholes within the bipartisan regulatory reform act known as UMRA. Foxx has introduced this legislation in the past four Congresses, and it has successfully passed the House with bipartisan support on three separate occasions.

“Every year Washington imposes thousands of rules on local governments and small businesses. Hidden in those rules are costly mandates that stretch state and city budgets and make it harder for North Carolina businesses to hire,” said Foxx. “While Congress cannot create prosperity, we can work to ensure entrepreneurs and employers aren’t crushed under costly regulations. This legislation will help restore transparency and hold Washington bureaucrats accountable for the true cost — in dollars and in jobs — that federal dictates pose to the economy. Americans are better served when regulators are required to measure and consider the costs of rules they create.”

“This bill increases transparency in the regulatory process and protects state and local governments from the burden of unfunded and often unnecessary mandates that waste time and money,” said Sanchez.

H.R. 50 would increase transparency about the costs imposed by unfunded mandates and would hold the federal government accountable for considering those costs before passing them onto local governments and small businesses. The legislation would expand the scope of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), which was passed to ensure public awareness of the financial burden federal mandates place on employers and state and local governments. Current loopholes within UMRA allow certain regulatory bodies to escape public reporting requirements and incentivize others to forego publicizing regulatory proposals. The Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act would correct this.

Specifically, H.R. 50 would:

  • Impose stricter and more clearly defined requirements for how and when federal agencies must disclose the cost of federal mandates;
  • Ensure those who will be affected have the opportunity to weigh in on proposed mandates;
  • Equip Congress and the public with tools to better determine the true cost of regulations; and
  • Provide an accountability mechanism to ensure the federal government and its independent regulatory agencies adhere to the provisions set forth by H.R. 50 and its predecessor, UMRA.

The legislation also would require the federal government to report how legislative changes to existing federal grant programs might shift costs to state, local and tribal governments. For instance, grant programs which are administered by states can be altered by federal legislation. Under H.R. 50 the federal government would be statutorily required to report how such changes would impact state or local government budgets.

For additional information on the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act, please view the fact sheet.