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

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Washington, January 3, 2017 | comments
WASHINGTON – Reps. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., and Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, today introduced legislation to shed light on how federal policies impact the budgets of state and local governments and private sector employers. 

“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 businesses to hire,” said Foxx. “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 the rules they create.”

“This follows the work I did in the Texas State Legislature, where I also passed legislation to stop unfunded mandates from the state government to local governments. We want to help our local governments and businesses by relieving unnecessary and costly red tape so that budgets, projects and jobs aren’t halted,” said Cuellar. “This bill would require the federal government to measure and consider the total cost of the regulations they impose. Rep. Foxx and I will work in a bipartisan manner to stop unfunded mandates to local government.”

H.R. 50, the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act, would increase transparency about the costs imposed by unfunded mandates and would hold the federal government accountable for considering those costs before passing them on to local governments and small businesses. Foxx has introduced this legislation in the past five Congresses, and it has successfully passed the House with bipartisan support on four separate occasions.

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 encourage 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.

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