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House Passes Foxx’s Bipartisan Regulatory Transparency Legislation

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Washington, February 4, 2015 | comments
WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives today passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., that would shed light on how federal policies impact the budgets of state and local governments and private sector employers.

The Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act, H.R. 50, passed the House by a vote of 250 to 173. Foxx has introduced this legislation in the past four Congresses, and it has previously passed the House with bipartisan support on three separate occasions.

“Americans are better served when regulators are required to measure and consider the costs of the rules they create. The Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act is simply about making government work better for the American people by requiring openness and honesty from Washington,” said Foxx. “Transparency and accountability are not partisan issues. It’s my hope that the bipartisan manner in which this legislation passed the House will pave the way for swift consideration and passage in the Senate.”

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 on to 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.


U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx is currently serving her sixth term as the representative of North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District and is the elected Republican Conference Secretary. Dr. Foxx is the chair of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and serves as Vice Chair of the House Rules Committee.
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