Virginia Foxx in the News
Our view: Foxx bill on unfunded mandates should pass
By Editorial Board, Winston-Salem Journal
Federal regulations — whether good, bad or indifferent — can blindside local governments and companies, leaving them struggling to find money to comply. Republican U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx of our 5th District has joined with Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas on a bill that, if it becomes law, will alleviate this problem of unfunded mandates.
City Manager Lee Garrity of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County Manager Dudley Watts both indicated that they would welcome the transparency the bill would bring. “The legislation seems to promise a greater awareness of how federal legislation impacts the communities,” Watts told the Journal’s Bertrand M. Gutierrez. “The bureaucracy to implement a program in communities — that usually involves a state intermediary — creates a chasm between the federal government and cities and counties where unintended consequences flourish. Efforts to identify these and work through them on the front end is a good move,” Watts said.
Foxx said in a press release: “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. 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.”
The bill (H.R. 50, the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act) has been referred to a committee. It would tighten a 1995 law. Those affected would be able to comment on proposed mandates, federal agencies would provide members of Congress and the public with better tools to figure out the real cost of regulations, and the bill would require an “accountability mechanism” that ensures federal agencies abide by the bill as well as the 1995 law, known as the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, the Journal reported.
“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,” Rep. Cuellar said in the press release. “This bill would require the federal government to measure and consider the total cost of the regulations they impose.”
City Manager Garrity told the Journal that the city “supports transparency in federal mandates that clearly show the implementation costs for local governments. While in many cases the city also supports the policy and objectives of the mandate, we are always concerned about fairness and the cost impacts for citizens and businesses.”
Seven organizations representing state and local governments are backing the bill: the National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, Council of State governments, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors and the International City/County Management Association.
Foxx has long pushed this legislation. It passed the House last year but did not make it through the Senate. We urge the full Congress to approve this important measure.