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house Bill H.R. 50

Should More Info About the Cost of Federal Mandates in Bills & Regulations be Available to Congress & the Public?

Argument in favor

Congress and federal agencies need to be transparent to the public about the costs imposed by federal mandates contained in the legislation or regulation they implement.This bipartisan bill would ensure those costs are publicly available for all regulations.

Carole's Opinion
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07/08/2018
Everything in the government should be open to the public. The government is supposed to represent the public.
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Santiago's Opinion
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07/13/2018
Taxpayers should know exactly what their money is going towards. Congress and federal agencies need to be transparent to the public about the costs imposed by federal mandates contained in the legislation or regulation they implement.This bipartisan bill would ensure those costs are publicly available for all regulations.
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Beverly's Opinion
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07/09/2018
Since we our taxes pay for these agencies it's beyond me to understand why we aren't allowed to know their costs. How can anyone be held accountable when there are so many secrets?
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Argument opposed

This bill is nothing more than an attempt to slow down and sabotage the rulemaking process federal agencies use to make regulations that’d lead to watered down environmental and consumer protections.

burrkitty's Opinion
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07/13/2018
Another attempt by the GOP to let their corporate owners avoid oversight, regulations, and protections by crashing the process of making them. Forced consultations with the private sector is what kills a otherwise decent bill. That clause ruins it. That way lies corpratocracy.
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collins1129's Opinion
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07/13/2018
This bill would be excellent if not for the loophole allowing private contracts to analyze these economic impacts. This leaves room to choose analysts for the purpose of manipulation, and analysts selected may feel that they need to deliver desired results in order to be selected again in the future. Vote no.
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Susan's Opinion
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07/13/2018
I agree with Congressman Cummings that the true purpose of this bill is not transparency, but in order to gut health, safety, and environmental rules that actually save taxpayers money, and that protects our health and safety. For instance, how does one quantify our safety? For instance, for every dollar spent protecting our nation’s environment, the public saves $35 ! Yet I am certain that this bill will allow businesses and other individual groups to misrepresent the overall savings of gutting health, safety and environmental rules and regulations and present things from a purely short term, financial and local point of view or think only about an individual business loss without considering its real overall economic costs, and the costs to health and safety and the environment that are often difficult to quantify. It also depends heaviily on who does this analysis and from what perspective. Research and statistics are often easily misused for financial, personal or ideological gain. I do not trust that there are sufficient safeguards in this bill to ensure that any costs would be determined in a fair and transparent manner and could not be all too easily misused for purely personal individual financial purposes with no other considerations. I am therefore opposed to this particular bill. I would perhapss be more open to a differently written bill if there are better safeguards put in against the abuse or misrepresentation of an actual cost benefit analysis in a more bipartisan or both sided perspective. Perhaps two different analysis's from opposite perspectives rather than just one opinion and from two different political points of view could each be done to ensure that all pertinent costs and benefits were revealed would be a better approach along these same lines. I like transparency as long as it is done fairly and appropriately.
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What is House Bill H.R. 50?

This bill would aim to increase the information available to Congress & the public about federal mandates in proposed bills and regulations. It’d require agencies to measure a proposed rule’s annual effect on the economy, not just “expenditures”, and to conduct an Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) analysis unless a law expressly prohibits them doing so. UMRA analyses would be required for all final rules, even those that weren’t subject to a public comment period.

The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) current policy of accounting for specific costs of federal mandates — such as foregone business profits, costs passed onto consumers and other entities or behavioral changes — would be codified into law. Congressional committee chairmen and ranking members would be granted authority to request that the CBO perform analyses comparing the authorized levels of funding in bills or resolutions with the potential loss of federal aid dollars when mandate compliance is a condition for that aid.

Federal agencies would be required to consult with private sector entities, like small businesses, that’ll be directly impacted by proposed regulations in the same way they do with state, local, and tribal governments. Agencies would be required to include an appendix in their annual reports to Congress detailing their regulatory consultation with state, local, and tribal governments and the private sector.

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) would be responsible for determining whether agencies have satisfied UMRA’s cost disclosure requirements. It’d allow the judicial branch to place a stay on regulations or invalidate rules if the originating federal agency fails to complete statutorily required UMRA analyses.

Impact

The public; the private sector; state, local, and tribal governments; Congress; and federal agencies, particularly the CBO.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 50

$6.00 Million
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost $6 million over the 2019-2023 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) introduced this bill to make more information about the costs of federal mandates in regulations or legislation available to the public and Congress:

“Every year Washington imposes thousands of rules on local governments and small businesses. Hidden in those rules are costly mandates that stretch 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. Americans are better served when regulators are required to measure and consider the costs of the rules they create.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) added:

“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. This bill would require the federal government to measure and consider the total cost of the regulations they impose.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) expressed opposition to this bill in its committee report, writing:

“H.R. 50, the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2017, is significantly flawed. The bill would be an assault on the nation’s health, safety, and environmental protections, erect new barriers to unnecessarily slow down the regulatory process, and give regulated industries an unfair advantage to water down consumer protections.”

This legislation passed the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee on a 20-10 vote and has the support of five bipartisan cosponsors, including three Democrats and two Republicans.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: lionvision / iStock)

AKA

Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2017

Official Title

To provide for additional safeguards with respect to imposing Federal mandates, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed July 13th, 2018
    Roll Call Vote 230 Yea / 168 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on the Budget
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
      Committee on Rules
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2017

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    Everything in the government should be open to the public. The government is supposed to represent the public.
    Like (81)
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    Another attempt by the GOP to let their corporate owners avoid oversight, regulations, and protections by crashing the process of making them. Forced consultations with the private sector is what kills a otherwise decent bill. That clause ruins it. That way lies corpratocracy.
    Like (32)
    Follow
    Share
    Taxpayers should know exactly what their money is going towards. Congress and federal agencies need to be transparent to the public about the costs imposed by federal mandates contained in the legislation or regulation they implement.This bipartisan bill would ensure those costs are publicly available for all regulations.
    Like (39)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill would be excellent if not for the loophole allowing private contracts to analyze these economic impacts. This leaves room to choose analysts for the purpose of manipulation, and analysts selected may feel that they need to deliver desired results in order to be selected again in the future. Vote no.
    Like (29)
    Follow
    Share
    I agree with Congressman Cummings that the true purpose of this bill is not transparency, but in order to gut health, safety, and environmental rules that actually save taxpayers money, and that protects our health and safety. For instance, how does one quantify our safety? For instance, for every dollar spent protecting our nation’s environment, the public saves $35 ! Yet I am certain that this bill will allow businesses and other individual groups to misrepresent the overall savings of gutting health, safety and environmental rules and regulations and present things from a purely short term, financial and local point of view or think only about an individual business loss without considering its real overall economic costs, and the costs to health and safety and the environment that are often difficult to quantify. It also depends heaviily on who does this analysis and from what perspective. Research and statistics are often easily misused for financial, personal or ideological gain. I do not trust that there are sufficient safeguards in this bill to ensure that any costs would be determined in a fair and transparent manner and could not be all too easily misused for purely personal individual financial purposes with no other considerations. I am therefore opposed to this particular bill. I would perhapss be more open to a differently written bill if there are better safeguards put in against the abuse or misrepresentation of an actual cost benefit analysis in a more bipartisan or both sided perspective. Perhaps two different analysis's from opposite perspectives rather than just one opinion and from two different political points of view could each be done to ensure that all pertinent costs and benefits were revealed would be a better approach along these same lines. I like transparency as long as it is done fairly and appropriately.
    Like (22)
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    More republican BS, who’s going to pick the “private” businesses to be consulted? Just further attempts to stop regulations the protect the environment
    Like (10)
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    This bill will cost $6,000,000 and the WORST IS: Federal agencies would be required to consult with private sector entities, like small businesses, that’ll be directly impacted by proposed regulations in the same way they do with state, local, and tribal governments. Why would the government have to consult businesses to do their jobs. This is another way for the ultra rich to be able to get more out of the government. Besides $6,000,000 is a ridiculous amount to spend to just implement this.
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    This is just another attempt to hamstring the government when attempting to regulate out of control corporations
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    This looks like more admin BS. There’s nothing productive about our agencies giving Congress their assessment of how their budget will impact the U.S. economy. Besides, they’ll slant their analysis in the agency’s favor.
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    This bill is only going to put more roadblocks in the way of federal agencies from actually doing their jobs. Plus, the GOP is just going to use this legislation as a justification to make further cuts in funding for domestic programs and repeal regulations that protect all Americans.
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    This bill is nothing more than an attempt to slow down and sabotage the rulemaking process federal agencies use to make regulations that would lead to watered down environmental and consumer protections.
    Like (4)
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    This is just one more attempt on the part of the Repugnacants to do away with regulations and protections.
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    This already exists. It is called the CBO. This Senate and house bring bills to a vote before CBO analysis because the facts are not on their side. This bill is a poison pill to address a politically made problem. Nialist at best.
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    Unnecessary bureaucracy and a waste of taxpayers’ money. Sometimes there are things more important than money, like the health and safety of American citizens or the sustainability of our planet.
    Like (3)
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    This bill is not about knowing the price before you buy. This is a way to stop consumer and environmental protections by claiming a dollar figure pulled out of the air! You can not place a dollar sign on clean air and water. You cannot claim that consumer protections will cost millions* without further stating that the *clarifies that it will cost the 1% millions in extra stolen profits!
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    Definitely should since the taxpayers are paying for it! #MAGA
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    Since we our taxes pay for these agencies it's beyond me to understand why we aren't allowed to know their costs. How can anyone be held accountable when there are so many secrets?
    Like (3)
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    I’m in favor of increased transparency and do think costs and impacts need to be standardized for reporting and include downstream effects past 10 years, so the effects appear to be due to the actions of those in power 1-2 administrations down the road. However I cannot support this as written with the current (and frequent) highly partisan atmosphere in Congress. If a clause was added allowing the requirements to be bypassed if a supermajority was achieved, in order to reduce delays, it might help, except that we seem unable to achieve supermajority even on non controversial statements like “water is wet” or “spending more than you make is unwise”.
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    Since it is our tax dollars that pay for these mandates we should have access to this information. I believe in government transparency. There should not be anything done in secret. Things done in secret breed distrust, especially now that we saw bills created in secrecy and pushed through quickly with no notice to all our Democratic representatives and Senators. This is a Democracy and supposedly our Representatives represent their constituents and not their Party
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    I would be okay with this if it were more comprehensive. You have to weigh the costs along with the potential lives a new regulation might save and how many natural resources it might save. This bill does not provide us with a way to look objectively at a new regulation.
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