March 10, 2014
As ordered reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary on March 5, 2014
H.R. 4138 would authorize each chamber (through a resolution or joint resolution) to file a civil action in a federal district court to clarify a federal law (that is, seek a declaratory judgment). Under the bill, appeals to a court’s decisions could be reviewed directly by the Supreme Court. CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would have no significant impact on the federal budget because any amounts expended for court costs or litigation could also be spent under current law on similar activities. Enacting H.R. 4138 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
H.R. 4138 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.