As ordered reported by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on January 27, 2015
H.R. 50 would amend the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) to increase the information available to the Congress and the public with respect to federal mandates contained in proposed legislation and federal regulations. Enacting this legislation would codify in UMRA many practices currently required of most federal agencies when analyzing the potential effect of regulations. The bill also would broaden the coverage of UMRA to require independent regulatory agencies to comply with its standards relating to the rulemaking process and to allow judicial review of regulatory actions that fail to comply with UMRA. (Independent regulatory agencies are exempt from complying with UMRA under current law.)
The legislation also would amend the Congressional Budget Act to establish a point of order, which a Member of Congress may raise, against legislation that creates a private-sector mandate with costs above the threshold established in UMRA. In addition, the legislation would require CBO, upon request, to conduct assessments of costs to state, local, and tribal governments resulting from legislation that would change conditions that must be met to receive federal assistance.
CBO estimates that the new requirements placed on independent regulatory agencies would require additional resources to carry out. Expenses of some of independent agencies affected by H.R. 50 are classified as direct spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 50 would increase net direct spending by $18 million over the 2015-2025 period, primarily for costs incurred by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB). Assuming the appropriation of necessary amounts, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would have a net discretionary cost of $8 million over the 2015-2020 period.
CBO expects that several independent agencies would increase fees to offset some of the costs of implementing the additional regulatory activities required by the bill; thus, H.R. 50 would increase the costs of existing mandates on public and private-sector entities to pay those fees. Based on information from the affected agencies, CBO estimates that the additional costs of those mandates would be small and would fall well below the annual thresholds for intergovernmental and private-sector mandates established in UMRA ($77 million and $154 million in 2015 respectively, adjusted annually for inflation).