H.R. 3231 would amend federal law to provide unpaid federal interns protection from workplace harassment and discrimination. (Paid interns are already treated as employees.) Although the federal government prohibits discrimination in the workplace through laws, regulations, and agency policies, unpaid interns are not explicitly covered.
Based on information from the Office of Personnel Management, the Office of Special Counsel, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, CBO estimates that any costs under the bill for agency training or payments to settle claims of discrimination or harassment would be negligible.
Enacting H.R. 3231 could affect direct spending by some agencies (such as the Tennessee Valley Authority) because they are authorized to use receipts from the sale of goods, fees, and other collections to cover their operating costs. Therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. Because most of those agencies can make adjustments to the amounts collected, CBO estimates that any net changes in direct spending by those agencies would be negligible. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.
CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3231 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion in any of the four consecutive 10- year periods beginning in 2026.
CBO has not reviewed H.R. 3231 for intergovernmental or private-sector mandates. Section 4 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act excludes from the application of that act any legislative provisions that would establish or enforce statutory rights prohibiting discrimination. CBO has determined that this legislation falls within that exclusion because it would extend protections against discrimination in the workplace based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicapped condition to unpaid interns or applicants for such positions.