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H.R. 50: Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2017

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jan 3, 2017.


Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2017

This bill amends the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 to: (1) require the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), at the request of the chairman or ranking member of a congressional committee, to conduct an assessment comparing the authorized level of funding in legislation to the prospective costs of carrying out any changes to a condition of federal assistance being imposed on state, local, or tribal governments participating in the federal assistance program; (2) modify the definition of "direct costs" to require CBO to consider, in accounting for the costs of federal mandates, forgone business profits, costs passed onto consumers and other entities, and behavioral changes; (3) eliminate the exemption of independent regulatory agencies (except the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Open Market Committee, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) from reporting requirements under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA); and (4) make the raising of points of order in the consideration of congressional legislation applicable to legislation that would increase the direct cost of private sector mandates beyond limits established by UMRA.

The bill amends UMRA to: (1) transfer certain responsibilities under it from the Office of Management and Budget to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA); (2) set forth detailed criteria to guide agencies in assessing the effects of federal regulatory actions on state, local, and tribal governments and the private sector; (3) revise requirements for agency statements accompanying significant regulatory actions to require an analysis of the effects of a proposed final rule on state, local, or tribal governments, the private sector, and private property owners; and (4) extend to the the private sector the requirement for consultation with agencies in the development of regulatory proposals containing significant federal mandates.

UMRA reporting requirements are revised to require: (1) the OIRA to provide guidance and oversight so that agency regulations are consistent with the principles and policies of UMRA and do not conflict with the policies or actions of another agency; and (2) agencies to include in their annual compliance statements an appendix detailing consultation activities with state, local, and tribal governments and the private sector.

The bill requires an agency, at the request of the chairman or ranking member of a standing or select House or Senate Committee, to conduct a retrospective analysis of an existing regulation promulgated by such agency.

Judicial review under UMRA is expanded to include review of provisions of such Act relating to agency assessment of the effects of the regulatory process and agency selection of the least costly or least burdensome alternative to a regulatory mandate. Courts are granted expanded powers to compel agencies to comply with UMRA reporting requirements.