The Experience of the Congressional Budget Office During the First Year of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE (U S CONGRESS) WASHINGTON DC
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The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 UMRA established new procedures designed to ensure that the Congress fully considers the potential effects of unfunded federal mandates before imposing them on state, local, and tribal governments or the private sector. Among other reforms, those procedures call for the Congressional Budget Office CBO to provide statements to authorizing committees about whether reported bills contain mandates, and, if so, what their costs would be. After operating under those procedures for one year, CBO concludes that title I of the act has made available more information about mandates and their costs. CBO has reviewed and provided analyses of mandates for more than 700 bills and legislative proposals see Summary Table. Moreover, in at least some cases, that information was used to reduce the costs of proposed intergovernmental mandates. A preliminary review of laws enacted shows that in 1996, the Congress enacted few mandates with costs that exceeded the thresholds established in UMRA. Whether UMRA can be credited with that outcome is an open question.
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