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CBO Testimony: Statement of Dan L. Crippen, Director CBO's Activities Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act Before the Subcommittee on Technology and the House Committee on Rules and the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs Committee on Government Reform, US House of Respresentatives

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This statement discusses the activities of the Congressional Budget Office CBO under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act UMRA. CBOs report on UMRAs first five years is being released at this hearing, and this statement this morning will summarize that reports major conclusions. The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act was designed to focus more attention on the costs of mandates that the federal government imposes on other levels of government and the private sector. UMRAs supporters had many goals for the legislation, including ensuring that the Congress had information about the costs of mandates before it decided whether to impose them, and encouraging the federal government to provide funding to cover the costs of intergovernmental mandates. To accomplish those goals, title I of UMRA established requirements for reporting on federal mandates and set up new legislative procedures. Under the law, the House and Senate are prohibited from considering legislation that contains mandates unless certain conditions are met. For example, consideration of a reported bill is not in order unless the committee reporting the bill has published a CBO statement about the costs of any private-sector or intergovernmental mandates in the bill. In addition, Members of Congress may raise a point of order against legislation that would create an intergovernmental mandate over the cost threshold specified in UMRA, unless the legislation provides funding to cover those costs. Such procedural requirements do not stop the Congress from passing bills it wants to pass, but they can raise the stakes in deliberating unfunded mandates.

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  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Sociology and Law

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