Dreier Praises House Passage of Hidden Mandates Bill

Dreier Praises House Passage of Hidden Mandates Bill

House Moves Forward With Bipartisan Reforms To Improve Info on Costly Laws

WASHINGTON - House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-CA) praised the House of Representatives for approving today, 274 to 149, bipartisan reform legislation that increases Congressional awareness of, and alternatives to, the hidden costs that new laws often pose to American consumers, workers and businesses.

By steering the Congress towards addressing costs earlier in the legislative process, the "Mandates Information Act of 1999," H.R. 350, builds on the success of the 1995 Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), which addresses mandates on local and state governments.

"The House has moved quickly on this long overdue, bipartisan reform. Hidden mandates are an unfair tax on American consumers. It’s just basic common sense for Congress to know the costs of legislation," Dreier said. "This is good for two main reasons; more knowledge improves the legislative process, and by forcing us to review private sector mandates, these reforms simultaneously prod Congress to listen and strive for cost alternatives."

"As today’s action shows, Republicans are reaching across the aisle and moving decisively on bills important to Americans," Dreier said. "I want to thank the bill’s sponsors, Congressmen Condit (D-CA) and Portman (R-OH), who’ve worked so hard to fight hidden mandates, and Congressman Linder (R-GA) for his leadership in the Committee and on the floor."

H.R. 350 changes the 1974 Congressional Budget Act to require Congressional committee reports to include a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate on bills which impose mandates on the private sector. Those mandating in excess of $100 million a year may be subject to a point of order on the House floor, with twenty minutes of debate and a separate vote whether to repeal with the mandate.

Dreier noted that the experience of past reforms has been beneficial for passing legislation. At a February 2nd Rules Committee hearing on H.R. 350, CBO testified that the 1995, UMRA, has helped make Congressional bill drafters more aware of legislative costs, and has played an informal role in guiding legislators to work with CBO in crafting more cost effective and innovative solutions.

Organizations endorsing H.R. 350 include the National Governor’s Association, the National Conference of Mayors, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the League of Cities, the U.S Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Association of Manufacturers.