Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

House Committee Passes Federalism Bill; Measure Would Analyze Mandates

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

House Committee Passes Federalism Bill; Measure Would Analyze Mandates

Article excerpt

The House Government Reform Committee marked up H.R. 4744, the "Truth in Regulating Act of 2000," despite a minority attempt to water it down. Its passage could protect cities from costly federal mandates.

The legislation, introduced by Rep. Sue Kelly (R-N.Y.) and supported on the committee by Rep. David McIntosh (R-Ind.), requires the General Accounting Office (GAO) to evaluate the impact of economically significant rules issued by federal agencies.

This "independent evaluation" will help Congress understand the cost-effectiveness and net benefits of agencies' proposed rules.

In order to ensure the integrity of the study, the GAO must consider public data along with agency data. It also authorizes the appropriation of $5.2 million for the GAO to carry out the Act.

The Democrats on the committee, led by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), attacked the legislation as more extreme than a similar bill passed unanimously by the Senate.

Much of the disagreement revolved around the requirement that the GAO complete and report its analysis within the 60-day comment period following the announcement of a proposed rule.

The already cash-strapped GAO feels that this amounts to an excessive increase in its workload.

The agency also feels that the bill would require lengthy cost-benefit analyses rather than simple evaluations. In a letter to the committee, the GAO said that they would not oppose the Senate's bill, which would give them 180 days to finish their valuations and omits language suggesting cost-benefit analyses. …

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