H.R. 373, Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2011

Cost Estimate
March 28, 2012

As ordered reported by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on November 17, 2011

H.R. 373 would amend the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) to increase the information available to the Congress and the public with respect to federal mandates contained in proposed legislation and federal regulations. Enacting this legislation would codify in UMRA many practices currently required of most federal agencies when analyzing the impacts of regulations. The bill also would require independent regulatory agencies to perform broad analyses (including costs and benefits) of regulations by requiring those agencies to comply with standards established in UMRA relating to the rule making process.

The legislation would amend the Congressional Budget Act to establish a point of order, which a Member of Congress may raise, against legislation that creates a private-sector mandate with costs above the threshold established in UMRA. In addition, the legislation would require CBO to conduct assessments of costs to state, local, and tribal governments resulting from any changes to conditions of certain federal assistance programs.

CBO estimates that the new requirements placed on independent regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), would require additional resources to carry out. Net spending by the Federal Reserve is recorded in the federal budget as a change in revenues, and expenses of the FDIC are classified as direct spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO estimates that enacting the legislation would decrease revenues by $1 million in 2014 and $9 million over the 2013-2022 period. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 373 would result in no net effect on direct spending over the 2014-2022 period because costs incurred by the FDIC would be offset by premiums collected from insured depository institutions. Assuming the appropriation of necessary amounts, the legislation also would have a discretionary cost of $1 million in 2014 and $9 million over the 2014-2022 period, CBO estimates.

CBO expects that several independent agencies would increase fees to offset the costs of implementing the additional regulatory activities required by the bill; thus, H.R 373 would increase the costs of existing mandates on public and private-sector entities that would be required to pay those fees. Based on information from the affected agencies, CBO estimates that the additional costs of those mandates would be small and would fall well below the annual thresholds for intergovernmental and private-sector mandates established in UMRA.