These early days of the 114th U. S. Congress are seeing legislative bills for deregulations and defundings. Two examples are two bills recently passed in the House.
The first bill (HR 50) strengthens the “Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.” A federal mandate imposes responsibility, action, procedure, etc. by constitutional, administrative, executive or judicial action for state/local governments and/or for the private sector. An unfunded mandate imposes those requirements without providing money to fulfill them. Unfunded mandates are typically used in the areas of civil rights, environmental protection and programs to fight poverty.
In 1995, House Speaker Newt Gingrich led the push for the “Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995,” which imposed cost-benefit standards on federal regulators, including the mandate that they consider the expense that new rules would impose on state/local governments. The 2015 bill bolsters that Act by allowing federal court challenges to federal regulators’ calculations. In order to fund the bill, the House cut $32 million from the budget for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created by Wall Street reform to battle predatory lending practices, crooked credit card companies and mortgage abuses.
The second House bill (HR 114-012, Part 1) requires federal regulators to analyze the “indirect effect” of a new rule on small businesses, including “effects on revenue.”
Citizens’ advocates reacted swiftly to both bills. Marcus Stanley, the policy director of “Americans for Financial Reform,” stated that the bills are “designed to make it impossible for agencies to function” due to the oppressive requirements and an anticipated flood of litigation at every stage of financial calculations. Amit Narang, an advocate at “Public Citizen,” stated, “These votes make clear that the House GOP is only interested in helping small businesses and working families through trickle-down deregulation. It’s no accident these bills are riddled with big business loopholes.”
Though the bills received support from some Democrats and are expected to pass in the Senate, they are not expected to survive presidential veto, as the Senate apparently has too few votes to override. However, the Republicans are expected to include one or both of the bills in legislation to fund the government and/or raise the debt ceiling, which will be tougher for the President and Democrats to combat.
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