WASHINGTON – The House passed legislation Friday on a mostly party-line vote to roll back unfunded mandates on local governments and businesses by rewriting a 1995 law.
The House of Representatives approved the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2013 by a 234-to176-margin.
Voting yes in Colorado’s delegation were Republicans Scott Tipton of Cortez, Cory Gardner of Yuma, Mike Coffman of Aurora, and Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs. Voting no were Democrats Diana DeGette of Denver, Jared Polis of Boulder, and Ed Perlmutter of Golden.
Tipton, a co-founder of a pottery store in Cortez and a co-chairman of the Small Business Caucus, said the legislation is needed to make the federal government more accountable for the hidden costs it imposes with new laws.
“We’ve got to be looking at the cost-benefits of laws and who’s paying for this. People are feeling that their pocketbooks have really gotten stretched thin,” Tipton said in an interview before the vote.
During debate on the bill in the House, Tipton clapped after Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said “(t)he idea that Washington knows best has to stop.”
The heart of the bill would allow a congressional committee or ranking members to require the Congressional Budget Office to examine the effect a new federal law would have on the economy each year.
The provision would supplement the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, which required federal agencies to examine the financial impact new federal laws that cost $100 million or more annually would have on spending by state and local governments.
Democrats said the legislation would add federal red tape to legislation and prevent agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from administering public-health measures effectively.
In a statement, the Obama administration said the legislation “would introduce needless uncertainty in to agency decision-making and undermine the ability of agencies to provide critical public health and safety protections.”
Colorado’s three House Democrats did not issue statements on their congressional websites or Facebook pages about the bill.
Democrats offered three amendments to the legislation, but each amendment failed on largely party-line votes.
The administration has indicated it would veto the bill that was authored by Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina. For that reason, govtrack.us, an independent website, said the bill has a 30 percent chance of becoming law.