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Lankford, Portman, Fischer Introduce Bill to Reduce Regulatory Burden to Give Job Creators Freedom to Invest & Hire New Workers

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Deb Fischer (R-NE) introduced the Unfunded Mandates Accountability and Transparency Act (UMATA). The bill will reduce excessive unfunded government mandates on job creators, giving them greater freedom to invest in their companies and hire new workers. When the federal government imposes unnecessary and burdensome regulations, it undermines employers’ ability to hire more workers and makes it harder for American workers to find jobs. This legislation will free employers from stifling government mandates and help them create more jobs and compete globally. Representatives Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX) are leading companion legislation in the House of Representatives. 

“Rep. Foxx and I started working to address unfunded mandates and regulatory reform when I served in the House, and the bicameral solution we offer today would bring real relief and protect jobs for our nation’s small businesses and communities,” said Lankford, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management. “Oklahoma businesses and state and local governments are forced to deal with burdensome mandates and regulations—often without any federal compensation—from someone inside the Washington, DC, Beltway, 1,300 miles away. We should have sensible federal regulations in place, but we can and should finally fix the disconnect between Washington bureaucrats and the Oklahomans who are forced to implement countless complicated regulations daily with little federal transparency and accountability. I am grateful for my colleagues’ ongoing attention to address these regulatory issues on behalf of our folks back home.” 

“I have been proud to work to reduce the burden of unfunded mandates from the federal government on our society since 1995 when I sponsored the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act in the House. As we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, reducing the regulatory burden on our employers is more important than ever, which is why I’m pleased to introduce the Unfunded Mandates Accountability and Transparency Act to do just that,” said Portman. “This bill engages the public in finding creative, effective solutions that impose fewer burdens on the state, local, and Tribal governments, as well as the private sector. More effective, efficient regulations will allow employers to invest more in their companies, bolster our economic recovery, and help get Americans back to work. I urge my colleagues to join Senators Fischer, Lankford, and me in supporting this bill.” 

“As we address the many challenges of COVID-19, getting Americans back to work as soon as possible is a priority. I am proud to join Senators Portman and Lankford in introducing this bicameral legislation to support economic growth and support new jobs. By increasing public input and compelling the federal government to choose the least burdensome regulatory options, this bill will help eliminate the red tape that is restricting opportunities for workers in Nebraska and all across America,” said Fischer.

The Unfunded Mandates Accountability and Transparency Act will:

  • Strengthen regulatory impact analyses under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) by requiring agencies to assess regulations’ effect on jobs and consider market-based, flexible, and non-governmental alternatives to agency rules. Portman sponsored UMRA as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives when it became law in 1995.
  • Require agencies to allow public input earlier in the rulemaking process to develop those alternatives.
  • Require agencies to choose the alternative that maximizes net benefits unless the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator approves another option that accounts for unquantifiable costs or benefits.
  • Extend the analytical requirements of UMRA to independent agencies.
  • Apply the UMRA requirements to rules that impose mandates on private-sector employers.
  • Allow for meaningful judicial review of all agencies’ compliance with UMRA requirements.
  • Improve Congress’s consideration of bills that increase costs on the private sector by creating a budget point of order on bills that do not address those costs.