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Lankford, Portman, Fischer Introduce Bill to Reduce Unfunded Mandates, Encourage Job Creation

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today joined Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) to introduce 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. 

“When the federal government forces Oklahoma businesses and state and local governments to comply with burdensome mandates but leaves them with the bill, we’re not governing effectively or fairly,” said Lankford. “Sensible federal regulations are fine, but what works on paper for DC bureaucrats is often unworkable and unaffordable for businesses and local governments in Oklahoma. This solution addresses unfunded mandates through regulatory reform and gives the public a valuable opportunity to voice their concerns earlier in the federal rulemaking process. Early public input helps ensure rules are drafted in a way that minimizes their impact.”

“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 continue to face the ongoing 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 state, local, and Tribal governments, as well as the private sector. More effective, efficient regulations will allow employers 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 in this bill.” 

“As we continue to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19, Nebraskans still find themselves out of work,” said Fischer. “That is why I am joining Senators Portman and Lankford to help cut the regulations harming our employers and get Americans back to work. By engaging with the public to choose the least burdensome regulatory options, this bill will create more jobs and boost our economic recovery.”

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;
  • 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; and
  • 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.