Federal regulations — whether good, bad or indifferent — can blindside local governments and companies, leaving them struggling to find money to comply. Republican U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx of the 5th District has joined with Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas on a bill that, if it becomes law, will alleviate this problem of unfunded mandates.

Foxx said in a press release: “Every year, Washington imposes thousands of rules on local governments and small businesses. Hidden in those rules are costly mandates that stretch state and city budgets and make it harder for businesses to hire. This legislation will help restore transparency and hold Washington bureaucrats accountable for the true cost — in dollars and in jobs — that federal dictates pose to the economy.”

The bill (H.R. 50, the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act) has been referred to a committee. It would tighten a 1995 law. Those affected would be able to comment on proposed mandates, federal agencies would provide members of Congress and the public with better tools to figure out the real cost of regulations, and the bill would require an “accountability mechanism” that ensures federal agencies abide by the bill as well as the 1995 law, known as the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, the Journal reported.

“We want to help our local governments and businesses by relieving unnecessary and costly red tape so that budgets, projects and jobs aren’t halted,” Rep. Cuellar said in the press release. “This bill would require the federal government to measure and consider the total cost of the regulations they impose.”

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