House Approves Mandates Bill

In one of the first votes of 106th Congress, the House Wednesday granted the business community a significant victory, passing the Mandates Information Act by a 274-149 margin. The legislaton would require the Congressional Budget Office to assess the impact of any bill, before it goes to the House or Senate floor for a vote, that contains a mandate that would cost the private sector $100 million or more. The measure also would allow House and Senate members to force a separate debate and a floor vote on any such mandates. Two amendments to the measure sought by environmentalists, sponsored by Reps. Sherwood Boehlert (R, N.Y.) and Henry Waxman (D, Calif.) were defeated. The bill also passed the House last year (by a slightly greater margin of 279-132) but died in the Senate. A prime advocate of the legislation, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) hailed its passage. "That it passed with bipartisan support," said President Jack Faris, "shows that despite predictions that partisanship will block any progress in this Congress, progress can be made." U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President Lonnie Taylor said the legislation "is a good government bill that will help business, workers, and consumers...Just as consumers ask the price before they buy, members of Congress should know the costs before they vote on a bill."

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