1998 Scorecard Vote
In 1995, Congress passed the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, which requires the Congressional Budget Office to report to government and the private sector the costs of complying with directives contained in new legislative proposals. The law also allows Members of Congress to raise a procedural hurdle--a point of order--on bills costing state and local governments more than $50 million to comply.
This point of order currently does not apply when the costs are borne by the private sector. However, the Mandates Information Act, H.R. 3534, sponsored by Rep. Gary Condit (D-CA), would expand on the existing law by establishing a new point of order against legislation that imposes costs of more than $100 million on the private sector. The bill would create a legislative procedure allowing Members of Congress to kill important new health and safety protections before they can be voted on.
The Mandates Information Act focuses exclusively on costs, but environmentalists believe that certain costs are not easily quantified, such as the extermination of a species or the costs of reducing the risks of birth defects and premature deaths. Nor does the bill consider whether the affected companies benefited financially from creating the pollution in the first place. This new hurdle could impede important legislation such as proposals to expand the public's right to know about toxics in their communities or efforts to address pollution in lakes and rivers.
On May 19, 1998, the House passed H.R. 3534, 279 - 132. NO is the pro-environment vote.