This report examines debates regarding what constitutes an "unfunded federal mandate" and the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995's (UMRA) implementation, requirements, and costs. It also assesses UMRA's impact on federal mandates and arguments concerning UMRA's future.
This report examines debates over what constitutes an unfunded federal mandate and UMRA's implementation. It focuses on UMRA's requirement that CBO issue written cost estimate statements for federal mandates in legislation, its procedures for raising points of order in the House and Senate concerning unfunded federal mandates in legislation, and its requirement that federal agencies prepare written cost estimate statements for federal mandates in rules.
Under the federal system in the United States, the states and localities traditionally have held the major responsibility for prevention and control of crime and maintenance of order. For most of the Republic’s history, “police powers” in the broad sense were reserved to the states under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. Many still hold that view, but others see a string of court decisions in recent decades as providing the basis for a far more active federal role. Several bills are discussed in this report that address issues related to crime, juvenile justice, and Congress’ evolving role in crime legislation.