Denying Small Businesses Federal Mandate Protection

I am deeply disappointed with the Democrat majority’s rejection of my amendment to the budget bill that would protect small businesses and working families from runaway costs created by federal mandates.  The amendment would have required a 60-vote threshold for the Senate to approve measures that impose new unfunded mandates, which are burdensome and costly dictates requiring businesses to take on additional regulatory duties and foot the bill themselves.

A prime example of the so-called ‘unfunded mandate’ can be found in a recently-introduced bill that would dictate the number of paid sick days private employers must provide their employees. Generally, unfunded mandates can be any laws requiring private business to carry out additional duties, such as record-keeping or report-filing, without providing the money to pay for those added duties.

Make no mistake: a no vote today was a vote against small businesses and working families.  When America’s small business owners, their families, and their employees go to work each day, they deserve to know that the Members of this body will give pause to consider the consequences of the policies we pass when they are put into effect on Main Street.  Today, Senate Democrats have denied them that peace of mind.

We here in Washington don’t have a monopoly on good ideas, and the Senate needs a procedural tool to remind us that the policies we pass under this great dome often translate into higher costs for our nation’s Main Street.  This amendment was about providing relief from escalating expenses so that small businesses can survive and working families can make ends meet.

My amendment required that 60 Senators must vote in favor of new, unfunded private sector mandates if their projected cost to small businesses would exceed $131 million, which is the threshold set by the ‘Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.’

Every time Washington pushes an unfunded mandate onto the backs of our small businesses, we drive up their operating costs and impede their ability to grow, create jobs, and compete in this increasingly global economy.  Unfunded mandates have a particularly destructive impact on our nation’s small businesses, which spend 45 percent more per employee than large businesses in compliance costs to meet unfunded mandates.

By requiring that any legislation that places large mandates on small business receive 60 votes in the Senate, we could have ensured that a bill with enough support to win passage will reflect a reasonable, balanced package.
Under the “Unfunded Mandates Reform Act,