Impact of Selected Cross-Cutting National Policy Requirements on State and Local Governments

GGD-79-64: Published: Jun 21, 1979. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 1979.

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The federal government has enacted statutes on such issues as equal employment opportunity, citizen participation, and equal delivery of program benefits to further certain national policy objectives. Currently proposed legislation addresses the problem of administering federal regulations. The bill is intended to produce greater uniformity of program requirements that must be met by grant recipients. Requirements such as, citizen participation, equal employment opportunity, planning, and environmental quality, would be standardized as far as possible so that a recipient would not be asked to comply with different regulations of each administering agency.

To achieve these objectives, the proposed legislation provides that the President designate a single federal agency to establish standard regulations for implementing requirements applicable to federal assistant programs. Notable differences existed in the implementation of federal regulations for three of the five national policy areas reviewed, citizen participation, equal employment opportunity, and delivery of services. Citizen participation requirements often specified in federal grant program legislation, are intended to assure that those people affected by federally assisted activities are kept informed of, and are given the opportunity to comment on, the programs. Differences in implementing the same policy requirement can also result from grantee interpretation. To ensure equal delivery of services as required by federal law, administering agencies use different methods to promote compliance. Standardization will not necessarily result in simplification. Standardization could conceivably add to already extensive agency requirements. The standardization regulations could also result in less specific or stringent requirements. Federal agencies presently administering highly prescriptive requirements would have to give up some control over grantees' activities that have been considered necessary to ensure compliance for particular programs. The concept of decreased federal control to simplify the grant system was supported by many state and local officials.

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