Crosscutting Requirements

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Crosscutting requirements are a specific type of mandate. They impose requirements or conditions on all grants and programs involving federal money. These requirements apply “horizontally” to all federal agencies and programs, as well as “vertically” to all state and local governments and agencies receiving or passing through federal funds. An example of a crosscutting requirement is the nondiscrimination provision in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires, “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program receiving Federal financial assistance.” Since the passage of that requirement, Congress has approved many more crosscutting requirements. Generally, crosscutting requirements are sorted into the general categories of nondiscrimination, health and safety, and environmental protection. Crosscutting requirements have also included such things as historical preservation and animal welfare and relocation assistance. Congress often approves crosscutting requirements without providing funding to cover the consequent costs of the requirements.


Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR), Regulatory Federalism: Policy, Process, Impact and Reform, A-95, February (Washington, DC: ACIR, 1984), 7–11; and David B. Walker, The Rebirth of Federalism, 2nd ed. (New York: Chatham House Publishers, 1999).

Troy E. Smith

Last updated: 2006

SEE ALSO: Civil Rights Act of 1964; Crossover Sanctions; Environmental Policy; Fiscal Federalism; Pass through Requirements; Unfunded Mandates