The federal government is currently in the second week of its shutdown, due to Congressional disagreements over which parts of the government to fund -- and more importantly, at what levels. However, a larger and potentially more disruptive issue is looming should Congress fail to act in the coming days. The U.S. Treasury says our debt will eclipse the statutory debt limit of nearly $16.7 trillion on October 17, and that could have negative ripple effects throughout the global economy.
In the latest Taxpayer's Tab, NTUF offers a bit of background on the debt limit and how recent spending patterns have played into the budgetary debates on Capitol Hill. Research and Outreach Manager Dan Barrett put together an infographic with some perspective on the composition of our debt and where it's been over the years. There's also discussion of a blog post on mandatory vs. discretionary spending trends and how the steady rise in mandatory spending as a percentage of federal outlays has shaped the debate over how heavily we should finance government activities with debt.
In addition, NTUF continues to score bills as part of our BillTally project & the latest tab features some of the research that's been happening on that front. In this week's edition, NTUF looked at:
- Most Expensive: Rep. George Miller's H.R. 2721, the Pathways Back to Work Act of 2013, proposes $12.5 billion over five years to fund job training and economic stimulus programs.
- Least Expensive: Sen. David Vitter's S. 902 would deny certain Executive branch employees (including Congressman, theirs staffs, the President & Vice President, and various appointees) the taxpayer-funded subsidy afforded them to purchase health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. The bill would save $489 million over five years, an average of $98 million per year.
- Wildcard: Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tom Carper (D-DE) introduced S. 1528, the Comprehensive National Mercury Monitoring Act, to monitor changing mercury levels in U.S. soil and water systems. It would require $95 million over three years, or $32 million per year.