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Latest Taxpayer's Tab: Foreign Aid Transparency

by Michael Tasselmyer / /

The U.S. spends nearly $50 billion on foreign assistance, including economic and military aid. In the latest edition of The Taxpayer's Tab, NTUF features a bill introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) known as the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act that would require more open disclosures of where that money is being spent.

H.R. 2638/S. 1271 orders the development and implementation of measurable goals and performance standards for foreign aid programs. Data and reports on publicly-funded assistance initiatives would be made available on ForeignAssistance.gov in order to ensure an additional level of accountability. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the bill would cost $1.68 billion over five years, but sponsors informed NTUF that they intend to use existing resources to fund the legislation's provisions.

Also in the Tab:

  • Least Expensive: Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced H.R. 1772, the Legal Workforce Act. The bill would discontinue the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's paper-based I-9 forms and establish a mandatory version of the E-Verify system in order to authenticate workers' legal residency statuses. CBO estimates that doing so would require upfront costs, but save a net $3.3 billion over five years due to fewer refundable tax credit claims.
  • Most Friended: H.R. 3135, the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, would make all domestic partners of federal employees eligible for the same health and insurance benefits extended to married workers' spouses. Congressman Mark Pocan's (D-WI) bill would cost $55 million over five years and currently has 77 cosponsors in the House.
  • Wildcard: Congressman Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) introduced H.R. 3519, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Accountability and Transparency Act, in order to remove the BCFP from the Federal Reserve System and in turn make its budget subject to normal appropriations processes. While CBO scored the legislation as a $2.9 billion savings, NTUF is recording the bill as a "No Cost" measure because spending would not change during the 2-year authorization period, and future outlays would depend on Congressional action.

The full Tab is available online.