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“YES” on H.R. 1871, the “Baseline Reform Act,” and H.R. 1872, the “Budget and Accounting Transparency Act.”
April 7, 2014
NTU urges all Representatives to vote “YES” on H.R. 1871, the “Baseline Reform Act,” and H.R. 1872, the “Budget and Accounting Transparency Act.” These bills would help annual federal budgets to more accurately reflect our fiscal condition and ensure better accounting standards going forward.
H.R. 1871 would revise the formula for establishing the baseline budget by removing inflationary assumptions and other increases for special exceptions, such as federal employees and some pension plans. The new, more realistic baseline would be the previous year’s spending levels. This revision would help limit the bias toward increased spending and budgetary gimmicks; for instance, in cases where bills raise outlays over the previous year, but remain under an artificially inflated amount and as a result are deceptively labeled “cuts.” H.R. 1871 also codifies the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO’s) practice of providing long-term budget outlook reports, giving legislators and taxpayers a peek outside the typical ten-year window at how our fiscal practices today will influence the economy for decades to come.
H.R. 1872 would revise budgetary treatment of federal direct loans and loan guarantees to account for them on a fair value basis that gives taxpayers a better understanding of the true costs they are exposed to via these programs. This legislation would also take the additional step of putting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on-budget in order to recognize the cost of the current conservatorship. Doing so is consistent both with CBO accounting as well as the public character of the agency’s debt. The bill would establish a commonsense path toward privatization for Fannie and Freddie with the termination of conservatorship, repayment of much of the original bailout funds, and finally repeal of the GSE charters and authorizing statutes, so that taxpayers would finally be extricated from the mass-mortgage business. Recognizing the full potential costs associated with at-risk taxpayer funds is an important step toward winding down this risky and economically harmful practice.
Roll call votes on H.R. 1871 and H.R. 1872 will be included in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress and a “YES” vote on each bill will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.
If you have any questions, please contact NTU Federal Affairs Manager Nan Swift at (703) 683-5700