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Policy Paper


Colorado U.S. Senate Candidate Spending Analysis – Michael Bennet

October 28, 2010

Total Net Spending Agenda: $7.345 billion

Economy, Transportation, and Infrastructure: $20 million

A. Rural Communities:

“That is why I support taking action to ensure their [rural communities’] continued economic viability, including … [[l]inking rural economies to the rest of the world through the expansion of high-speed internet and cell phone service.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-07-colorado-agriculture-and-rural-communities

Cost:  $20 million ($100 million over five years).

Source:  Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 2880 (111th Congress), the Rural Broadband Initiative Act of 2010, a bill to establish an Office of Rural Broadband Initiatives in the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes. The text authorizes the funding. Senator Bennet is not a cosponsor.

Note: From the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Commerce: “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 authorized the National Telecommunications and Information Administration … to implement the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program … – a $4.7 billion one-time competitive matching grants program to expand broadband services to unserved and underserved areas, improve broadband access for public safety agencies, stimulate the economy and create jobs.”

http://www.oig.doc.gov/recovery/reports/ARR-19583.pdf

B. Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan Clearinghouse:

“I support the creation of an SBA loan clearinghouse that would create a process enabling a small business’ loan application to be considered by a broader array of lenders.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2010-09-building-a-21st-century-economy

            Cost: Unknown.

Note: Further explanation is provided on the incumbent’s Senate website: “Bennet is pushing to create an SBA loan clearinghouse aimed at increasing small businesses’ access to credit. It would create a process enabling a small business’ loan application to be considered by a broader array of lenders.  If a business owner applies for an SBA guaranteed loan and is turned town [sic], the bank could have the application turned over to the SBA where it would be reviewed to assess whether the small business meets the SBA’s creditworthiness and eligibility standards. It would then be distributed for other SBA lenders throughout the state and eventually across the country.”

http://bennet.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/?id=76bd4aaa-2e95-4bf2-ace2-fa91296ec997

Education, Science, and Research: $21 million

A. Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act:

“I am a cosponsor of the federal DREAM Act because I believe we should offer these students the opportunity to attend college or serve in the military. … It makes sense to provide undocumented students who have demonstrated high achievement and graduated from high school the ability to attend college or serve in the military with the opportunity to legalize their immigration status.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-11-immigration

            Cost:  Unknown.

Note: The DREAM Act would adjust the status of certain undocumented alien children to conditional legal permanent resident status if they meet specific criteria.  In the 108th Congress, The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that S. 1545, the DREAM Act, would have a minimal cost over the first five years, but would eventually cost upwards of $15 million a year for increased Medicaid and Food Stamp expenses for which the children would become eligible.  Given the recent legislative changes to the federal student loan program and the changes made to Medicaid in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it is uncertain what the current cost of this legislation might be.

http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=4981&type=0

B. Education Loan Ombudsman:

“Standing up for Colorado’s [k]ids[.] Our children are our future. They deserve to be healthy, well-educated, and ready. Michael … [is] committed to making sure Colorado’s children have the support they need to succeed[.] … Helping [s]tudent [b]orrowers. Michael is a co-sponsor of the Private Education Loan Ombudsman Act, which would establish an ombudsman to help private student loan borrowers deal with complaints or challenges.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/about_Michael/results

            Cost: $1 million ($5 million over five years).

Source: CBO determined that a bill in the 110th Congress to establish an ombudsman office within the Department of Veterans Affairs would cost between $500,000 and $600,000 annually. NTUF rounds to the nearest million.

http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=9576&zzz=37749

C. Education Reform:

“It is critical that we educate and train the most qualified and innovative workers in the world. Our public education system must give Americans the skills they need for the new jobs that will be created. This means more than simply investing in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. We must do that, but it is not enough. I believe we must comprehensively reform our public education system to create a workforce that can compete and win in the 21st Century.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-07-a-new-energy-future

            Cost: Unknown.

Source: Senator Bennet is a sponsor of S. 3469 (111th Congress), the Lead Act, a bill to build capacity and provide support at the leadership level for successful school turnaround efforts. The text authorizes such sums as may be necessary for Fiscal Year 2011 and each of the four succeeding fiscal years. A cost estimate is unavailable.

D. Rural Education:

“That is why I support taking action to ensure [rural cities’ and towns’] continued economic viability, including … [a] transformation of our public education system that solves the problem of teacher retention, and helps to stop the chronic shortages of teachers in rural areas.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-07-colorado-agriculture-and-rural-communities

            Cost: $20 million ($100 million over five years).

Source: Senator Bennet is a cosponsor of S. 2896 (111th Congress), the School Principal Recruitment and Training Act of 2009. The text authorizes such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2011 and each of the succeeding nine fiscal years. According to the main sponsor’s office, the initiative would cost $200 million.

Note: Related legislation was introduced in the form of H.R. 362 (110th Congress), a bill to authorize science scholarships for educating mathematics and science teachers, and for other purposes. The text authorizes $794 million over five years. It is unknown whether Bennet would support a similar program.

Note: Teach for America, a nonprofit organization that recruits outstanding recent college graduates who commit to teach for two years in underserved communities, received $18 million in federal funds in FY 2010.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/?&sid=cp111DOpqK&r_n=sr243.111&dbname=cp111&&sel=TOC_708051&

Energy, Agriculture, and the Environment: $4.392 billion

A. Agriculture Disaster Assistance:

“I will work hard to make sure that rural communities can count on stable disaster assistance. … I support maintaining a robust farm safety net and supplementary assistance to farmers in the event of disaster.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-07-colorado-agriculture-and-rural-communities

            Cost: Unknown.

Note: According to a September, 2010 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, “Agricultural Disaster Assistance,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture expects to spend up to $630 million on disaster assistance in 2010.

 “The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers several permanently authorized programs to help farmers recover financially from a natural disaster, including federal crop insurance, the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), and emergency disaster loans. …

The 2008 farm bill also authorized three new livestock assistance programs and a tree assistance program. The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) compensates ranchers at a rate of 75% of market value for livestock mortality caused by a disaster. The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) assists ranchers who graze livestock on drought-affected pastureland or grazing land. The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) compensates producers for disaster losses not covered under other disaster programs. Finally, the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) provides payments to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers to cover 70% of the cost of replanting trees or nursery stock following a natural disaster.”

http://opencrs.com/document/RS21212/2010-09-16/download/1013/

B. Energy – Alternative Fuel Vehicles:

“I support a comprehensive energy policy that makes a bold commitment to developing renewable energy, prioritizes conservation and efficiency, encourages the use of natural gas, and takes a balanced approach to responsible development of our traditional energy resources. …[W]e will not be able to fulfill our responsibility to the next generation if we continue to muddle through and waiver [sic] in our commitment to government incentives for renewable energy growth. We must assure our private sector that the United States is in this for the long-haul, and that we are willing to provide stable and attractive incentives towards renewable energy research and development.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was a good first step. … The bill included billions of dollars to modernize the electrical grid and for renewable energy projects. …

The ARRA is a good start, but we need to do more to achieve energy security and long-term growth in the energy sector. We need to be bold and set goals that will transform our energy policy, including … [i]ncentives for producing and purchasing alternative fuel vehicles. ”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-07-a-new-energy-future

Cost: $3.66 billion (first-year cost of $2.6 billion, plus $5.3 billion over five years).

Source: Related provisions are included in H.R. 2454.  The bill would increase Department of Energy loans to manufacturers of advanced technology vehicles. CBO estimates this would cost $5.3 billion from FY 2011 to FY 2015. The bill would also provide vouchers to consumers to purchase or lease fuel-efficient vehicles. CBO estimates this would have a one-time cost of $2.6 billion.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/102xx/doc10262/hr2454.pdf

C. Energy – Electric Grid for Renewable Energy:

“We need to be bold and set goals that will transform our energy policy, including …

[c]onstruction of an updated electrical grid, including transmission lines that carry renewable energy … .”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-07-a-new-energy-future

            Cost: $125 million ($625 million over five years).

Source:  Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 539 (111th Congress), the Clean Renewable Energy and Economic Development Act. According to the bill’s main sponsor, the legislation would “promote investments in transmission to increase access to renewable power, while also establishing a streamlined planning and siting process for transmission lines. Simply put, the bill makes it easier to deliver clean energy from the often-rural areas where it is harnessed to major population centers throughout the country.” The text authorizes the funding. Senator Bennet is not a sponsor of this legislation.

http://reid.senate.gov/newsroom/pr_030509_transmissionbill.cfm

D. Energy – Lowering Carbon Emissions:

“We must develop programs to lower carbon emissions that: (1) are market based, (2) fair to all stakeholders, (3) based in science, (4) strongly encourage state and local innovation and take advantage of regional strengths, and (5) provide incentives for other countries to participate in similar reform.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-11-protecting-colorados-natural-heritage

            Cost: Unknown.

Note: In September, Senator Bennet told an audience, “I didn’t support the cap-and-trade bill that passed the House.” The House passsed H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy Security Act of 2009 (111th Congress). CBO estimates the cap-and-trade and energy funding in the bill would cost $257.7 billion over five years.

http://blogs.denverpost.com/thespot/2010/10/22/republicans-slam-bennet-on-misleading-cap-and-trade-statements/17283/

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/102xx/doc10262/hr2454.pdf

E. Energy – Renewable Electricity Standard:

“We need to be bold and set goals that will transform our energy policy, including … [a] national requirement to draw 25% of our electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025 … .”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-07-a-new-energy-future

            Cost: $20 million ($100 million over five years).

Source: Senator Bennet is a cosponsor of S. 433, a bill to establish a renewable energy standard. A related provision was included in CBO’s cost estimate for H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy Security Act of 2009 (111th Congress). The plan would establish a renewable electricity standard and would require that certain retail electricity suppliers provide a minimum percentage of their electricity sales from electricity generated by facilities that use qualifying renewable fuels or energy sources. Those that do not must make “compliance payments” to the states who would then be required, according to CBO, “to use any amounts received from alternative compliance payments under the proposed [renewable electricity standard] to support the deployment of technologies to generate renewable energy and to implement energy-efficiency programs.” CBO estimates the spending would cost $100 million from 2011 to 2014. Because this spending is enforced by the federal government’s sovereign authority, the amount would be included in the federal budget.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/102xx/doc10262/hr2454.pdf

F. Energy – Transportation Efficiency Act:

“America and Colorado need a comprehensive energy policy that establishes aggressive targets for clean energy and energy efficiency … [.]”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/about_Michael/results

            Cost: Unknown.

Note: Senator Bennet is a cosponsor of S. 575 (111th Congress), the Clean, Low-Emission, Affordable, New Transportation Efficiency Act. The bill requires that 10 percent of the revenues of any cap-and-trade auction system that is passed into law are directed to support low-carbon transportation alternatives. CBO estimates that the cap-and-trade program included in H.R. 2454 would generate revenues totaling $359.5 billion from FY 2011 to FY 2015; however, Bennet has not indicated support for H.R. 2454 as passed.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/102xx/doc10262/hr2454.pdf

G. Energy Efficiency:

“The ARRA included funding to improve energy efficiency in our government buildings and homes. However, there is still more to be done. American manufacturers and builders should be constantly striving to create the most energy efficient buildings, automobiles, and appliances in the world. The Federal Government can help through providing grants that spur improvements to inefficient buildings, increasing minimum requirements for fuel efficiency, and providing incentives for new ways to stretch our energy dollar. The Federal Government must also serve as an example through the construction of energy efficient federal buildings and investments into a fleet of energy efficient government vehicles.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-07-a-new-energy-future

            Cost: $567 million (first-year cost of $340 million, plus $1.134 billion over five years).

Source: Senator Bennet is a sponsor of S. 1379, the Energy Efficiency in Housing Act of 2009 (111th Congress), a bill to encourage energy efficiency and conservation and development of renewable energy sources for housing, commercial structures, and other buildings, and to create sustainable communities. The provisions of S. 1379 were included in a larger House bill, H.R. 2336. CBO estimates it would cost $334 million over five years.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/116xx/doc11606/hr2336.pdf

Bennet is also a sponsor of S. 2897, the Energy Efficiency Modernization Act of 2009 (111th Congress), a bill to establish incentives to increase the energy efficiency of federally assisted housing. A cost estimate is unavailable.

The Senator is also a cosponsor of S. 3102, the Rural Energy Savings Program Act (111th Congress), a bill to make loans to certain entities that will use the funds to make loans to consumers to implement energy efficiency measures involving structural improvements and investments in cost-effective, commercial off-the-shelf technologies to reduce home energy use. CBO estimates that its House companion, H.R. 4785, would cost $800 million over five years.

http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=11860&zzz=41239

Senator Bennet is also a sponsor of S. 3585 (111th Congress), the Department of Defense Energy Security Act of 2010, a bill to reform Department of Defense energy policy. The text of the bill would authorize $340 million in the first year, plus “such sums as are necessary,” to improve energy efficiency throughout the Department of Defense.

H. International Agreement on Reducing Carbon Emissions:

“The United States must reestablish global leadership and demonstrate its commitment to reducing its carbon emissions to the international community by joining global discussions and negotiating a new international agreement on carbon emissions.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-11-protecting-colorados-natural-heritage

            Cost: Unknown.

I. Invasive Species:

“Michael is fighting for projects to remove salt cedar and other invasive species from Colorado’s rivers, protecting our critical local water resources and reducing the risk of wildfires.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/about_Michael/results

            Cost: Unknown.

Note: Senator Bennet is a cosponsor of S. 3063 (111th Congress), the Invasive Species Emergency Response Fund Act, a bill to direct the Secretary of the Interior to provide loans to certain organizations in certain states to address habitats and ecosystems and to address and prevent invasive species. The text authorizes $80 million in loans a year over five years. However, the outlay cost would be determined by the “subsidy rate,” i.e., the amount the government would have to cover after all loans had been repaid. The subsidy rate for this particular program is unknown,

J. Land Management:

“We should continue that tradition with regard to designating wilderness and establishing clear guidelines for protection of the state’s roadless areas.  Where there are areas that need additional protection, we should continue that work through the creation of better partnerships between federal agencies, the state government, and local interests to ensure the continued use and economic viability of some of Colorado’s most beautiful places.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-11-protecting-colorados-natural-heritage

            Cost: Unknown.

K. Land Management – Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement (FLAME) Act:

“Along those lines, we must allocate enough resources to our land and park agencies so that they have the budgets needed to implement and enforce rules and to protect resources.  I know that the Forest Service budget has been particularly hard hit in recent years because of the greater and greater allocation of funding to wildfires.  I am currently a cosponsor of legislation in the Senate that will ensure Colorado gets its fair allocation of forest management funding.  The FLAME Act would set up a separate fund for fire fighting activities so that forest fire emergencies do not continue to eat up forest management funding.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-11-protecting-colorados-natural-heritage

            Cost: $20 million ($100 million over five years).

Source: Senator Bennet is a cosponsor of S. 561 (111th Congress), the FLAME Act, a bill to authorize a supplemental funding source for catastrophic emergency wildland fire suppression activities on Department of the Interior and National Forest System lands, to require the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a cohesive wildland fire management strategy, and for other purposes. The CBO estimated that the version of the bill from the 110th Congress, H.R. 5541, would cost $100 million over five years.

            http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=9205&zzz=37237

Federal Government: $1 million

A. Budget – Pay As You Go (PAY-GO) Budgeting:

“I … support requiring Congress to find a way to pay for any new spending or tax cuts it passes.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2010-09-building-a-21st-century-economy

“Both the House and Senate are now required to find a way to pay for most new spending programs or tax cuts.  I believe that these rules could be stronger so that Congress, just like every Colorado family, is required to figure out how to pay for what it spends.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-07-fiscal-responsibility

            Cost: Unknown.

Note: On February 12, 2010, the President signed H.J. Res. 45 into law. Title I of the legislation was the Statutory Pay-as-You-Go Act of 2010, which requires Congress to find offsets for any legislation that would lead to increases in direct spending or decreases in revenue. However, Congress often moves to waive PAY-GO rules when considering various pieces of legislation. It is unclear how Bennet’s proposal might alter current law.

B. Budget Transparency:

“I support integrating transparency and accountability into the earmark process – so that we know where earmark requests are coming from. I have also repeatedly voted to eliminate unecessary [sic] programs.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2010-09-building-a-21st-century-economy

“Transparency must be improved by every Member of Congress and throughout the system as a whole.  I have taken steps to improve transparency in my Senate office by making sure all my appropriations requests are publicly available on my website.  Similar steps should be taken throughout the federal government so that taxpayers know how their money is being spent, and so that it is easy to find the wasteful and unnecessary spending we need to eliminate.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-07-fiscal-responsibility

Cost: $1 million ($4 million over five years).

Source: Senator Bennet is a cosponsor of for S. 3335 (111th Congress), the Earmark Transparency Act. A CBO estimate is available.

https://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/118xx/doc11854/s3335.pdf

Note:  Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 6052 (111th Congress), a bill to require the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to establish and maintain a website to track the expenditure of government funds; and, in the form of S. 1772 (111th Congress), a bill to require that all legislative matters be available and fully scored by CBO 72 hours before consideration by any subcommittee or committee of the Senate or on the floor of the Senate.  Cost estimates are not available for either bill.

C. Entitlements:

“We also need to take a serious look at reforming our entitlement programs. … We must find a way to preserve the integrity of these programs while reducing the increasingly large impact they have on the overall federal budget.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-07-fiscal-responsibility

            Cost: Unknown.

Health Care: Unknown

A. Family Planning and Prenatal Care:

“We should work towards a consensus by focusing on improving health outcomes – reducing the number of abortions and improving prenatal care, for instance – to ensure broad access to family planning and contraceptive services, to prevent unwanted pregnancies and involve medical professionals earlier in the reproductive process so as to avoid late-term abortions and unnecessary health problems during the course of a pregnancy.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-09-reproductive-choice

            Cost: Unknown.

Note:  Related legislation, H.R. 3312 (111th Congress), the Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion, and Supporting Parents Act authorizes increases of $3.903 billion in the first year for various education, after-school, and pregnancy-prevention programs. It is unclear if Senator Bennet supports the funding levels contained in this legislation.

B. Medicare Care Transitions Program:

“I support health care reforms that will preserve the good parts of Medicare, while making the program more cost effective and better for seniors, including  … [p]roviding help to patients leaving the hospital.  We pay almost $17 billion dollars every year to cover the preventable readmission of Medicare patients to the hospital.  Many of these hospital readmissions could be avoided by providing patients help with treatment and medications as they transitioned out of the hospital.  I have introduced legislation, based on a successful health program in Grand Junction, which would provide Medicare patients ‘coaches’ to aid with a sustained recovery strategy that avoids high hospital readmission rates.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-09-seniors

Cost: Unknown.

Note: Senator Bennet is a cosponsor of S. 1009 (111th Congress), the Medicare Care Transitions Program Act of 2009. A cost estimate is unavailable.

C. Rural Health:

“I believe we need more rural health clinics in our state. We need to support the ones that we have.”

http://www.youtube.com/buckforcolorado#p/u/5/KS_ksaIs0hA (min. 13:50)

“Six counties in Colorado don’t have a full-time physician; fourteen counties don’t even have a hospital. This needs to change, and Michael is fighting to get it done. … High-Quality Care for Rural Colorado. Michael introduced new legislation that would make health care more accessible and affordable for rural Coloradans by increasing funding and resources for community hospitals and pharmacies to ensure they have the up-to-date information and technology they need.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/about_Michael/results

            Cost: Unknown.

Note. Senator Bennet is the sponsor of S. 2838 (111th Congress), the Rural Health Access and Improvement Act of 2009, a bill to give critical access hospitals priority in receiving grants to implement health information technology, to expand participation in the drug pricing agreement program under section 340B of the Public Health Service Act, to provide for a study and report on pharmacy dispensing fees under Medicaid, to provide for continuing funding for operation of state offices of rural health, and for other purposes. A cost estimate is unavailable.

D. Rural Hospital and Provider Equity:

“I believe that any health care discussion must include positive steps to make sure we get health care to rural communities.  The system we have in place for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements puts small towns and rural communities at a disadvantage when it comes to meeting their health care needs.  That is why I offered legislation that would reserve funds to address inequities in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements that impede rural access to primary care, outpatient services, and hospitals.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-07-health-care

            Cost: Unknown.

Note: Senator Bennet is a cosponsor of S. 1157 (111th Congress), the Craig Thomas Rural Hospital and Provider Equity Act of 2009, a bill to protect and preserve access of Medicare beneficiaries in rural areas to health care providers under the Medicare program. A cost estimate is unavailable.

Homeland Security and Law Enforcement: $98 million

A. Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security (AgJOBS) Act of 2009:

“… I support practical worker programs that help Colorado’s economy … [m]aking it easier for farmers to get workers through the H-2A visa program.  I am currently a cosponsor of the Ag Jobs [sic] Act which addresses worker shortages on Colorado farms by providing a way forward for immigrant farm workers and H-2A guest workers.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-11-immigration

            Cost: $98 million ($492 million over five years).

Source: S. 1038 (111th Congress), the AgJOBS Act of 2009, a bill to improve agricultural job opportunities, benefits, and security for aliens in the United States, and for other purposes. A related provision for so-called “blue card” visas was included in the CBO cost estimate for S. 2611 (109th Congress).

http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=7501&zzz=34050

B. Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

“I support Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rNwpbrhnqA&NR=1 (min.12:00)

“It is time for practical, comprehensive reform that fixes our immigration system as a whole – enhancing border security and creating sound policy solutions for undocumented immigration.  I believe a comprehensive approach must include:

  • Additional border security resources, including technology and personnel[;]
  • A visa worker program that is responsive to the needs of business and the economy[;]
  • A path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, especially for deserving undocumented students who were brought here as children[.] …

Our immigration system won’t work without proper enforcement of our laws.  I support increasing the numbers of border patrol agents and investigating more technologically advanced surveillance equipment that will increase our ability to stop illegal immigration at the border. …

I support a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants that requires them to go to the back of the line for citizenship, obtain a criminal background check, learn English, and pay all back taxes and fines.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-11-immigration

Cost: Unknown.

Note: S. 2611 (109th Congress), the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, would have created a process for long-time illegal aliens to gain citizenship, and it would have created a temporary worker program. CBO estimates that the bill would have increased mandatory spending for federal benefit programs such as Medicaid, Social Security, Medicare, and Food Stamps by $12.9 billion over five years. In addition, enforcement and border security provisions would have cost $25.2 billion over five years. Except for the AgJOBS bill listed above, NTUF is uncertain to what degree Senator Bennet’s plan would reflect the provisions of S. 2611.

http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=7501&zzz=34050

In August 2010, President Obama signed H.R. 6080 (111th Congress), a bill making emergency supplemental appropriations for border security for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes. The bill increases funding for more agents and equipment along the Mexican border. Media reports cite $600 million as a total cost. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/aug/13/obama-signs-600m-border-security-bill-law/

National Defense and International Relations: $104 million

A. Afghanistan:

“We must provide the military, diplomatic, and economic resources necessary to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists once again. … The nations of the region and the world must collectively prevent a Taliban-dominated government from getting control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-07-national-security

            Cost: Unknown.

Note: In September of 2010, CRS reported that cumulative war funding totals for Afghanistan since the 9/11 attacks stand at $336 billion.

http://opencrs.com/document/RL33110/2010-09-02/download/1013/

B. Global Threats:

“Most urgent among these challenges is the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the possibility that a rogue nation might provide nuclear technology to terrorists.  I believe we must work with the international community to dramatically reduce that threat.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-07-national-security

            Cost: $104 million ($520 million over five years).

Note: Senator Bennet is a cosponsor of S. 1649 (111th Congress), the Weapons of Mass Destruction Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2009. The text authorizes the funding and calls for additional funding of “such sums as may be necessary.”

C. National Security Policy:

“It is time for a new national security policy that is based on smart strategic choices, including …  [i]Investments into expanding and strengthening our military forces[.] …

We must build a military force that is prepared to handle these new types of competing conflicts, including one with new force structures armed with weapons that work in close quarters.  

I also support increasing the size and strength of our military, accompanied by sound preparation for how they will be used and where they will be deployed.  We must develop an overall strategic plan to fund and support the most effective and efficient programs necessary to reduce new vulnerabilities at home and abroad, while cutting programs that are obsolete or unhelpful.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-07-national-security

            Cost: Unknown.

Note: In 2006, the Washington Post reported that in general, force-strength increases cost $1.2 billion per 10,000 troops annually.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/19/AR2006121900880.html

Veterans: $2.709 billion

A. Concurrent Receipts:

“Currently, veterans are subject to a decrease in their retirement benefits or combat pay equal to the amount of their disability payments.  There is no reason that veterans should be penalized, especially for service related disabilities.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-09-veterans

            Cost: $2.704 billion ($13.518 billion over five years).

Source: Senator Bennet cosponsored S. 546 (111th Congress), the Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2009. A CBO cost estimate is available.

            http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/103xx/doc10346/SprattLtrRetirementLegislation.pdf

B. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury:

“The consequences of war for our servicemen and women are not always physical.  Many Colorado veterans come home suffering from serious mental health and brain injuries, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  They need immediate, consistent, coordinated and reliable treatment. Recent reports from Fort Carson also make it clear that, left untreated, such trauma can lead to serious injury to the veteran, his or her family, and to strangers. We need an integrated health care system that is effective in diagnosis and treatment of the mental injuries of war to help troops get back to living a normal life.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-09-veterans

            Cost: Unknown.

Note: Related provisions were included in S. 1963, the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, which became P.L. 111-163 on May 5, 2010. It is unknown how much additional spending the Senator might advocate.

C. Veterans’ Cemetery for Southern Colorado:

“Colorado veterans have been fighting for a long time for a veterans’ cemetery in southern Colorado. I believe that Colorado’s veterans and their families deserve a final resting place that is close to home, and that the new cemetery would be a fitting tribute to their service and sacrifice.  That is why I have introduced legislation that would establish a new veterans cemetery in southern Colorado.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-09-veterans

            Cost: $5 million ($24 million over five years).

Source: H.R. 1660 (110th Congress), a bill to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a national cemetery for veterans in the southern Colorado region. A CBO cost estimate is available. The bill was re-introduced in the 111th Congress as S. 691 (which Senator Bennet sponsored) and H.R. 174.

http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=8117&zzz=35106

D. Veterans Health Care:

“There is absolutely no excuse for any failure to provide the best in treatment and services to veterans in need of medical assistance.  That means fully funding our veterans health care programs, and making sure that veterans that [sic] have access to quality health care close to their homes.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-09-veterans

            Cost:  Unknown.

Source:  S. 1963 (111th Congress), the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, became P.L. 111-163 on May 5, 2010. Based on an article posted on Military.com, NTUF estimates the cost of the bill to be $3.7 billion over five years. It is unknown how much additional spending Senator Bennet would support for veterans health services.

            http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,205283,00.html

Miscellaneous: Unknown

A. Social Security:

“I strongly oppose privatizing Social Security or reducing Social Security benefits.  We can work together to confront Social Security’s solvency challenge without taking these drastic, ill-conceived measures.  An important component for guaranteeing the long-term viability of Social Security is to get our nation’s fiscal house in order, without raiding Social Security to do it.”

http://bennetforcolorado.com/issues/details/2009-09-seniors

            Cost: Unknown.