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Illinois U.S. Senate Candidate Spending Analysis – Alexi Giannoulias
October 25, 2010
Total Net Spending Agenda: $76.278 billion
Economy, Transportation, and Infrastructure: $5.561 billion
A. Job Creation Tax Credit:
“Alexi is calling for a ‘job creation tax credit’ for small businesses with less than 50 employees to help incentivize job creation among small businesses, which are responsible for 65 percent of jobs created in America.”
Note: The cost of this proposal would be determined, in large part, by whether the tax credit is “refundable” or not. The refunded portion is considered spending for budgetary purposes. Without additional details, NTUF is unable to determine the level of refundability (and hence the impact on outlays as opposed to revenues).
B. Small Business Loan Fund:
“Create a $50 billion fund from the money returned to TARP [Troubled Asset Relief Program] and establish a lending program through the Small Business Administration (SBA) to steer money directly to small businesses. The money would come with stricter guidelines, more oversight and greater accountability than the original TARP program.
To enhance this program, Alexi supports the effort of Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) to increase the caps on the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) and 504 loans to $5 million in most instances, and to raise the maximum loan size for microloans from $35,000 to $50,000.”
Note: The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203) prohibits the reuse of repaid TARP funds, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), The Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update, August 2010. http://cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=11705&type=1
If Giannoulias wanted to create the loan program without TARP funds, the potential cost to taxpayers would be determined, in part, by the subsidy rates associated with the different loan types. In a cost estimate for S. 2869 (111th Congress), the Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act of 2009, which would expand maximum loan sizes and increase loan guarantee rates, CBO states, “subsidy rates for those programs range from zero percent for the 504 program to about 12 percent for the microloan program.”
C. Renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement:
“In the U.S. Senate, Alexi would push legislation that requires the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office to analyze the impact of [the North American Free Trade Agreement] and other trade deals on American jobs, wages and business investment, and calls for the White House to give Congress a plan for renegotiating those pacts.”
Note: The primary impact of free trade bills is generally on federal revenues. Depending on the terms of the agreement, there may be some outlay effects as well. For example, CBO projects that H.R. 3688, the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act (110th Congress), “would reduce revenues by $20 million in 2008, increase revenues by $292 million over the 2008-2012 period, and reduce revenues by $423 million over the 2008-2017 period. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3688 also would increase direct spending by $4 million in 2008 and by $27 million over the 2008-2012 period, and reduce direct spending by $443 million over the 2008-2017 period. Further, CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would result in new discretionary spending of less than $500,000 per year, assuming the availability of appropriated funds.”
D. Occupational Safety and Health Administration Funding:
“Alexi supports providing adequate funding for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and extending coverage to the millions of state and local employees currently excluded from the OSHA Act.”
Note: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 1580 (111th Congress), the Protecting America’s Workers Act. A cost estimate is not available.
E. Pay Equity:
“In the Senate, he will work to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would empower women to negotiate for equal pay, create incentives for employers to follow the Equal Pay Act and protect workers from retaliation if they disclose or question their pay.”
Cost: $3 million ($15 million over five years).
Source: S. 3772 (111th Congress), the Paycheck Fairness Act. The text authorizes $15 million. NTUF assumes that the funding would be spent over five years.
F. Performance-based Transportation Funding:
“As Senator, he would be a vocal advocate for ensuring that every mode of transportation is being funded based on performance. Low-pollution modes – like rail, transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure – are significantly underfunded compared to automobile infrastructure.”
Note: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 2724 (111th Congress), to amend title 49, United States Code, to establish national transportation objectives and performance targets for the purpose of assessing progress toward meeting national transportation objectives. A cost estimate is not available.
G. Unified Transportation Fund:
“Alexi supports the creation of a Unified Transportation Trust Fund, which would help achieve a balanced and targeted allocation of federal funds.”
Note: It is unclear whether the proposal would involve the pooling of existing transportation monies or additional funding.
H. Livable Communities:
“Alexi strongly supports the Livable Communities Act, which encourages a coordination of federal housing, transportation, energy and environmental policy and comprehensive regional planning to connect these issues through sustainable development.”
Cost: $1.038 billion ($4.150 billion over five years).
Source: S. 1619 (111th Congress), the Livable Communities Act of 2009. Estimate is based on the text of the bill and a CBO report.
I. National Infrastructure Fund:
“Alexi proposes the creation of a National Infrastructure Fund that would directly fund large-scale infrastructure projects that are most economically beneficial and efficient.”
Cost: $4.5 billion ($22.5 billion over five years).
Source: Giannoulias would fund the program by cutting “tax breaks for big oil companies, which would make $45 billion available over the next decade.”
J. Freight and Rail Networks:
“Alexi supports efforts to untangle the freight rail networks around Chicago through CREATE [Chicago Region Environmental And Transportation Efficiency] – a federal, state and city partnership that would invest in capital improvements to increase the efficiency of the region’s rail infrastructure.”
Note: CREATE is a public-private partnership that involves private freight railroads, the state of Illinois, the City of Chicago, Metra, Amtrak, and the federal government. CREATE is expected to invest more than $2.5 billion in capital rail projects in the Chicago area. According to the CREATE website, “As of July 2009, the railroads have contributed $116 million, the State of Illinois has secured $320 million, the City of Chicago has committed $30 million, and $90.6 million in Federal earmarks has been secured via the 2005-2009 Federal Transportation Reauthorization, The Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).”
The project also received $133 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The final cost to taxpayers will depend upon the ability of coalition partners to fulfill their funding commitments as well as the problems that transportation projects typically face, such as cost overruns.
K. High-speed Rail Expansion:
“Alexi supports the expansion of high-speed passenger rail by upgrading tracks and equipment across the country.”
“Alexi supports expanding the program that began under the stimulus to create high-speed rail corridors. Anyone who has flown between New York City and Washington DC knows that hopping on the train is a far more hassle-free experience and takes about the same amount of time. We can easily replicate this model for regional travel throughout the United States.”
Note: The Department of Transportation received $8 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for high-speed rail projects. The Department notes that this is in addition to the $1 billion in funding that the President has requested for each of the next five fiscal years.
It is unknown how much additional funding Giannoulias might support.
L. Community Block Grants:
“Alexi supports the full funding of the Community Development Block Grant, an important program that will help strengthen cities and towns throughout the nation by providing housing and creating jobs for primarily low- to moderate-income people.”
Source: According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Fiscal Year 2010 appropriation for the Community Development Block Grant program was $4.45 billion.
According to the President’s Fiscal Year 2011 Budget, the Administration provides “$4.4 billion for the Community Development Fund, including full funding of Community Development Block Grant formula funds and $150 million for Catalytic Investment Competition Grants to implement economic development activities in targeted distressed communities.” http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy11/pdf/budget/housing.pdf
How much additional funding Giannoulias might support is unclear.
M. Broadband Access:
“Alexi will fight to increase funding for federal initiatives such as the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program, which provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas.”
Cost: $20 million ($100 million over five years).
Source: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 4545 (111th Congress), the Rural Broadband Initiative Act of 2010. The text authorizes the funding.
Note: 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.
N. Community Technology Centers:
“Alexi supports the proliferation of Community Technology Centers, which offer resources to help bridge the digital divide through public access to computers and the Internet.”
Education, Science, and Research: $13.002 billion
A. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Teachers:
“Alexi will push to create a merit-based scholarship program that would target 25,000 students pursuing both a K-12 teacher certification and a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field. In return, the students would have to commit to teach for at least five years.”
Cost: $159 million ($794 million over five years).
Source: Related legislation was introduced in the form of H.R. 362 (110th Congress), to authorize science scholarships for educating mathematics and science teachers, and for other purposes. The text authorizes the funding.
B. Technology Research Partnership:
“Create a $100 million federal Innovation Partnership Investment Fund to match private donations that create opportunities for the next generation of research at American universities.”
Cost: $20 million ($100 million over five years).
Note: NTUF assumes that the funds would be spent over five years.
C. Double the Number of Apprenticeships:
“Alexi wants to double the current 1 million apprenticeships and would start by pushing legislation to provide a $1000 a year tax credit to businesses for each apprenticeship they create.”
Note: The potential cost of the program would depend upon whether the tax credit would be refundable or not. NTUF is unable to estimate the cost of the proposal because the level of refundability (and hence the impact on outlays as opposed to revenues) is unknown.
D. Increase Federal Research & Development Funding:
“As a Senator, Alexi will push to fully fund the American [sic] COMPETES legislation. The bill, which was pushed by President Bush as part of his American Competitiveness Initiative, has passed both houses of Congress and would double the research budgets of the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Now Congress must find the appropriations to fund the initiative.”
Cost: $4.591 billion (first-year cost).
Source: Estimate is based on data from a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, “America COMPETES Act and the FY 2010 Budget.”
E. National “Green Bank”:
“Create a national, public ‘Green Bank.’ A ‘Green Bank’ could open credit markets and motivate businesses to invest in scientific and technological advances that reduce our dependence on dirty fuels, spur new economic markets and jobs, and strengthen our national security…. In the U.S. Senate, Alexi would work in partnership with the private sector to create a funding mechanism that would enable clean-energy technologies to be deployed on a large scale and become commercially viable at current electricity costs.”
Cost: $123 million ($614 million over five years).
Source: A related provision was included in S. 949 (111th Congress), the 21st Century Energy Technology Deployment Act. The bill would establish a Clean Energy Deployment Administration that would be authorized to provide direct loans, loan guarantees, and letters of credit for clean energy programs. Cost is based on a CBO report for H.R. 2454 (111th Congress), the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.
F. Artists Corps:
“Alexi believes all students should have access to arts education. He supports the creation of an ‘Artists Corps’ of young artists who are trained to work in low-income schools and communities.”
G. National Endowment for the Arts (NEA):
“In the Senate, Alexi will be a strong voice for restoring NEA funding to previous inflation-adjusted levels and ensuring that the arts receive a fair increase each year.”
Cost: $104 million (first-year cost).
Source: According to Americans for the Arts, “If the NEA’s budget remained constant since 1992 and was only adjusted for inflation, it would be $272 million in 2010, instead of $167.5 million.” http://www.artsusa.org/pdf/get_involved/advocacy/research/2010/neaapprops_2010.pdf
H. Arts Funding:
“Alexi will support opportunities to fund the arts through other mechanisms, including education funding bills and appropriate earmarks.”
I. Early Childhood Care:
“…Alexi supports efforts to increase child care funding through the Child Care and Development Fund. The $2 billion in Recovery Act funds were a good start, but Alexi supports restoring full funding in the federal budget to inflation-adjusted levels.”
Cost: $805 million (first-year cost).
Source: In Fiscal Year 2002, the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) received a total appropriation of $4.817 billion. Adjusting that funding for inflation to 2010 levels would mean that the CCDF would receive a total appropriation of $5.849 billion. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the CCDF’s Fiscal Year 2010 total appropriation was $5.044 billion. The difference of $805 million would be the cost of the proposal for one year.
J. Early Childhood Education:
“Alexi supports increased funding for Head Start, Early Head Start, and other early childhood education programs.”
Note: Head Start received $2.1 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds of which $1.1 billion went to the Early Head Start program. http://dhhs.gov/asfr/ob/docbudget/2010budgetinbriefr.html
It is unknown how much additional funding Giannoulias might support.
K. Pell Grants:
“Alexi will work to make higher education more affordable by supporting an expansion of Pell Grants and proposing new financial incentives and tax credits to make sure any young person who works hard can afford to attend school. Alexi supports indexing the maximum Pell grant to the inflation rate plus 1 percent, and protecting it from future cuts, by exempting the maximum Pell grant level from the appropriations process.”
Note: H.R. 4872 (111th Congress), the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, made changes to several student loan programs, including the Pell Grant program. According to CBO the changes, which have been passed into law, “would increase direct spending by $21 billion over the 2010–2014 period and $36 billion over the 2010– 2019 period.” It is possible that indexing Pell Grant awards to inflation plus 1 percent would raise spending above CBO’s estimate over the long term; however, NTUF is not able to estimate the potential costs.
L. Reform the No Child Left Behind Act:
“No Child Left Behind had the right goals but the wrong strategy and inadequate funding. It must be reformed to reduce the focus on standardized tests, and provide a support mechanism for teachers and schools that are underperforming.”
Cost: $80 million ($240 million over three years).
Source: S. 3558 (111th Congress), the No Child Left Behind Reform Act. The text authorizes the funding.
M. Fully Fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act:
“Alexi supports the bipartisan initiatives to require the federal government to fully fund its share of the per-pupil cost of educating children covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.”
Cost: $6.833 billion ($34.163 billion over five years).
Source: H.R. 3578 (111th Congress), to amend part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to provide full federal funding of such part. The text of the bill increases the federal share over six years.
N. Youth Violence Programs:
“Alexi is a strong supporter of after-school programs that give kids a safe and creative outlet. We must fully fund successful school programs, like Ceasefire, that help to keep kids out of trouble.”
Note: See Health Care – Reduce Unwanted Pregnancies. H.R. 3312 (111th Congress), the Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion, and Supporting Parents Act would increase funding for various after-school programs.
O. Youth Promise Act:
“Alexi supports the Youth Promise Act which invests in proven juvenile delinquency intervention and prevention programs.”
Cost: $287 million ($1.437 billion over five years).
Source: H.R. 1064 (111th Congress), the Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education Act. A CBO estimate is available. http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=11007&sequence=0&from=6
Energy, Agriculture, and the Environment: $52.315 billion
A. Reduce Global Warming
Cost: $51.54 billion ($257.7 billion over five years).
Source: Related legislation in the form of H.R. 2454 (111th Congress), the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, has been adopted in the House. H.R. 2454 would establish a cap-and-trade system to regulate carbon emissions. According to CBO, “The bill would limit or cap the quantity of certain greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted from facilities that generate electricity and from other industrial activities over the 2012-2050 period. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would establish two separate regulatory initiatives known as cap-and-trade programs—one covering emissions of most types of GHGs and one covering hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). EPA would issue allowances to emit those gases under the cap-and-trade programs. Some of those allowances would be auctioned by the federal government, and the remainder would be distributed at no charge.” The funds would support the development of clean energy projects, establish a renewable electricity standard, and provide loans to auto manufacturers to make capital improvements that would lead to the production of vehicles that have greater fuel efficiency, among other programs.
B. Farm Policy:
“Alexi will fight for programs that provide family farmers with predictable and stable support in the face of natural disasters, market fluctuations and corporate consolidation.”
“He favors stronger payment limitations and the closing of loopholes that allow large corporate farms to evade current limits.”
Note: The 2008 Farm Bill became law on June 18, 2008. According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), “the bill generally continues the framework of the 2002 farm bill, revises payment limitations (tightening certain limits and relaxing others), adjusts support prices for some commodities, and creates a new revenue support program, in addition to the traditional direct, counter-cyclical, and marketing loan programs for major supported crops. The bill also adds new stand-alone titles containing provisions to address horticulture and livestock issues, including new mandatory funding for specialty crop block grants and to support organic production; and provisions to address meat and poultry inspection, country-of-origin labeling, and livestock competition. Other provisions include changes to the current crop insurance program, a new provision for ongoing disaster assistance, and expanded borrowing opportunities for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers.” http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RL34696_20081003.pdf
Congressional hearings to reauthorize the 2008 law have already begun. http://lincoln.senate.gov/newsroom/2010-6-1-1.cfm
In his Fiscal Year 2011 Budget, the President proposed reducing commodity payments to wealthy farmers. CBO and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have significantly different estimates of the possible savings.
It is unknown how Giannoulias’s proposals might affect current law or shape the upcoming reauthorization, if he were elected to the Senate.
C. Organic Crops
“As demand for local and organic crops continues to increase, Alexi will push Congress to ensure there are strict guidelines and oversight, and to help organic farmers afford to certify their crops and obtain crop insurance.”
Cost: $50 million ($150 million over three years).
Source: S. 2758 (111th Congress), the Growing Safe Food Act of 2009. The text authorizes the funding.
D. Extend Transmission Grid:
“Alexi wants to extend the transmission grid to America’s rural areas so that these communities can efficiently export wind, solar, geothermal, and bio-fuel resources to where energy is in greater demand.”
Cost: $125 million ($625 million over five years).
Source: S. 539 (111th Congress), the Clean Renewable Energy and Economic Development Act. The text authorizes the funding.
E. Rural Revitalization:
“Alexi will support congressional efforts to pass legislation that invests in the education of tomorrow’s farmers and promotes farm ownership. He supports the Rural Revitalization Program to attract and retain jobs for young people in rural America.”
Cost: $600 million ($3.001 billion over five years).
Source: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 3077 (111th Congress), to authorize appropriations for Fiscal Years 2010 through 2014 to provide assistance to foreign countries to promote food security and agricultural development, to develop rural infrastructure and stimulate rural economies, to improve emergency response to food crises, to amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, and for other purposes. The cost is based on a CBO estimate for the Senate companion bill, S. 384, and the text of the bill. It excludes funding for the bilateral agriculture programs.
Federal Government Reform: $849 million
A. Budget – Pay As You Go (PAY-GO) Budgeting:
“Institute ‘pay as you go’ budgeting. No American family would survive if it budgeted like the U.S. government. Alexi supports PAY-GO as a way to ensure that every new spending bill must be offset by savings or increased revenue elsewhere.”
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 to when considering various pieces of legislation. It is unclear how Giannoulias’s proposal might alter current law.
B. Budget – Line-item Veto:
“Alexi supports a line-item veto authority that passes the constitutional test – it would empower the president to submit items to be rescinded for 45 days after a spending bill has been signed into law, and then give Congress 25 days to vote the rescissions up or down without amendments.”
Note: Any savings would depend upon how the President chooses to exercise this new authority and whether or not Congress voted to sustain or overturn any vetoed items.
C. Election Reform:
“Alexi will push for a federal financing system that is suitable for the 21st century. As a start, he will co-sponsor Senator Durbin’s Fair Elections Now Act, which tilts the power away from wealthy special interests and empowers every citizen to play a bigger role in the electoral process.”
Cost: $850 million (first-year cost).
Source: Senator Durbin is the sponsor of S. 752 (111th Congress), the Fair Elections Now Act. The estimate is based on information from Fair Elections Now. http://fairelectionsnow.org
D. Lobbying Disclosure Database:
“Alexi will push to reform the lobbyist disclosure database by making it fully searchable so that it’s clear who has lobbied for specific pieces of legislation, and how much money they have spent on those activities.”
E. Congressional Pay Raises:
“Congress should not pass pay increases for itself until it addresses the federal deficits that threaten to cripple our economy and burden future generations.”
Cost: -$3 million (first-year savings).
Source: S. 3244 (111th Congress), a bill to provide that Members of Congress shall not receive a cost of living adjustment in pay during Fiscal Year 2011. Estimate is based on data from the Office of Personnel Management.
F. Government Data Online:
“Alexi supports mandating that all three branches of government make publicly available data available online in an easily searchable format.”
Cost: $2 million ($5 million over three years).
Source: H.R. 2392 (111th Congress), the Government Information Transparency Act, would require OMB “to adopt a single data standard for: (1) collection, analysis, and dissemination of business and financial information for use by private sector entities in accordance with this Act for information required to be reported to the federal government; and (2) use by agencies for federal financial information.”
The adoption of a single data standard could lead to administrative savings but states “any such savings would be small over the next five years.” http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=10462&sequence=0&from=6
G. Spending Transparency:
“In the U.S. Senate, he would broaden the online, real-time tracking system that is part of the Recovery Act to cover all U.S. government spending, and fight to change the government’s definition of ‘public information’ to ensure that all publicly released data is also put online in an easy-to-download format. He also supports efforts to post all legislation online in final form for 72 hours prior to voting so that the public can read it in its entirety.”
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.
Health Care: $4.585 billion
A. Public Option:
“Alexi supports the creation of a public health insurance option that consumers would be able to purchase on a health-insurance exchange.”
Cost: $533 million ($1.60 billion over five years).
Source: H.R. 5808 (111th Congress), to amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to establish a public health insurance option. Estimate is based on the text of the bill and CBO data.
B. Paid Family Leave:
“Alexi would like to see all states institute a paid family leave program. In the U.S. Senate, he will support efforts that help states to test and implement new programs that meet basic national standards.”
Note: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 3680 (111th Congress), the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act. A cost estimate is currently unavailable.
C. Reduce Unwanted Pregnancies:
“Alexi also supports more funding for preventive initiatives aimed at reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, including greater access to contraceptives that curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and comprehensive sex education programs that teach safe sex methods.”
Cost: $3.903 billion (first-year cost).
Source: H.R. 3312 (111th Congress), the Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion, and Supporting Parents Act. The text authorizes appropriations to increase funding for various education, after-school, and pregnancy-prevention programs.
D. Preventive Care for Women:
“He will also work to ensure preventive care and early detection programs, which include things like mammograms and pap smears, are easily accessible.”
Note: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act authorizes $45 million for Fiscal Years 2010 through 2014 for women’s breast health awareness. Mammography and breast cancer screening is considered as preventive care under Section 2713 of the bill.
It is unclear how much additional funding Giannoulias would support beyond this level.
E. Domestic Violence Services:
“Alexi supports efforts to raise awareness and fund programs so victims can get help early on, train medical professionals in domestic violence services and response, develop best practices to combat and prevent violent acts, and demand tougher laws against those who commit violence.”
Cost: $149 million ($745 million over five years).
Source: H.R. 4116 (111th Congress), a bill to reauthorize the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, and for other purposes. Estimate is based on the text of the bill and budget data.
Homeland Security and Law Enforcement: $2 million
“Alexi believes that we should place the nation’s 12 million undocumented immigrants on a responsible path to citizenship. He supports a plan that requires undocumented workers to pay a fine for entering the country illegally, learn English, pay taxes and wait in line to become citizens.”
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. 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.
NTUF is uncertain to what degree Giannoulias’s plan would reflect the provisions of S. 2611.
B. Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act:
“Alexi supports the bipartisan [Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors] DREAM Act to provide certain undocumented immigrant students the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency if they have graduated from U.S. high schools, are of good moral character, and have been in the country continuously for at least five years.”
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, CBO estimated that S. 1545, the DREAM Act, would have a minimal cost over the first five years, but would 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 Care Act, it is uncertain what the current cost of this legislation might be.
C. Federal Hate Crimes:
“Alexi would work to pass the Matthew Shepard Act, which would expand the federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.”
Cost: $2 million ($10 million over five years).
Source: H.R. 1913 (111th Congress), the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. Cost estimate is for the bill as ordered reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary on April 23, 2009.http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=10098&sequence=0&from=6
National Security and International Relations: -$36 million (savings)
A. Cultural Diplomacy:
“Unfortunately, our resources for cultural diplomacy are at their lowest level in a decade. As Senator, Alexi would work to reverse this trend by improving and expanding public-private partnerships that provide cultural and arts exchanges throughout the world.”
Note: Section 211 of H.R. 2410 (111th Congress), the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011, designates the Secretary of State as the person responsible for coordinating the interagency process in public diplomacy and “[d]irects the Secretary to establish a working group of the heads of certain federal agencies and seek to convene such group quarterly.”
CBO estimates that this provision would cost $1 million a year. http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=10260&sequence=0&from=6
It is unclear how much additional funding Giannoulias would support above this level.
B. Support for Israel:
“Alexi is committed to helping Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East, maintain its qualitative military edge.”
Note: The CRS reports, “For FY2011, the Obama Administration requested $3 billion in FMF [Foreign Military Financing] to Israel. According to the State Department’s FY 2011 budget justification for Foreign Operations, ‘U.S. assistance will help ensure that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge over potential threats, and prevent a shift in the security balance of the region. U.S. assistance is also aimed at ensuring for Israel the security it requires to make concessions necessary for comprehensive regional peace.’” Additionally, the U.S. and Israel announced an agreement earlier this year for Israel to purchase 20 F-35 fighters. The planes would be purchases through the Foreign Military Financing program. It is uncertain how much additional funding Giannoulias would support.
C. Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”:
“…Alexi supports the repeal of the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. He does not believe that there needs to be further study or review – the policy should be immediately repealed.”
Cost: -$36 million (-$180 million over five years).
Source: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 1283 (111th Congress), the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2009. A University of California report estimates the cost of discharging service members and then recruiting and training their replacements to have been $364 million over the first decade of the policy. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/13/AR2006021302373.html
This issue may be rendered moot by recent court action.
A. Veterans Loan Programs:
“Alexi will work to expand the VA [Veterans Administration] loan programs so that veterans have the opportunity to open a small business or buy a home.”
Note: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 294 (111th Congress), the Veteran-Owned Small Business Promotion Act of 2009, which would among other things reinstate the veteran-owned small business loan program. A cost estimate is not available.
B. Veterans Health Care:
“Alexi will fight to fully fund the [Veterans Administration] hospital system so that all service members have access to quality health care.”
Source: S. 1963 (111th Congress), the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, became law (PL 111-163) on May 5, 2010. Based on an article posted on military.com (http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,205283,00.html), NTUF estimates the cost of the bill to be $3.7 billion over five years. It is unknown how much additional spending Giannoulias would support for veterans health services including the items listed above, all of which are addressed in S. 1963.
C. Electronic Claims Processing:
“To ensure that all VA claims decisions are consistent and efficient, Alexi supports the [sic] transitioning the benefit claims process from a paper to an electronic system and will work with the VA to improve the training and accountability of VA claims workers.”
Note: In a speech to the American Legion Annual Convention on August 31, 2010, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki stated, “In the last 18 months, VBA expanded its workforce by over 3,500 people, began accepting on-line applications for initial disability benefits, initiated an innovation competition, launched over 30 pilot programs and initiatives to identify best practices, and invested over $138 million in a paperless Veterans benefits management system that will be deployed in fiscal year 2012…. The budget also includes $145.3 million in information technology (IT) funds to support the ongoing development of a smart, paperless claims processing system. We intend to break the back of the backlog this year.” http://www1.va.gov/opa/speeches/2010/08_31_2010.asp
It is unknown how much additional funding Giannoulias might support.
A. Social Security:
“He believes workers deserve a basic level of security after a lifetime of work, and will work to strengthen Social Security, fight dangerous privatization schemes, and protect workers pension and retirement systems.”
Note: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 1276 (111th Congress), to amend title II of the Social Security Act to ensure that the receipts and disbursements of the Social Security trust funds are not included in a unified Federal budget and to provide that Social Security contributions are used to protect Social Security solvency by mandating that Trust Fund monies cannot be diverted to create private accounts. A cost estimate is not available.