Welcome to the Taxpayer's Tab -- the weekly newsletter for up-to-the-minute research from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation's BillTally Project.
Since 1991, NTUF has computed the legislative spending agendas of Members of Congress by analyzing the costs -- and savings -- of the bills that they sponsor and cosponsor. Our goal is to provide you with objective information about what Congress wants to do with your tax dollars in an open and transparent manner.
Each week, NTUF will bring you updates on the week's most and least expensive bills, the ones with the most cosponsors ("the most friended"), and a few bills we've termed Wildcards -- bills that we think you might find interesting.
For more information on the National Taxpayers Union Foundation or the BillTally Project, check out our website and methodology.
Most Expensive Bill of the Week
The Bill: H.R. 3577, Education Assistance to Realign New Eligibilities for Dependents (EARNED) Act of 2009
Annualized Cost: $477 million ($2.383 billion over five years)
Congressman Ciro Rodriguez (TX-23) sponsored the EARNED Act, which would allow members of the Armed Forces who have served for 20 years or more on active duty and received an honorable discharge between 2001 and 2009 to transfer their educational benefits to their dependents. This would expand upon the transfer options currently available to service members who have served for at least six years and agree to serve four or more additional years to transfer their benefits as allowed by the Post-9/11 GI Bill (H.R. 2642 of the 110th Congress). The bill was .
The Department of Veterans Affairs calculated that the benefits transfers would increase spending by $2.4 billion in the first five years and $4.2 billion over ten years.
Least Expensive Bill of the Week
The Bill: H.R. 3505, American Energy Production and Price Reduction Act
Annualized Savings: -$557 million (-$2.787 billion over five years)
Congressman Gary Miller (CA-42) introduced H.R. 3505 to augment traditional energy sources with increased exploration, to research energy alternatives, and to guarantee Congress will not raise energy taxes in the future.
The American Energy Production and Price Reduction Act would expand the Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Program to the entire U.S. coastline, while sharing the revenues with states. The federal share of offshore revenues would be used to pay down the national debt. The Act also opens the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) to leasing and drilling.
Alternative energy provisions in H.R. 3505 include: a nuclear certification credit for facility expenditures, funding for natural gas vehicle demonstration projects, and a coal-to-liquid project loan program. Numerous tax credits and deductions are included to cover other forms of alternative energy sources as well.
Significant cost savings would occur in the third and fifth fiscal years of enactment because ANWR drilling would result in offsetting receipts of $2.5 billion for the federal government. While the total receipts would be larger than that amount, Alaska would receive half of the proceeds.
The Bill: H.R. 463/S. 21, Prevention First Act
Number of Cosponsors: 145 Congressmen and 29 Senators
The Prevention First Act is intended to decrease the number of unintended pregnancies and reduce the number of abortions. The bill, sponsored by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) and Senator Harry Reid (NV), would appropriate additional funds for family planning services. The bill would fully fund the National Family Planning Program, expand such services within the Medicaid program, and develop an Emergency Contraception Public Education Program. H.R. 463 would also award grants to establish or expand teenage pregnancy prevention programs and provide contraceptives to survivors of sexual assault without charge.
H.R. 463 authorizes $417 million in new spending in the first year. $283 million is already being spent by the federal government to decrease unwanted pregnancies and educate the public.
Cosponsors include 143 Democrats and two Republicans in the House. Twenty-eight Democrat and one Republican Senators sponsored S. 21 in the Senate.
The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is a research and educational organization dedicated solely to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax policies, spending programs, and regulations at all levels affect them now and in the future. Through NTUF's timely information, analysis, and commentary, we're empowering citizens to actively engage in the fiscal policy debate and hold public officials accountable every day.
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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation or as a comment on any Member's fitness to serve.