Dedicated to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax and spending policies affect them.

Taxpayers Tab

Taxpayers Tab Issue #18

November 9, 2010


Vol. 1 Issue 18 November 9, 2010

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.

Most Friended

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.

About NTUF

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.

NTUF is a 501(c)(3) research and education organization. Donations are deductible for personal income tax purposes. Please make a donation today to help further NTUF's mission of research and education!

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.


We Want You!

NTUF is looking for fall/winter associate policy analysts to participate in our internship program. Associates assist with BillTally research and other policy projects. Academic credit and a stipend are possible. Email questions to To apply visit our internship page. Join us and help keep a tab on Congress!

The Wildcard

The Bill: S. 3078/H.R. 4757, Health Insurance Rate Authority Act of 2010

Annualized Cost: $255 million (first year cost)

Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) sponsored the Health Insurance Rate Authority Act to help "ensure that people in all states have access to a meaningful [health insurance] rate review process to protect them from unfair increases." The bill would give the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to block increases in health insurance premiums. While 25 states have their own Insurance Commissioners to review and approve or block proposed rate increases, S. 3078 would add a federal level of decision-making to "provide unprecedented authority to block unreasonable premium increases before they are allowed to take effect."

The bill also establishes a Medical Insurance Rate Authority -- a seven member advisory group -- charged with prioritizing potentially unreasonable rate increases for review by the Secretary, producing an annual report detailing insurance market behavior, and assigning regulators to each state to review rate increases.

Debate over the bill pits health care reform advocates against state regulators. Consumers Union calls for Congress to pass the Health Insurance Rate Authority Act because "[t]oo often, consumers are left at the mercy of health insurance companies, as many states allow companies to increase rates with little or no oversight." However, in a recent Politico article, Robert Zirkelbach of America's Health Insurance Plans says "states have the infrastructure, experience[,] and expertise to review premiums."

Missed an Issue of The Tab?

Read them online

Issue 17 - Senate Candidate Study Update

Issue 16 - Oct. 21

Issue 15 - Oct. 14

Issue 14 - BillTally Quarterly Report




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