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Most Expensive Bill of the Week
The Bill: H.R. 1209, Section 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2011
Annualized Cost: $1.511 billion ($7.554 billion over five years)
Roughly five million households receive rental assistance from programs managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). To be eligible for the government's rental vouchers, a family's income must be below either 50 percent or 80 percent of the area's median income, depending upon the program. Sponsored by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35), H.R. 1209 would change and streamline formulas for determining housing allowances, specifically for senior citizens, the disabled, and those with children and dependents.
The bill would provide an additional 150,000 tenant-based vouchers. The average cost of each new voucher would amount to $7,500 and would be distributed on an annual basis. H.R. 1209 also creates 41,300 vouchers that would help to pay for HUD-related mortgages and to replace Section 8 dwellings.
According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), H.R. 1209 would result in $7.554 billion in new spending over the next five years. Up to 87 percent of the bill's cost would result from the new vouchers.
Least Expensive Bill of the Week
The Bill: H.R. 1217, a bill to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund
Annualized Savings: $1.22 billion ($6.1 billion over five years)
Established in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Prevention and Public Health Fund provides grant assistance to public and private entities to carry out prevention, wellness, and public health activities. Under the health care bill, the Fund was to receive $750 million in 2011 and $2 billion per year through fiscal year 2015.
H.R. 1217 would repeal the authority and rescind any unobligated tax dollars associated with the Fund. According to CBO, taxpayers would save $6.1 billion between 2012 and 2016, if the bill, sponsored by Congressman Joseph Pitts (PA-16), was signed into law.
The Bill: H.R. 1297, Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act of 2011
Annualized Cost: No Cost - Conditional
Number of Cosponsors: 179 Congressmen
In March, the federal government came within hours of a shutdown because lawmakers were unable to agree upon a new budget or a temporary spending measure. In response to the possibility that members of the Armed Forces would continue to serve without pay in the event a budget was not passed, Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-1) introduced H.R. 1297. The bill provides for emergency spending to the Department of Defense to pay military personnel, both regular and reserve components.
The bill is a conditional measure and would not require any new spending unless the federal government faced another budgetary impasse. The cost of H.R. 1297 is uncertain because the length and scope of such an event is unpredictable.
Cosponsors include 35 Democrats and 144 Republicans in the House.
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