Stay Tuned for a Special 100 Day Report
In the coming weeks, the National Taxpayers Union Foundation will be releasing a report detailing the proposed spending of the House of Representatives during the first 100 days of the 112th Congress. NTUF is America's only research organization that conducts a full study of what federal legislatures would spend if all their supported measures were enacted into law. As always, special highlights and exclusive commentary will be available through The Taxpayer's Tab.
Most Expensive Bill of the Week
The Bill: H.R. 1532/S. 844, Race to the Top Act of 2011
Annualized Cost: Annualized Cost: $1.35 billion (first-year cost)
Launched in 2009 as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), Race to the Top is the Obama administration's $4.35 billion education reform effort. The program offers grants to schools to foster "a national competition which will highlight and replicate effective education reform strategies" from across the country. Grants were to be awarded to states based on their adoption of benchmarks, development of effective teachers and principals, construction of data systems that measured student success, and turning around poor-performing schools.
Congressman Jared Polis (CO-2) and Senator Joe Lieberman (CT) have each introduced legislation to authorize Race to the Top for FY 2012 and to allocate federal funds for the awards. The legislation "incentivizes the adoption of internationally benchmarked college- and career-ready standards that prepare students for success," "opens the competition to school districts in addition to states," and "promotes early learning programs to ensure that kids are prepared to learn when they enter the public school system.
The ARRA established the program as a nonrecurring cost to taxpayers. NTUF has determined any current spending would not count as a baseline to measures such as H.R 1532.
Least Expensive Bill of the Week
The Bill: S. 475, the Enacting President Obama's Recommendations for Program Termination Act
Annualized Savings: -$6.064 billion (first-year savings)
When the President presents a budget to Congress, he submits a special document titled "Terminations, Reductions, and Savings." The report "identifies programs that do not accomplish their intended objectives, are not efficient, or that replicate [current government] efforts."
From the most recent report, Senator Tom Coburn (OK) selected 85 program terminations that would result in savings. Below are selected programs and their projected savings if S. 475 was enacted.
- Cease C-17 Transport Aircraft Production: -$2.5 billion
- Eliminate the Joint Strike Fighter Alternate Engine Program: -$465 million
- Cut HHS Health Care Facilities and Construction: -$337 million
- Rescind the HHS Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education Payment Program: -$318 million
- Cancel the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle: -$293 million
The Bill: H.R. 358/S. 877, Protect Life Act
Annualized Cost: "No Cost" - Regulatory
Number of Cosponsors: 142 Congressmen and 31 Senators
H.R. 358 would amend last year's health-care bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The bill would prohibit federal funds from being used to pay for abortion services or the health costs of any health plan that provides abortion services, except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the pregnant woman is in danger. Aside from those exceptions, the Protect Life Act would require health insurers to collect separate premiums for abortion-related coverage, if the policy holder opts into that kind of coverage. The bills were introduced by Congressman Joe Pitts (PA-16) and Senator Orrin Hatch (UT).
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), federal laws already prohibit federal dollars from paying for abortion services and a requirement that separate premiums be collected is also in effect. CBO determined the bill would not affect outlays.
Cosponsors include six Democrats and 136 Republicans in the House. In the Senate, S. 877 is supported by 31 Republicans.
The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is able to produce timely reports and analysis for policymakers and taxpayers with the help and support of foundations, small businesses, and Americans who wish to stay informed of their government's spending. With donations from Tab subscribers and members, NTUF will be able to continue to simplify important entitlement reform plans, examine budgets, and score legislation. Please consider making a tax-free contribution to NTUF.
The Bill: H.R. 1776, Older Driver and Pedestrian Safety and Roadway Enhancement Act of 2011
Annualized Cost: $500 million ($2.5 billion over five years)
Congressman Jason Altmire (PA-4) introduced H.R. 1776, which establishes a new federal driver safety program. The program aims to reduce roadway fatalities and serious injuries among drivers and pedestrians 65 years of age or older. Authorized to spend $500 million each year, the program would apportion funds to improve safety at intersections and to make roadway improvements.
New regulations would also be imposed on states to revise highway design handbooks and to establish federal minimum standards on the reflectivity of pavement markings. A new office is established, a Special Assistant for Older Driver and Pedestrian Safety, within the Department of Transportation. The Assistant would oversee the new program's implementation.
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