NTUF In The News
The War on Federal Redundancy
The Ripon Forum by NTUF Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady
The Ripon Forum featured an article by NTUF's Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady about the war on federal redundancy and why duplicative government programs should be the first place Congress looks to cut. Ultimately, our fiscal problems won’t be solved until politicians tackle entitlement reform. But while that debate continues, Congress should get to work eliminating or consolidating wasteful, duplicative programs. The entire article can be here.
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Most Expensive Bill of the Week
The Bill: H.R. 555, Universal Prekindergarten Act
Annualized Cost: $30 billion ($150 billion over five years)
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (OH-10) said "we must make the education of our youth a top priority for investment in our future." He introduced the Universal Pre-kindergarten Act to provide "children ages 3-5 years old [with] access to a high quality, full-day, full calendar year prekindergarten education."
H.R. 555 would require the Department of Health and Human Services to award matching grants to state governments. States would receive funds after submitting an 11 point plan outlining what would be taught, what agencies and departments would be involved in the program, and how they would provide for 20 percent of matching Federal funds.
Local individual schools and programs would also be required to describe how they would collaborate with existing community-based child care providers and Head Start programs, submit a plan to promote parental involvement in the program, and provide data detailing all funding sources -- including private contributions -- received by the program. Class sizes would be limited to 20 children and the programs must maintain at least a 10:1 student-to-teacher ratio.
The Prekindergarten Grant Program would initially be funded at $10 billion in FY 2012 and increase by $10 billion each of the next five years. The appropriations in H.R. 555 would be in addition to the $8.1 billion in Head Start funding that was requested by the President in his FY 2012 budget.
Least Expensive Bill of the Week
The Bill: S. 162, Cut Federal Spending Act of 2011
Annualized Savings: $408.507 billion (first year savings)*
At the beginning of 2011, the Congressional Budget Office predicted a $1.5 trillion deficit for FY 2011. This estimate assumes that current laws remain unchanged. Senator Rand Paul's (KY) introduced S. 162 as a possible solution to the budgetary problem.
S. 162 would make budgetary cuts to all three branches of government, including 12 departments, two agencies, and four independent agencies for FY 2011. The bill would also terminate all Amtrak federal subsidies and entirely defund the Department of Housing and Urban Development, nine agencies, and seven independent agencies. Seven miscellaneous cuts appear in the Act that are scorable under NTUF's BillTally methodology such as reducing government travel. Two entities, the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Social Security Administration, are explicitly spared any funding cuts.
* This is a preliminary estimate. Certain provisions of the bill are still being researched for potential costs while others may require revenue considerations.
The Bill: H.R. 642, Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2011
Annualized Cost: No Cost
Number of Cosponsors: 124 Congressmen
The Fairness Doctrine was originally introduced in 1949 to present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues, as well as requiring broadcast license holders to set aside airtime for those discussions. The policy was under the authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) until it was partially revoked in 1985. Federal officials stated that the policy violated free speech rights. The full repeal was ordered in 2000. Since 2005, attempts to reinstate the doctrine have been introduced in Congress but supporters have yet to reinstate the policy.
To guarantee the Fairness Doctrine is not reinstated, Congressman Mike Pence (IN-6) re-introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act. The bill prohibits the FCC from instituting any and all parts of the Doctrine.
The bill acts as a preventative measure against the FCC instituting its own policies without Congressional legislation. It limits the scope of FCC authority but does not repeal or create federal spending.
Cosponsors include two Democrats and 122 Republicans in the House.