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. 6229/S. 3595, Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act
Annualized Cost: $2.5 billion ($12.5 billion over five years)
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32) and Senator Sherrod Brown (OH) introduced the DIPLOMA Act to improve school performance and better address community problems. The bill aims to reduce social and economic barriers that limit student achievement, both inside and outside the classroom. The Act creates five-year renewable state grants that would be used to ensure the academic, physical, social, emotional, and civic development of disadvantaged youth while strengthening their families and communities.
The grants would set goals to improve education: within school districts, neighborhoods, and a broader policy strategy context. In schools, children are to be ready, engaged, and are physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. Neighborhoods are to be made safe to provide a positive environment for learning, with families supporting their child's education. Broader, overarching policies would guarantee students are ready for postsecondary education while they contribute to their communities.
H.R. 6229 would cost $2.5 billion each year for the next five years. In addition to the grant programs, the bill authorizes an evaluation process to ensure the funds are being spent effectively.
Least Expensive Bill of the Week
The Bill: H.R. 5780, Reduce and End our Deficits Using Commonsense Eliminations (REDUCE) in the Energy Program Act
Annualized Savings: -$1.169 billion (-$5.846 billion over five years)
The Spending Cuts and Deficit Reduction Working Group, whose bills were highlighted in Tab issues 12 and 20, drafted H.R. 5780, which was introduced by Congressman Gary Peters (MI-9). The bill cuts spending by terminating certain government energy initiatives and adjusting an existing energy reserve.
The bill would save $736 million over five years in the Abandoned Mine Land program by cutting off payments to states and tribes that have completed the reclamation of their abandoned coal mines. Two research and development projects within the Department of Energy (DOE) would also be terminated. Money used in relation to oil, gas, and natural gas would no longer be available to the DOE for projects such as the Ultra Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and other Petroleum Resources program. The total from these efforts result in a $351 million five-year savings.
The Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository would be defunded, resulting in a one-year savings of $119 million.
The bill would also reduce the size of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Six hundred fifty million barrels, or 10% of the total reserve, would be sold and efforts to increase the reserve's capacity would be halted indefinitely for a projected savings of $4.64 billion over five years.
Two savings provisions are not applicable under BillTally methodology. The elimination of tax preferences for oil and gas companies would affect revenues but not spending. Funds raised by the sale of certain assets by two government-operated regional power authorities would not count because it is unclear how the assets would be sold or transferred.
The Bill: H.R. 5893, Investing in American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010
Number of Cosponsors: 20 Congressmen
Congressman Sander Levin (MI-12) introduced H.R. 5893 to amend the Tax Code to clarify what incomes made abroad would be inapplicable to certain tax breaks and credits. The incomes of citizens and corporations would both qualify for these reclassifications. Under the BillTally's accounting rules, changes in revenues are not counted since BillTally tracks changes in spending.
Some programs authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would be extended, including the Build America Bonds, Recovery Zone Bonds, and Emergency Fund for Job Creation and Assistance programs. Program costs for operation, loans, and refundable credits total $14.757 billion over five years.
Cosponsors include 20 Congressmen, all of whom are Democrats. Twelve members represent coastal states and five are from the Midwest.
We Want You!
NTUF is looking for winter, spring, and summer 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 email@example.com. To apply visit our internship page. Join us and help keep a tab on Congress!