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. 6456/H.R. 4318, 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act
Annualized Cost: $16 billion ($64 billion over four years)
In a nod to the New Deal-era program, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) sponsored H.R. 6456, which authorizes the President to reestablish the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The Corps would pay people to work on federally funded public works projects. Participants would also receive transportation and housing benefits. Unemployed veterans and citizens who have exhausted their unemployment benefits would receive employment preferences.
Similar to the Depression-era measure, CCC projects would target the prevention of forest fires, floods, and soil erosion. In addition, the Corps would establish or repair paths and trails in America's national parks and also combat tree diseases and invasive species.
The bill authorizes $16 billion in spending each year through Fiscal Year 2014. Additionally, the President may use other unobligated public works funds to supplement Corps activities.
Least Expensive Bill of the Week
The Bill: H.R. 6246, Rural Energy Communities Development Act of 2010
Annualized Cost: $1 million ($2 million two-year cost)
Congressman Earl Pomeroy (ND-At Large) introduced the Rural Energy Communities Development Act to assist towns with less than 20,000 residents and whose energy-producing sector has grown at least 20 percent over the last ten years. Assistance would be in the form of infrastructure loans to establish or rehabilitate roads, utilities, schools, law enforcement, and other improvements.
The bill would authorize a $75 million Rural Energy Communities Loan Program to small cities, towns, or incorporated areas. Based on similar federal energy-related loan programs, NTUF estimates the subsidy cost of the loans would be 3.21 percent, or $2 million over two years.
The Bill: S. 3772, Paycheck Fairness Act
Number of Cosponsors: 33 Senators
In a follow-up to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Senator Harry Reid (NV) introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act to address sexual-discrimination in the workplace.
The bill would put in place enhanced requirements for equal pay as well as institute a training program for girls and women to learn salary negotiation skills. An award for workplace equality would also be established to recognize businesses and associations proactively complying with equality rules. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Bureau of Labor Statistics would compile more detailed information on pay based on sex, race, and national origin of employees.
Cosponsors include 33 Senators, all of whom either caucus with or are members of the Democratic Party.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. To apply visit our internship page. Join us and help keep a tab on Congress!