Welcome to The Taxpayer's Tab! This week we're highlighting a bill -- H.R. 3638, the Act for the 99% -- that's taken us a little time to read, analyze, and score. You can catch the usual Tab content -- the Least Expensive Bill of the Week, Most Friended, and the Wildcard bills -- on NTU's blog, Government Bytes, throughout the week.
The Bill: H.R. 3638, Act for the 99%
Annualized Cost: $81.7 billion ($408.6 billion over five years)
Number of Cosponsors: 19 Congressmen
The goal of the 264-page Act for the 99% is to help American workers keep their jobs or find new jobs if they are currently unemployed. The bill would increase domestic spending on a number of new jobs programs while making cuts in defense spending. Sponsored by Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), H.R. 3638 also increases tax rates for some taxpayers, extends tax credits for certain individuals, and eliminates tax incentives for certain corporations.
The provisions of the Act for the 99% are outlined below.
- Budget Cuts: Department of Defense spending would be reduced to and frozen at 2008 levels.
- European Deployments: Troop levels in Europe would be capped at 30,000, down from the 80,000 active duty personnel currently stationed there.
- Afghanistan Withdrawal: Spending would be limited to providing a safe and orderly withdrawal of all troops and Department of Defense personnel from Afghanistan.
- Weapons Program Cut: Procurement of the Marines’ V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft would be stopped immediately.
Direct Job Creation
- Public Works: The Public Land Corps and Civilian Conservation Corps would be charged with hiring new workers to improve and construct new public works on government lands.
- Public Safety: Grants would be awarded to local governments to hire, rehire, and retain firefighters and police officers.
- Local Jobs: A new Community Corps would work to improve local infrastructure and rehabilitate abandoned or foreclosed homes. Communities would also be given federal funds to address local employment problems, including educating individuals whose skill sets are linked to industries that are in decline and expanding apprenticeship programs. The Department of Labor would receive targeted funding to sponsor special on-the-job training for people living in high poverty and unemployment areas.
- National Infrastructure: Spending would be increased in the form of traditional transportation grants and a new infrastructure bank.
- Unemployment Compensation: The bill extends unemployment benefits for an additional year to Americans unable to find jobs.
- Teaching Jobs: A Teachers Corps would be established to ensure the jobs of currently serving instructors and education-related personnel. It would also hire new teachers as needed.
- School Maintenance: Federal funds would be allocated to repair, improve, and modernize school facilities.
- Student Jobs: Work-study programs would receive new funding for students.
- Social Security: The bill would raise the cap on wages and incomes subject to Social Security taxes from $110,000 to $250,000.
- Medicare: The program would be given new authority to negotiate for lower pharmaceutical drug prices.
- Medicaid: The 2009 "stimulus" bill changed the formula -- known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, or, FMAP -- that determines the federal share of a state's Medicaid expenditures to increase the portion paid by the federal government. H.R. 3638 would extend those changes for an additional year.
- Health Care Sector: More broadly, the bill would create a Health Care Corps to protect and increase the number of general health care and long-term care professionals. The bill would also institute a public health care option, which would allow taxpayer-subsidized health care plans to directly compete with private-sector insurers.
In order to pay for the bill’s provisions and to possibly reduce the deficit, H.R. 3638 would modify the Tax Code in the following ways (revenue measures are not counted under BillTally methodology):
- Impose a higher tax rate on Americans making more than $1 million.
- Create a new transaction tax on stock market security transactions.
- Require corporations to pay a surtax on dividends not distributed to shareholders.
- Impose stricter regulations on employers who hire independent contractors. The sponsors argue that many employers misclassify workers as "independent contractors" so that they can avoid payroll and unemployment insurance taxes.
- Reauthorize the Making Work Pay tax credit for low and middle class workers.
- Cancel certain tax credits awarded to oil companies.
- Reinstate the Superfund excise tax and corporate environmental income tax to pay for environmental cleanup projects.
- Apply a duty to goods imported from countries accused of manipulating the value of their currencies.
NTUF estimates the Act for the 99% would result in $408.6 billion in new spending over the next five years -- a net of $456.3 billion in proposed spending and $47.7 billion in savings. Sources for scoring the bill include the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Sustainable Defense Task Force, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Of the 19 cosponsors, all are Democratic members of the House and 16 are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.
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