Dedicated to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax and spending policies affect them.

Taxpayers Tab


Taxpayer's Tab Issue #28

November 28, 2012

 

 

 

Vol. 3 Issue 28 November 28, 2012

BillTally Update

While Congress was taking its scheduled pre-election recesses, the past several issues of the Taxpayer's Tab have highlighted special topics such as the savings from repealing the Affordable Care Act, the popularity of legislation to rename buildings and landmarks, tax reform, and of course, the in-depth spending agenda analyses that NTUF conducted on certain Senate and Presidential candidates. Now that Members are back for the "lame duck" session, this issue of the Tab will return to examining the legislation that your elected officials have introduced recently.

But first, a snapshot of where our BillTally research stands and what Members have proposed so far. As of today, NTUF has researched or obtained cost estimates for 1,505 bills introduced since the start of the 112th Congress. Over 80 percent of these bills would increase spending.

Snapshot: Bill Introduction Rates and Number of Scored Bills in the 112th Congress through November 28, 2012
 
Scored Bills
Bills to Increase Spending
Bills to Decrease Spending
Ratio of Increase Bills to Decrease Bills
House of Representatives
921
746
175
4.3
Senate
584
489
95
5.1
Source: NTUF BillTally System

For each of the 175 bills in the House that would reduce spending, Members drafted over four to boost spending. The ratio of spending bills to cut bills in the Senate is over five to one.

These ratios are down compared to previous Congresses (for example, during the course of the entire 111th Congress the ratio was over 12:1 in the House and over 17:1 in the Senate).

On the other hand, the ratios are up slightly since the BillTally report on the First Session, which identified 3.8 increases per cut bill in the House and 4.4 in the Senate. It should be remembered, though, that the new ratios are based on a snapshot of the data and that NTUF will continue to track spending and savings proposals through the rest of the year.

Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 6561/S. 1723, Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act of 2012

Annualized Cost: $13.996 billion ($69.98 billion over five years)

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was enacted in an attempt to reduce unemployment and to help support public-sector jobs threatened by the states' budgetary shortfalls. School districts and state education agencies were given $53.6 billion to not only modernize and repair buildings but also retain, rehire, and hire personnel. Another $4 billion was authorized for state and local law enforcement officer employment.

Two years later with the real unemployment rate still above eight percent and the states spending down their remaining ARRA funding, President Obama outlined a second "stimulus" plan in the form of the American Jobs Act (AJA). The bill includes measures that were first proposed in the first "stimulus" and would provide $35 billion for teacher and first responder stabilization. The bill is currently introduced in both chambers, by request, in the form of H.R. 12 and S. 1549. A CBO estimate is available for S. 1549.

Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) have introduced the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act. The bill would provide double the amount of grant funding to states to employ teachers and first responders (including firefighters and police officers) as compared to the American Jobs Act.

The text of the bill would authorize a total $60 billion in 2012 and 2013. Grants would be used to retain and hire or rehire new teachers and educational support staff and could not be used to establish or restore rainy day funds or pay down existing debt. In addition, $10 billion would be authorized to hire, rehire, and retain first responders. Based on CBO data, NTUF estimates this legislation would result in $69.98 billion in outlays over the next five years.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 6429, STEM Jobs Act of 2012

Annualized Cost: $232 million ($1.162 billion over five years)

Number of Cosponsors: 68 Congressmen

The Immigrant Act of 1990 authorized the U.S. Department of State to extend 55,000 Permanent Residency cards each year to residents of countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. Known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, or the "Visa Lottery," the law was designed to encourage diversity in the U.S. immigrant population. Policymakers have proposed a number of different measures to reform the immigration system -- in fact,  NTUF's candidate studies analyzed some of these proposals in the weeks leading up to the 2012 elections.

H.R. 6429, the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Jobs Act of 2012, would eliminate the current lottery program and authorize a new system that offers the same number of visas, but only for immigrants with advanced degrees in STEM fields. The bill is designed to keep immigration levels constant while attracting what its sponsor, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), calls the "best and brightest foreign graduates" to the U.S. Congressman Smith has also said that "The STEM Jobs Act makes our immigration system smarter by eliminating the fraud-ridden diversity visa program and reallocating those visas to foreign graduates of American universities who could help make us more competitive in the global economy."

According to CBO, H.R. 6429 would result in $1.2 billion in new spending over five years, including $984 million in subsidies for the health care exchanges required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Spending for Medicaid, child nutrition programs, and Supplemental Security Income would also increase while spending for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Pell Grants would slightly decrease. CBO's report only includes estimates of direct spending provisions resulting from the proposed legislation.

House cosponsors include one Democrat and 67 Republicans.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.

 

Support NTUF

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 -- like you --who wish to stay informed of their government's spending.

With donations from Tab subscribers and members, NTUF will be able to continue to inform taxpayers about entitlement reform, the federal budget, and proposed legislation.

Please consider making a tax-deductable contribution to NTUF.

   

The Wildcard

The Bill: S. 3615, National Seafood Marketing and Development Act of 2012

Annualized Cost: $50 million ($250 million over five years)

 

 

 

 

 

The National Seafood Marketing and Development Act of 2012 would seek to improve and expand markets for seafood grown, harvested, and processed by American fishermen and their companies. Sponsored by Senator Mark Begich (D-AK), S. 3615 would establish five 13-member regionally-focused market boards that would award marketing and awareness grants. Such grants would be used to boost demand for seafood, broaden the marketing of seafood, and improve education and research related to seafood.

The boards would be funded through the National Seafood Marketing and Development Fund, which would also be established in the Act. The Fund would receive $50 million each year from the Treasury to pay for the boards’ marketing grants and expenses. Each board would be given $8 million per year. The region that harvests the highest total pounds of seafood would be eligible to receive an additional $10 million. According to CNN, Alaska is currently the largest seafood production state, followed by Louisiana in 2010. For more information on how much seafood each American region produces each year, check out this report (PDF) from the Monterey Bay Aquarium (page 14).

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


 We Want You!

NTUF is looking for winter and spring associate policy analysts to participate in our internship program. Associates assist with BillTally research and other policy projects. Academic credit is possible. Email questions to ntuf@ntu.org. To apply visit our internship page. Join us and help keep a tab on Congress!


Missed an Issue?

Issue 27 - Nov 27
The 2013 Senate

Issue 26 - Nov 1
Candidate Studies Roundup

Issue 25 - Oct 25
Wisconsin Senate Campaign Proposal Studies

Issue 24 - Oct 4
Ohio Senate Campaign Proposal Studies

Issue 23 - Sept 13
Virginia Senate Campaign Proposal Studies


About NTUF

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is a research and educational organization dedicated solely to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax policies, spending programs, and regulations at all levels affect them now and in the future. Through NTUF's timely information, analysis, and commentary, we're empowering citizens to actively engage in the fiscal policy debate and hold public officials accountable every day.

NTUF is a 501(c)(3) research and education organization. Donations are deductible for personal income tax purposes. Please make a donation today to help further NTUF's mission of research and education!

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation or as a comment on any Member's fitness to serve.

 

 



108 N. Alfred St. Alexandria, VA 22314