Massachusetts U.S. Senatorial Candidate Spending Analysis – Elizabeth Warren
Total Net Spending Agenda: $13.912 billion
Economy, Transportation, and Infrastructure: $7.617 billion
A. Create an Infrastructure Bank:
“To leverage public and private sector dollars to finance important infrastructure investments, a National Infrastructure Bank should be developed, capitalized at $10 billion.”
Cost: $302 million ($1.51 billion over five years).
Source: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 1549 (112th Congress), the American Jobs Act of 2011. Subtitle F of Title II would establish an American Infrastructure Financing Authority to provide federal loans and loan guarantees to certain transportation, water, and energy projects. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is available.
Note: Under the bill, $10 billion would be appropriated to the Financing Authority to cover subsidy and administrative costs related to loan operations and loan guarantees. The subsidy cost represents the amount of a loan that is not paid back. CBO reported that related government-backed loans and loan guarantees for infrastructure projects have a subsidy cost of approximately 10 to 15 percent of the loan amount. If the Authority received the full $10 billion subsidy amount, it could finance $60 billion to $100 billion in loans. CBO estimates the outlay cost of the infrastructure bank would be $1.51 billion over five years and $6.91 billion over ten years.
B. Make Wireless Broadband Available:
“Make [w]ireless [b]roadband [a]vailable[.] We can invest in a plan that will deploy high-speed wireless to 98% of Americans, building on the MassBroadband 123 initiative to help ensure affordable quality access to high speed Internet across the Commonwealth [of Massachusetts].
This plan will actually reduce the deficit by $21 billion over ten years by supporting auctions of wireless spectrum rights to help ensure the spectrum is used more efficiently.”
Cost: -$523 million (-$2.613 billion over five years).
Source: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 1549 (112th Congress), the American Jobs Act of 2011. Title II, Subtitle H of the bill would extend and expand the Federal Communications Commission’s authority to auction licenses to use the radio spectrum. The proceeds from the auction sales and from new user fees (which federal budget agencies classify as outlays) would go toward building broadband infrastructure. A CBO cost estimate is available. http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/s1549.pdf
Note: In detailing her wireless broadband proposal, Professor Warren directly links to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2013. On page 73, the Administration proposed to auction certain spectrum frequencies and use the proceeds to build an interoperable public safety broadband network and increase wireless access. The Administration’s updated spectrum and wireless proposal is included in S. 1549. The Administration estimated a ten-year savings of $21 billion. The CBO analysis estimates that it would save $15.794 billion over ten years.
The Massachusetts Broadband Institute’s MassBroadband 123 initiative is a state-wide effort to expand high-speed Internet access to 333,500 households and 44,000 businesses over one-third of the state. The project, due to be completed in 2013, received $45.4 million in federal “stimulus” grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It also received state matching funds.
C. Invest in Air and Surface Transportation:
“Investing in our highway, transit, rail and aviation infrastructure is critical. Elizabeth’s plan will lead to Massachusetts receiving at least $850 million … .
Total investment: $50 billion [White House Fact Sheet; MA Impact].”
Cost: $7.832 billion ($39.16 billion over five years).
Source: In support of this proposal, Professor Warren directly links to a White House web page with a fact sheet on President Obama’s job proposal, the American Jobs Act, which was introduced in the Senate as S. 1549 (112th Congress). Title II, Subtitle E of the bill would authorize $36 billion for highway and transit construction, and $14 billion for programs to build rail and aviation projects. A CBO cost estimate is available for the resulting outlays.
D. Reform Housing Policies:
“We need a housing policy that fires on all cylinders: principal write downs, refinancing options for homes that are underwater, cash for keys, short sales.”
- Principal Write Downs and Refinancing Mortgages: Unknown. Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 3522 (112th Congress), the Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act of 2012. The bill would prevent foreclosures of, and provide for the reduction of principal on, mortgages held by the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. A cost estimate is currently not available.
An October 16, 2012 CNN article details the housing reform policies initiated over the past few years, including programs related to principle reduction and refinancing. It is unclear what additional measures Professor Warren would support.
- Cash for Keys: Unknown. “Cash for keys” programs offer financial incentives, such as relocation assistance, to occupants of foreclosed property to encourage them to vacate the property by a certain time. The alternative would be to initiate an eviction process which could take up to several weeks.
Under the authority of certain sections of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, H.R. 1424 (110th Congress), the legislation that established the Troubled Assets Relief Program, the Treasury Department initiated the Making Home Affordable (MHA) Program that includes various lien and mortgage modification programs. It also includes a Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program. According to Homeownership.org, this initiative “is a Cash for Keys program that not only gives the homeowner money to do a Deed-in-Lieu of foreclosure, but it also provides protection and a reasonable time-frame to move on.” According to CBO, “[o]f the $50 billion initially announced for the Home Affordable Modification Program, which includes funding for state housing finance agencies and the Federal Housing Administration, $16 billion will eventually be disbursed … .”
It is unclear if Professor Warren would change federal involvement with these activities.
- Short Sales: Unknown. Short sales are real estate transactions that must be approved by the issuer of the property mortgage because the seller owes more on their mortgage than the proposed sale price. It is unclear how Professor Warren would change regulations and laws associated with short home sales. Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 2120 (112th Congress), the Prompt Notification of Short Sales Act. The bill would require a prompt response from the lender or servicer of a loan upon request of the homeowner for a short sale on whether to allow the sale. The Federal Housing Finance Agency also released new short sale notification guidelines on April 17, 2012. However, both S. 2102 and the new guidelines are regulations and would not likely directly affect federal spending.
E. Pass a New Glass-Steagall Act:
“A new Glass-Steagall would separate high-risk investment banks from more traditional banking. It would preserve Wall Street’s ability to take risks without threatening people’s retirement accounts and life savings. … By making banks smaller, a new Glass-Steagall could also help put an end to banks that are ‘too big to fail’ and reduce the risk of more taxpayer bailouts.”
Note: Title VI of the H.R. 4173, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, enacted in the 111th Congress, limits banking entities to owning no more in a hedge fund or private equity fund than 3 percent of the total ownership interest.
Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 1489 (112th Congress), the Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2011. The bill would “revive the separation between commercial banking and the securities business, in the manner provided in the Banking Act of 1933, the so-called ‘Glass-Steagall Act’ … .” A cost estimate is unavailable.
F. Pass the Employee Non-Discrimination Act:
“We must … pass a full-inclusive Employee Non-Discrimination Act … .”
Cost: $6 million ($28 million over five years).
Source: Related legislation was introduced in the form of H.R. 3685 (110th Congress), the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The bill would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. A CBO cost estimate is available. The bill has been reintroduced in the 112th Congress as S. 811. A more recent cost estimate is not available.
G. Reduce Regulatory Complexity and Compliance Costs for Small Businesses:
“This is precisely what Washington needs to do more often. We need to reduce complexity and cut compliance costs. We need to make changes that level the playing field between big corporations and small businesses.
I believe that clearer, simpler regulation – regulation that is designed to work for small businesses and consumers – can help make markets work better. The financial crisis showed us what happens when regulations aren’t enforced and giant Wall Street businesses have too little oversight. Deregulation certainly didn't help the small banks and credit unions that got swept up in that mess. But we also can’t keep layering on one regulation after another, adding more and more complexity, without assessing the effects on families and small businesses.
We need a new approach that includes a serious assessment of the compliance cost of current regulations and whether adequate protection for consumers can be accomplished using cheaper, simpler approaches, or, in specific cases, if the regulations are so heavily layered on top of each other, that some can be cut altogether.”
Note: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 474 (112th Congress), the Small Business Regulatory Freedom Act of 2011. The bill would require regulations impacting small businesses to be analyzed and changed to encourage growth and a periodic review and sunset of existing rules. A cost estimate is not currently available.
Other related legislation has also been introduced in the form of H.R. 10 (112th Congress), the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2011. According to CBO’s cost estimate for H.R. 10, “About 80 major rules have been issued per year, on average, over the past five years. Major rules vary greatly in their nature and scope. CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) cannot determine the budgetary effects of preventing all future major rules from going into effect, but we expect that enacting H.R. 10 would have effects on both direct spending and revenues.”
Education, Science, and Research: $6.909 billion
A. Create a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce:
“The way I see it, we need [a] better educated workforce. We need people who are educated in science, technology, engineering, in mathematics.”
“Twenty-first century innovations require an educated workforce, especially in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math). …
To help our businesses, and especially our manufacturers succeed, we must ensure … an educated, highly skilled workforce … .”
Note: It is unclear what steps Professor Warren would take pursuant to this proposal. Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 1675 (112th Congress), the Preparing Students for Success in the Global Economy Act of 2011. The bill would award teacher and school capacity-building grants for the explicit purpose of improving STEM-related instruction at each level of education. A cost estimate is currently not available.
According to the Congressional Research Service, “Analysts have identified between 105 and 252 STEM education programs or activities at 13 to 15 federal agencies. Annual federal appropriations for STEM education are typically in the range of $2.8 billion to $3.4 billion.”
B. Encourage Greater Research and Development:
“We need to invest in creating a Commonwealth and country that continue to lead the world in the research and innovations and that powers our economy across generations. …
Reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs was a good first step to keep up our research edge. But we must do more. We need to invest more in research, including the National Institutes of Health.”
- Research and Innovation: Unknown. It is unclear what additional steps Professor Warren would take pursuant to this proposal. Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 2369 (112th Congress), the America Innovates Act of 2012. The bill would establish an American Innovation Bank to award grants and to promote the commercialization of science and engineering discoveries. A cost estimate is currently not available. According to the Congressional Research Service, the federal government’s FY 2012 budget included $138.869 billion for federal research and development.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH): Unknown. Professor Warren has not specified the level of NIH funding she would support. The federal government’s FY 2012 budget included $31.627 billion for the National Institutes of Health. The Obama Administration proposed to increase that level by $871 million for FY 2013.
Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 3295 (112th Congress), the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $100 million budgetary increase.
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/R?cp112:FLD010:@1%28sr176%29 (page 13)
Note: S. 493 (112th Congress), the [Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs] Reauthorization Act of 2011, was included in H.R. 1540 (112th Congress), the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which was signed into law on December 31, 2011. According to CBO, S. 493 would cost $150 million over five years.
C. Close the Achievement Gap:
“But it is not enough to address the costs of college. Across this Commonwealth, we also have to do more to help our kids before they get to college. ... A great teacher can make a huge difference in a child's life, and we need to invest in getting great teachers in classrooms everywhere. …
We need to experiment with new ways to close the achievement gap. … We need to work collaboratively with teachers – not against them – to improve the performance of students, teachers, and schools. …
We have an obligation to … prepare our children for all of the challenges – and opportunities – that lie ahead, to support, encourage and reward our educators, and to provide every child with an education that is second to none.”
Cost: $900 million (first-year cost).
Source: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 959 (112th Congress), the School Turnaround and Rewards (STAR) Act of 2011. The bill would award grants to state and local educational agencies to improve academic achievement, monitor college enrollment rates associated with those improvements, and create or supplement teacher professional development programs, including mentoring partnerships between individual educators and entire schools. Additionally, the bill would award funds for innovative educational programs. The text of the bill would authorize $900 million for its first year after enactment, and “such sums as may be necessary” in subsequent years. When searching for the phrase “achievement gap” in http://thomas.loc.gov, this bill and its House companion, H.R. 3535, were the only query results.
D. Invest in Public Higher Education and Advanced Technical Training Schools:
“I believe we must invest in our future, and that means investing more in our public colleges and universities, it means supporting advanced technical training programs, and it means getting serious about strengthening grant programs and forgiving loans for those that serve their communities.”
- Public Colleges and Universities: Unknown. Without specifics, NTUF is unable to estimate possible costs associated with this proposal.
- Advanced Technical Training Schools: Unknown. It is unclear how Professor Warren would change federal spending associated with Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. A coalition of education associations has argued that, “Prior to FY 2011, Perkins funding had remained stagnant for a number of years. Today, the Perkins program is $140 million below FY 2010 levels, and this reduction occurs while demand for CTE continues to increase.” http://www.careertech.org/file_download/60521d8b-2c9e-453a-80cd-19432d82c12d
Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2013, Appendix, page 386. Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2013, Appendix, page 353.
- Strengthen Grant Programs: Unknown. Due to the lack of specificity in Professor Warren’s proposal, NTUF is unable to determine any budgetary effect of strengthening educational grant programs.
According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2013, Historical Tables, “Table 3.2: Outlays by Function and Subfunction: 1962-2017,” $100.993 billion was spent on elementary, secondary, vocational, and higher education in FY 2012.
A 2010 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Federal Education Funding: Overview of K-12 and Early Childhood Education Programs, identified 151 federal educational programs across 19 departments and independent agencies with annual spending totaling $55.6 billion.
- Forgiveness of Loans for Public Service: Unknown. Fifteen bills have been introduced in the House or Senate in the 112th Congress related to the forgiveness of student loans for public service employees, certain health care workers, veterinarians, or teachers. It is unclear what specific steps Professor Warren would take pursuant to this proposal.
E. Modernize Schools:
"We have an obligation to improve our schools … .”
“Fix America’s [s]chools. No child should be forced to attend a school that is crumbling that doesn’t have the basic science and computer technology to teach the skills that are necessary for a competitive global economy. We should modernize 35,000 public schools, from making emergency repairs to improving energy efficiency, removing asbestos, and upgrading technology. Facilities for community colleges should also be modernized so these schools can offer better job training. Under this plan, Massachusetts would receive $378 million for school modernization … [and] $68 million to support community colleges.”
“Elizabeth’s plan calls for modernizing 35,000 public schools, and community colleges across the nation. Under her plan, Massachusetts would receive $378 million for school modernization that could support 4,900 jobs. In addition, Massachusetts would receive an additional $68 million to support community colleges.
Total investment: $30 billion [White House Fact Sheet, MA Impact]”
Cost: $6 billion ($30 billion over five years).
Source: In support of this proposal, Professor Warren directly links to a White House web page with a fact sheet on President Obama’s job proposal, the American Jobs Act, which was introduced in the Senate as S. 1549 (112th Congress). Title II, Subtitle D would authorize $25 billion for elementary and secondary schools and $5 billion for community colleges to renovate and repair facilities. A CBO cost estimate is available.
F. Prevent Bullying:
“We must … work to create welcoming schools and prevent bullying.”
Cost: $9 million (first-year).
Note: Related legislation was introduced in the form of H.R. 6019 (112th Congress), the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Reauthorization and the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act of 2012. The bill would permit Juvenile Accountability Block Grants to also be used to combat bullying. The bill would reauthorize the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant and expand it to include funding of programs to establish and maintain “accountability-based programs that are designed to enhance school safety, which programs [sic] may include research to prevent bullying, the prevention of cyberbullying, and gang prevention programs, as well as intervention programs regarding bullying.” The program received $31 million in FY 2012. The bill would increase the funding level to $40 million.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/jus.pdf (page 806)
G. Support Early Childhood Education:
“We need to go back to seeing education as an investment in our future. We need to support early childhood education, to give kids a fair shot at success from their earliest days.”
“We need to support public education from Pre-K to technical training and universities.”
Note: It is unclear how or to what degree Professor Warren would support early childhood education. Related education legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 555, the Universal Prekindergarten Act. The bill would authorize $150 billion over five years to assist states in establishing a universal prekindergarten program to ensure that all children 3, 4, and 5 years old have access to a full-day, full-calendar-year prekindergarten education.
Energy, Agriculture, and the Environment: -$1.839 billion (savings)
A. Balance Fishing Business with Regulations:
“Federal regulators need to do a better job of working with fishermen and scientists to achieve everyone’s shared goals. That means having sustainable fishing stocks, but doing so in a way that doesn’t drive fishermen out of business.”
Note: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 2184 (112th Congress), the Fisheries Investment and Regulatory Relief Act of 2012. The bill would provide funds to support fisheries and streamline the regulatory process associated with industrial fishing. A cost estimate is currently not available. The National Marine Fisheries Service (in the Department of Commerce), which provides “for the management and conservation of the [n]ation’s living marine resources including fish stocks, marine mammals, and endangered species and their habitats,” was budgeted $886 million in FY 2012. In addition, the Department of the Interior’s Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Conservation program received $142 million.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/com.pdf (page 217) http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/int.pdf (page 703)
B. Invest in Clean Energy Technology:
“The choice before us is simple. Will we continue to subsidize the dirty fossil fuels of the past, or will we transition to 21st century clean, renewable energy?
If we invest now in a 21st century energy system, over time we can lower the costs of production for all of our businesses. Right now, renewable energy competes with old energies that get lots of special breaks from Washington. We know that we can generate power with alternative energy sources like wind, solar, and hydropower. We also know that we can make energy usage far more efficient. If we commit ourselves to clean energy and energy efficiency now, in the long run we can reduce price swings and lower our overall costs.”
Note: NTUF is unable to estimate possible costs due to the lack of specificity in Professor Warren’s proposal. Such initiatives could receive federal support either through tax credits or outlays in the form of grants, loans, or loan guarantees.
- Wind: Unknown. Wind-powered electricity generation has been largely subsidized through various tax credits, but there is also a spending program. According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2013, Appendix, page 435, the Department of Energy (DOE) spent an estimated $93 million in FY 2012 on wind energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities. Fourteen bills related to the development of wind energy have been introduced in the Senate during the 112th Congress. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/doe.pdf
- Solar: Unknown. According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2013, Appendix, page 435, DOE’s solar program received $289 million in FY 2012. Thirteen bills related to the development of solar energy have been introduced in the Senate during the 112th Congress.
- Hydroelectric: Unknown. According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2013, Appendix, page 435, DOE’s water power program received $59 million in FY 2012. Nine bills related to the development of hydroelectric energy have been introduced in the Senate during the 112th Congress.
C. Repeal Agricultural Subsidies:
“[I would] eliminate agriculture subsidy payments made directly to producers. This would save $23 billion over a decade.”
Cost: -$1.811 billion (-$9.055 billion over five years).
Source: Related legislation was introduced in the form of S. 3240 (112th Congress), the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act. According to the CBO, the bill would reduce outlays for agricultural subsidy programs by $23.143 billion over ten years. Over five years, outlays would be reduced by $9.055 billion.
D. Repeal the Oil and Gas Research and Development Program:
“The Partnership [for Sustainable Communities] is a joint effort … that is designed to help communities improve transportation choices and affordable housing, in a way that is environmentally sustainable. … The President has requested $100 million for the Partnership, which could be paid for by repealing the oil and gas [research and development] program, which has mandatory funding under the 2005 Energy Policy Act until 2014. Repealing this program would save $150 million over a decade.”
Cost: -$28 million (-$138 million over five years).
Source: Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future: The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction, September 2011, Office of Management and Budget, page 60.
Note: This proposal was offered by Professor Warren as a possible offset to President Obama’s budget request to reauthorize the Partnership for Sustainable Communities for FY 2013 at $100 million – the same level at which it was funded in FY 2012. Even though she used the phrase “could be paid for” which expresses the possibility of enactment rather than implicit advocacy for the suggested offset, NTUF assumes that she would work to repeal the oil and gas research and development program.
In offering this proposal, Professor Warren linked to the Administration’s FY 2012 budget which called for the repeal of this program to save $138 million over five years and $150 million over ten years. In the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2013, Cuts, Consolidations, and Savings, page 81, the Administration called again to repeal the program, but would reserve $45 million for related interagency research and development efforts. The net savings would be $100 million over four years.
Government Reform: $546 million
A. Dispose of Excess Federal Properties:
“[I would s]ell or otherwise get rid of unnecessary federal government properties. This is projected to save $4 billion over 10 years.”
Cost: -$620 million (-$3.1 billion over five years).
Source: Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future: The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction, September 2011, page 60.
Note: The Obama Administration has set forth its proposal for dealing with excess property in its FY 2012 budget and in draft legislation entitled the Civilian Property Realignment Act. However, CBO is skeptical that significant savings could be achieved in the short term (See “CBO Testified on Selling Federal Property,” http://www.cbo.gov/publication/42205). The agency believes that it could cost $420 million over five years to “identify and prepare property for sale or transfer.” CBO recommends that the federal government take steps to increase the proceeds from sales by providing clear incentives to agencies, exempting property from federal laws that impede sales, and be highly specific about which properties should be offered for sale. The OMB report notes that “CBO has not scored savings for similar proposals.” While CBO’s concerns are cautionary, OMB’s estimate reflects a reasonable assessment concerning the disposal of excess federal property in the near-term.
B. Expand Federal Employee Benefits to Domestic Partners:
“States define marriage among couples, and, once married, all those couples and their families should have the same protections, the same benefits, and the same tax treatments.”
Cost: $39 million ($196 million over five years).
Source: Related legislation was introduced in the form of S. 1102 (111th Congress), the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009. The bill would make same-sex domestic partners of certain federal employees eligible to receive benefits as married spouses of federal employees. A CBO cost estimate is available. The bill has been reintroduced in the 112th Congress in the form of S. 1910.
C. Expand Public Funding of Elections:
“Fixing the [campaign finance] system is going to take … some kind of public funding system for elections … .”
Cost: $1.125 billion (first-year cost of $850 million plus $1.1 billion over four years).
- House and Senate Elections: $850 million (first-year cost). Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 1404 and S. 750 (112th Congress), the Fair Elections Now Act. The House version of the bill provides for public funding of House elections, and the version introduced in the Senate would provide for public funding for Senate races. Fair Elections Now estimated the cost (“between $700 and $850 million per year”) and proposes that the “cost of Fair Elections for Senate races would be borne by a small fee on large government contractors and for House races would come from ten percent of revenues generated through the auction of unused broadcast spectrum.” The offsets are not included in the bills as introduced. The “fee” would likely be classified as a tax by federal budget agencies since it would not be comparable to a user fee, and Professor Warren is already proposing to invest spectrum receipts into a national wireless initiative (see above).
- Presidential Elections: $275 million ($1.1 billion over four years). Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 3312 (112th Congress), the Presidential Funding Act. The bill would increase the amount of public funding for presidential campaigns and would eliminate public funding for national party conventions. According to the Congressional Record, 111th Congress, U.S. Senate, July 30, 2010, page S6549, the cost of similar legislation, S. 3681 (111th Congress), would be $1.1 billion over four years without a budgetary offset. S. 3312 does not include any offsets.
D. Improve Efficiency Throughout the Government:
“… [W]e should improve efficiency throughout government by getting tough on fraudulent and abusive practices and by cutting wasteful spending.”
“[I would] cut waste and duplication with measures big and small, such as, streamlining the government’s use of information technology. By reducing duplicative spending, increasing productivity, and lowering the cost of operations, efforts to optimize data centers are expected to yield between $3 billion and $5 billion in savings.”
- Fraudulent, Wasteful, and Abusive Practices: Unknown. It is possible that efforts to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse across the federal government would result in significant savings. Based on the information available, NTUF is unable to estimate the level of resources that Professor Warren would dedicate to program integrity efforts to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse; nor is NTUF able to determine with a reasonable degree of precision what level of savings those investments might generate or over what period of time those savings would begin to appear.
Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 4053 (112th Congress), the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act. The bill would intensify efforts to identify, prevent, and recover payment error, waste, fraud, and abuse within federal spending. CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 4053 would have no significant cost over the next five years because it would codify several reforms already initiated by the Executive Branch, and the estimate does not mention possible savings.
- Cut Waste and Duplication: Unknown. Due to the lack of specificity beyond “streamlining the government’s use of information technology,” NTUF is unable to estimate possible spending reductions.
Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 945 (112th Congress), a bill to save at least $5 billion by consolidating some duplicative and overlapping government programs.
In March, 2011, GAO released a report entitled Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue. The report outlines GAO’s options for reducing spending on duplicate programs as well as other ways to reduce wasteful and fraudulent spending, and improve the collection of fees and revenues. Senator Coburn introduced S. 945 to save at least $5 billion by eliminating, consolidating, or streamlining government programs identified in the report. It is possible that efforts to reduce waste in the federal government would result in significant savings beyond the minimum level sought in the legislation. It is unclear if Professor Warren would support this bill.
- Streamline the Government’s Use of Information Technology: Unknown. The Obama Administration has already launched a comprehensive effort to identify saving in this area, including through data center consolidations. Earlier this year GAO expressed continued concern that many federal agencies’ inventories and plans for carrying out the data center directive were incomplete. Also, the Administration began the “PortfolioStat” program earlier this year which according to the Office of Management and Budget “has resulted in ambitious plans that will save the government $2.5 billion over the next three years through consolidating duplicative systems, buying in bulk, and ending or streamlining off-track projects.” It is unclear what additional steps Professor Warren would take pursuant to these matters.
E. Fix the Campaign Finance System’s Disclosure Rules:
“We need … serious campaign finance reform so that elected officials are truly representatives of the people.”
“Fixing the [campaign finance] system is going to take better disclosure rules … .”
Cost: $2 million ($10 million over five years).
Source: Related legislation was introduced in the form of H.R. 5175 (111th Congress), the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act. The bill would require additional campaign-spending information to be reported and for some information to be made publicly accessible. A CBO cost estimate is available. The bill has been reintroduced in the 112th Congress in the form of S. 3369.
F. Stop the Revolving Door Between Congress and Lobbying Firms:
“We need … to stop the revolving door between Congress and lobbying firms, beginning with a lifetime ban on members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, stronger restrictions to stop the revolving door from Congressional staffer to industry representative, and more serious restrictions on lobbyists working in Congress.”
Note: There may be some administrative and oversight costs related to this proposal. For example, related legislation introduced in the form of H.R. 2340 (112th Congress), the Transparency in Government Act of 2011, would increase access to certain government entities and require greater disclosure in federal contracting and lobbying. A cost estimate is currently not available.
G. Support the Government Accountability Office (GAO):
“We need … to support a strong Government Accountability Office … .”
Note: Due to the lack of specificity in Professor Warren’s proposal, NTUF is unable to determine any spending changes. This proposal is likely in response to recent debate regarding the GAO’s funding level. Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) office issued a report with details on the dispute. There is no indication that Professor Warren has any opinion on the report.
Health Care: Unknown
A. Allow for Prescription Drug Price Negotiation:
“We should get rid of the giveaways in Medicare that prevent negotiating lower drug prices.”
Note: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 2296 (112th Congress), the America Rx Act of 2011. The bill would establish a program to provide patients with prescription drugs at discounted prices. A cost estimate is currently not available.
A March 3, 2004 CBO letter to Senator Ron Wyden notes: “CBO has not estimated the effect on federal spending of authorizing the Secretary to negotiate prices for single-source drugs. The extent of any savings would depend significantly on the details of legislative language; a proposal that applied to a broader range of drugs could generate no savings or even increase federal costs. The effect on federal spending would also depend on how the Secretary would choose to exercise any new authority to negotiate prices.”
B. Fight Medicare and Medicaid Waste:
“[I would] reduce waste in health care spending. Don Berwick …. has recently estimated the cost of health care waste to Medicare and Medicaid at between $197 and $402 billion for 2011.”
Note: It is possible that efforts to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in the health care system would result in significant savings. Based on the information available, NTUF is unable to estimate the level of resources that Professor Warren would dedicate to program integrity efforts to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse; nor is NTUF able to determine with a reasonable degree of precision what level of savings those investments might generate or over what period of time those savings would begin to appear.
According to 2008 CBO report, “The view that such opportunities for savings [from funding program integrity efforts] might exist is supported by the Government Accountability Office, which has long had both Medicare and Medicaid on its high-risk list (meaning that the programs are vulnerable to inappropriate spending, fraud, and abuse). Yet boosting funding for program integrity under [Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control] probably offers diminishing returns, and increased investment in combating waste, fraud, and abuse is unlikely to significantly slow overall growth in spending for Medicare and Medicaid.”
C. Reduce Health Care Costs:
“We also must take action to reduce the cost of health care. About half of all families in bankruptcy are there in the aftermath of a serious medical problem, and millions more are under enormous financial pressure when a loved one is ill. Massachusetts has been a leader in developing innovative ways to improve quality while reducing costs, and we are a leader in medical research that can lead to breakthroughs that save both lives and costs. We must do more to lead the way to a more affordable and higher quality system.”
Note: Due to the lack of specificity in Professor Warren’s proposal, NTUF is unable to determine any spending changes.
Homeland Security and Law Enforcement: $675 million
A. Support Grants for Fire Departments:
“We need to make sure that [fire] departments have the tools they need to do their job. … These grant programs [under the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Acts] ensure that fire departments don’t lose out on critical resources as a result of budget crunches.”
Cost: $625 million ($3.126 billion over five years).
Source: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 550 (112th Congress), the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act of 2011. The bill would increase funding for Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants. A CBO cost estimate is available. The figure above represents the net annual change in spending based on the data in CBO’s report. In FY 2011, $405 million was provided for AFG and $405 million for SAFER grants.
Note: The provisions of S. 550 were included in S. 3216 (112th Congress), the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2013. The House has passed the companion version, H.R. 5855, but the Senate has yet to pass S. 3216.
B. Investigate Financial Fraud:
“… [W]e need to demand that the Justice Department, our state Attorneys General, and federal regulators do more to push back on the big banks and their lobbyists. We need to demand that they investigate those whose illegal actions have broken the economy and, when the evidence warrants it, that they bring public prosecutions. …
We should put real cops on the financial beat in the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, cops with the resources they need to patrol for fraud and sustain tough prosecutions.”
Note: Due to the lack of specificity in Professor Warren’s proposal, NTUF is unable to determine any possible new costs. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Financial Crimes Report to the Public details the significant efforts it has made in coordination with dozens of other federal agencies and private associations to investigate and prosecute financial crimes, including commodities fraud.
C. Improve Intellectual Property Enforcement:
“… [W]e need to get tough on intellectual property theft and knockoffs.”
Note: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 1830 (112th Congress), the Protect American Innovation Act of 2011. The bill would provide for new regulations and administrative powers to combat counterfeiting and piracy. A cost estimate is currently not available.
D. Pass the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act:
“I would strongly support the DREAM Act.”
Cost: $50 million ($248 million over five years).
Source: Related legislation was introduced in the form of S. 3992 (111th Congress), the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The bill would grant conditional nonimmigrant status and extend certain benefits to illegal aliens. A CBO estimate is available. The bill has been reintroduced in the 112th Congress in the form of S. 952.
E. Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform:
“We need common sense, comprehensive immigration reform. … It must uphold existing laws, protecting our borders and enforcing our laws against recruiting, hiring, and exploiting undocumented workers. … It needs to be fair to all taxpayers and to legal immigrants. There should be a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but one that would require them to pay taxes and go to the back of the line. … It needs to help us retain talent trained at our world-class institutions and support job creation.”
Note: Related legislation was introduced in the form of S. 2611 (109th Congress), the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006. The bill would have created a temporary worker program. CBO estimated that the bill would have increased mandatory spending for federal benefit programs such as Medicaid, Social Security, Medicare, and Food Stamps by $12.9 billion over five years. In addition, enforcement and border security provisions would have cost $25.2 billion over five years. The bill was introduced in the 112th Congress in the form of S. 1258. It is unclear to what degree Professor Warren’s plan would reflect the provisions of S. 2611.
National Security and International Relations: $4 million
A. Continue Military Support for Israel:
“To me, it is a moral imperative to support and defend Israel, and I unequivocally support the right of a Jewish, democratic state of Israel to exist, and to be safe and secure. … I am committed to ensuring its long-term security by maintaining its qualitative military edge.”
Note: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 2165 (112th Congress), the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012. The bill would extend defense loans and defense spending made to protect Israel and American interests. A cost estimate is currently not available.
B. End the War in Afghanistan:
“I believe it is time for our servicemembers to come home from Afghanistan. We need to get out as quickly as possible, consistent with the safety of our troops and with a transition to Afghan control.”
Note: Actual savings will depend on the timeline for removal of all U.S. forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. The President’s FY 2013 Budget requested $96.7 billion for what it labels “Overseas Contingency Operations,” i.e., spending related to the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Budget also called for $44.2 billion per year for Fiscal Years 2014 to 2022 (Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2013, Summary Tables, page 239.). In May, 2012, President Obama said, “Last year, we removed 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Another 23,000 will leave by the end of the summer. After that, reductions will continue at a steady pace, with more and more of our troops coming home. And as our coalition agreed, by the end of 2014 the Afghans will be fully responsible for the security of their country.” It is unclear how, specifically, Professor Warren would alter this timetable.
C. Impose Greater Sanctions on Iran:
“I support strong economic sanctions in conjunction with other countries that have placed serious political pressure on Iran, as well as vigorous diplomacy to try to resolve the situation through negotiations.”
Note: H.R. 1905 (112th Congress), the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, was passed into law in August, 2012. CBO estimated that the bill would increase administrative costs of the Department of State, Department of the Treasury, International Trade Administration, and Securities and Exchange Commission by $13 million over five years. (The CBO report also includes an estimate of outlays for the Near East Regional Democracy Fund, which was not included in the final version of the bill.) Related legislation has also been introduced in the form of S. 2101 (112th Congress), the Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act of 2012. The bill would expand upon the provision outlined in H.R. 1905 and CBO estimates that S. 2101 would cost an additional $29 million over five years. It is unclear whether Professor Warren would support the latter approach or some other proposal.
D. Make Targeted Defense Budget Cuts:
“As we wind down two wars, we can make cuts in our defense budget – smart, targeted cuts that preserve our national security.”
Note: It is unclear how this proposal would interact with recent policies. On August 2, 2011, the Budget Control Act of 2011 was signed into law. This Act imposed caps to slow (and in some cases reverse) discretionary spending growth over the next several Fiscal Years. Furthermore, given the failure of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to agree on a deficit reduction package, the BCA mandates broad-based funding cuts known as “sequestration” to certain discretionary (including specific defense-related spending reductions totaling approximately $54.7 billion annually) and mandatory programs.
It is unclear whether Professor Warren is calling for additional cuts, or for “smart, targeted cuts” smaller than the reductions that will occur under sequestration.
E. Pressure Currency Manipulating Countries:
“To grow our economy, we need to sell our products to the rest of the world. … [I]t means putting pressure on foreign currency manipulation that artificially makes our goods less competitive.”
Cost: $4 million ($20 million over five years).
Source: Related legislation was introduced in the form of S. 1607 (110th Congress), the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2001. The bill would grant the Department of the Treasury new powers to identify significantly undervalued currencies and penalize countries involved should they fail to eliminate the misalignment. A CBO cost estimate is available. The bill has been reintroduced in the form of S. 1619 in the 112th Congress.
A. Support a Strong GI Bill:
“As a U.S. Senator, I will continue to do all I can to support servicemembers, their families, and veterans. I will work hard to help ease the return to civilian life by supporting a strong GI Bill, ensuring that veterans have top-notch health care, and taking action to create jobs.”
Note: Due to a lack of specificity in Professor Warren’s statement, NTUF cannot determine what, if any, cost or savings effects would result from these proposals.
“Instead of complex regulations that take an army of lawyers to work through, we need straightforward rules that any small business can deal with.”
“We need to simplify the tax code, which is way too complicated – and rigged to create loopholes for big corporations with armies of lawyers to wiggle through.”
“We need to stop providing tax incentives that send jobs and manufacturing overseas … .”
“At a time when the economy is still hurting, women are essential to making sure working families in this Commonwealth and across the country can get by. Unfair pay – especially for single-parent households – makes it even harder for these families to stay afloat. Women deserve equal pay for equal work.”
“… [D]o not extend the Bush tax cuts on those earning more than $250,000 and return the estate tax rates to the 2009 level. This would save $968 billion over ten years. … [E]nd the subsidies given to some of the most profitable companies in the world – big oil and gas. This would save $41 billion over ten years. And end the special carried interest tax break for those working at hedge funds, which allows them to pay a far lower rate than most Americans. This would save $13 billion over ten years. … [P]ass the Buffett rule so that billionaires are not paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. This would increase revenue by $46.7 billion over ten years.”