$122 Billion Budget Impact Separates Gardner, Udall, Platforms in Heated Colorado Senate Race

(Alexandria, VA) -- A new candidate agenda analysis from National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) reveals the hard numbers behind the political rhetoric in Colorado’s hotly contested Senate race between Senator Mark Udall and Representative Cory Gardner – finding a $121.9 billion annual difference between their agendas.

According to NTUF’s research, Cory Gardner has outlined policies that would combine to cut $83.29 billion from the federal budget per year; whereas his opponent, incumbent Senator Mark Udall, has described and supported plans that would result in a spending increase of $38.59 billion annually.

All proposals that could have fiscal policy implications are considered in the analysis, though only those with an impact on federal outlays that can be accurately quantified are included in NTUF’s bottom-line agenda estimates. There were 15 statements or proposals whose costs could not be tallied out of 31 total that were examined.

The highlights of Colorado’s Senate candidates’ campaign proposals (annual figures):

  • Representative Gardner would accomplish the vast majority of his proposed savings through reforms to healthcare – a total spending reduction of $83.7 billion. This includes repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) and increasing means testing for Medicare.
    • Gardner would also add some spending on health care by allowing purchase of health insurance across state lines ($38 million) and restoring Medicare Advantage funding ($11.8 billion).
    • Rep. Gardner also found savings through support of legislation to reduce duplicative spending (-$14 million), though his principal proposal – requiring reports and hearings – is unquantifiable.
    • Gardner would increase expenditures on border security and a guest worker program ($342 million), as well as spending on veterans – including health care ($125 million).
  • Senator Udall offered most of his budget increases through two measures: Student loan reform ($16.9 billion) and the Senate’s immigration reform bill ($20.2 billion).
    • Some of Senator Udall’s other budget increasing proposals include $1.47 billion the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2013, $13 million for watershed protection, and $3 million for the Paycheck Fairness Act.
    • Udall has offered no proposals that could be calculated to reduce federal outlays. He does support a broad version of the Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Our analysis shows a significant divide between Senator Udall and Representative Gardner on how best to steer the federal budget,” said NTUF Research and Outreach Manager Dan Barrett. “Despite a growing trend of candidates across the country being more vague than ever about their policy goals, in the Centennial State we found enough substance to calculate agendas that help citizens understand the dollar-for-dollar impact of issues discussed on the campaign trail.”