Foundation

Clinton's and Sanders' Spending-Related Proposals in the February 4th Debate

by Demian Brady / /

Hillary Clinton

Net Change in Spending per Year: $123.759 Billion

Economy, Transportation, & Infrastructure:

Equal Pay: “I believe in ... equal pay for work.”

Cost per Year: $3 million ($15 million over five years)

Notes: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 1619/S. 862, the Paycheck Fairness Act. The bill would enhance regulations pertaining to equal pay. The text of the bill authorizes $15 million for compliance training, a grant program for negotiation skills training for girls and women. It also provides funding for research, education, and outreach. NTUF assumes the outlays would occur over five years.

Infrastructure & Manufacturing: “I have a plan to create new jobs, manufacturing, infrastructure … .”

Cost per Year: $55 billion ($275 billion over five years)

Notes: PARTIAL ESTIMATE. It is unclear what specific policies Clinton would present to Congress regarding manufacturing, but she has proposed $275 billion over five years on infrastructure spending.

Minimum Wage: “ … I believe in raising the minimum wage … .”

Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: Related legislation was introduced during the 113th Congress in the form of S. 2223, the Minimum Wage Fairness Act. The bill would have gradually increased the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and indexed it to inflation in years thereafter. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined that the bill would not significantly impact federal outlays. It is unclear if this proposal would be scored similarly. In a related 2014 report, CBO noted that a minimum wage increase to $10.10 would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers across the country.

Paid Family & Medical Leave National Benefit:

Cost per Year: $2.242 billion per year ($11.21 billion over five years)

Notes: Related legislation was introduced in the form of S. 786, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act). The bill would increase payroll taxes to finance a national benefit program. In 2014, NTUF examined OMB’s estimates of total social insurance program receipts for years 2015-2019 and increased those amounts by 0.2 percent to approximate the revenue increase that might result from a new payroll tax. Based on those calculations, the FAMILY Act could increase federal spending by $11.2 billion over five years. Clinton has stated that she would finance this new national program through a tax on high-income earners instead of increasing payroll taxes on employees, barring an official estimate, NTUF assumes the costs would be comparable to the proposed legislation.

Small Business: “I also want to make sure small businesses can start and grow again.”

Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: Clinton has laid a number of tax and regulatory proposals related to small business. An outlay estimate is indeterminate.

Wall Street Regulation: “ ... I have put forward a plan to do just that [regulate Wall Street]. And it’s been judged to be the toughest, most effective and comprehensive one.”

Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: It is unclear whether Clinton’s proposal to increase the government’s regulatory authority over the financial and commodity industries would increase costs to the government. In 2011, the Congressional Budget Office reported that Dodd-Frank would increase outlays by $21.5 billion over five years.

Education, Science, & Research:

Affordable College: “I also believe in affordable college … . What I want to do is make sure middle class kids ... get to be able to afford college.”

  Cost per Year: $35 billion ($350 billion over ten years)

Notes: Clinton’s plan, dubbed “The New College Compact”, includes a number of provisions designed to lower the cost of tuition at public colleges and universities. They include federal grants to states that reduce tuition; student loan refinancing provisions (similar to legislation introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren); the President’s $6 billion per year plan to make community colleges “free”; and permanently extending the refundable American Opportunity Tax Credit. Her campaign has stated that the plan would cost “in the range of” $350 billion over ten years, and would be offset by “limiting certain tax expenditures for high-income taxpayers” (though it does not mention any specifically). A five-year estimate is currently unavailable.

Early Childhood Education: “I want to move forward … on early childhood education … .”

  Cost per Year: $5.314 billion ($26.569 billion over five years)

Notes: Clinton has proposed to double spending for Early Head Start and Early Head Start–Child Care programs. The 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2029) provided $635 million for Early Head Start for FY 2016. NTUF assumes that Clinton would double this funding over five years.

Government Reform:

Streamline Federal Programs: “I want to streamline programs that are duplicative and redundant. I want to have a top-to-bottom review about what works and what doesn’t work, and be absolutely clear we’re getting rid of what doesn’t work.”                                                                                          

Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: There are insufficient details to determine an estimate of possible savings. An organization called Results for America that promotes “evidence-based, results-driven practices, policies, and programs” has an overview of the Bush and Obama administrations’ efforts regarding program assessments (see the Appendix).

Health Care:

Affordable Care Act: “I want us to keep working on the Affordable Care Act, to get not only to 100 percent coverage, but bring down the costs of prescription drugs and out-of-pocket costs.”

Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: Clinton has specified a number of measures related to expanding health care. Her proposals related to prescription drugs include removing a tax write-off for expenses related to direct-to-consumer advertising, increasing regulation of advertisements, “fully funding” the Office of Generic Drugs, decreasing the exclusivity period for generic biological drugs, and “build[ing] on provisions in the Affordable Care Act that invest in private research.” While the cost of these and additional elements of her plan are indeterminate, she has also proposed to “require pharmaceutical companies to provide higher rebates in the Medicare low-income subsidy program, ensuring that rebates are at Medicaid levels.”

The “rebates” are an increase in forced payments from pharmaceutical manufacturers to participate in the Medicare Part D program. President Obama’s FY 2016 budget included a similar proposal to “align Medicare drug payment policies with Medicaid policies” and are classified as offsetting receipts totaling $45.5 billion over five years. The Congressional Budget Office notes that the rebates might cause manufacturers to reduce investment in research and development of new drugs. CBO also expects new drugs would be released at higher prices to offset the increased “rebates”.

Clinton also proposes a $5,000 tax credit for out-of-pocket health care expenses. The tax credit would be refundable so that it could be claimed whether or not a filer has any income tax liability. This credit would be in addition to the refundable premium tax credit created in the Affordable Care Act, which, according to the Internal Revenue Service, can be claimed as advanced payments to help cover out-of-pocket costs. While her campaign has not said how much this proposal could cost, Clinton says, “This tax cut will be fully paid for by demanding rebates from drug manufacturers and asking the most fortunate to pay their fair share.” NTUF assumes the cost would be at least much as the “rebate” payments listed above.

Homeland Security & Law Enforcement:

Immigration Reform: “Immigration reform … we put it out there, and we begin to work on an ambitious, big, bold agenda … .”

  Cost per Year: $20.2 billion ($101 billion over five years)

Notes: On her campaign website, Clinton proposes to “fight for comprehensive immigration reform legislation with a path to full and equal citizenship.” During the 113th Congress, the Senate passed S. 744, which would have overhauled the federal immigration system by providing a path to legal status for many current illegal aliens and authorizing additional funding for border security measures. A Congressional Budget Office estimate of the bill as passed by the Senate indicated it would increase mandatory spending by $89 billion over the first five years and discretionary spending by $12 billion in that same time. Senator Sanders voted in favor of the legislation.

National Defense & Foreign Affairs:

The Islamic State & the Middle East: “So as I look at what the president is doing [in the Middle East and against the Islamic State], it adds up to me. We just have to keep -- try to get more support for those people on the ground in Syria and Iraq who have to actually physically take the territory back. … I am against American combat troops being in Syria and Iraq. I support Special Forces. I support trainers. I support the air campaign. And I think we’re making some progress. I want to continue to intensify that, and that’s exactly what the president is doing.”

Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: A cost estimate is indeterminate. In 2014, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments estimated the cost of different campaign options against the Islamic State: higher-intensity air operations could cost up to $6.8 billion per year.

Veterans:

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): “ … [L]et’s fix the VA … .”

Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: Clinton has called to “fundamentally reform veterans’ health care to ensure access to timely and high quality care”, “modernize and refocus” veterans’ benefits, and “overhaul VA governance.” A cost estimate is indeterminate.

 

Bernie Sanders

Net Change in Spending per Year: $1.675 Trillion

Economy, Transportation, & Infrastructure:

Infrastructure: “Now all of the ideas that I’m talking about, they are not radical ideas. … Rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure … .”

Cost per Year: $200 billion ($1 trillion over five years)

Notes: Sanders calls to spend this money over five years. This updates an estimate used in previous debates based on legislation Sanders has introduced, S. 268, the Rebuild America Act of 2015, that would increase infrastructure spending by $1 trillion over eight years.

Wall Street Regulation: “ …  [W]e do need a 21st century Glass-Steagall legislation.”

Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: It is unclear whether Bernie Sanders’ proposal to increase the government’s regulatory authority over the financial and commodity industries would increase costs to the government.

Education, Science, & Research:

Tuition-Free College: “I do believe that public colleges and universities should be tuition free.”

  Cost per Year: $75 billion ($375 billion over five years)

Notes:Sanders' complete education plan, available on his campaign website, would cost $75 billion per year.

Health Care:

Single-Payer Health Care: “ … I do not accept the belief that the United States of America can’t [provide healthcare to all people as a right].”

Cost per Year: $1.38 trillion ($6.9 trillion over five years)

Notes: Sanders states that his Medicare for All plan would cost $1.38 trillion per year.

Homeland Security & Law Enforcement:

Immigration Reform: “I am absolutely supportive of comprehensive immigration reform and a path towards citizenship for 11 million people … .”

Cost per Year: $20.2 billion ($101 billion over five years)

Notes: During the 113th Congress, the Senate passed S. 744, which would have overhauled the federal immigration system by providing a path to legal status for many current illegal aliens and authorizing additional funding for border security measures. A CBO estimate of the bill as passed by the Senate indicated it would increase mandatory spending by $89 billion over the first five years, and discretionary spending by $12 billion in that same time. Senator Sanders voted in favor of the legislation.

National Defense & Foreign Affairs:

Islamic State: “And it must be Muslim troops on the ground that will destroy ISIS, with the support of a coalition of major powers -- U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Russia. So our job is to provide them the military equipment that they need; the air support they need; special forces when appropriate. … The combat on the ground must be done by Muslim troops with our support. We must not get involved in perpetual warfare in the Middle East.”

Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: A cost estimate is indeterminate.

Veterans:

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): “We’ve got to strengthen the V.A.”

Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes:Sanders has called to “fully fund and expand the VA” and also to expand certain benefits. A cost estimate is indeterminate.


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