Colorado Senate Candidate Agenda Analysis: Incumbent Senator Michael Bennet

Colorado U.S. Senatorial Candidate Spending Analysis

Michael Bennet

Net Spending per Year: $52.5 billion

Economy, Transportation and Infrastructure

Child Tax Credit: “Michael is also working to update and modernize the Child Tax Credit to adjust with inflation and to increase the value of the credit for families with young children.” (source)

Cost per year: $12.1 billion ($121 billion over 10 years)

Notes: The Child Tax Credit (CTC) is a “refundable” credit that can be claimed by filers regardless of their income tax liability. In FY 2016, the CTC resulted in outlays of $21.6 billion. Currently, the CTC is set at $1,000 per qualifying child. President Obama's FY 2016 budget included a related proposal to increase the CTC to $3,000 and estimated that this would increase outlays by $5.088 billion over five years, and $11.14 billion over ten. The Budget notes that this estimate also reflects the interaction effect with the proposals to expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), provide a second earner tax credit, and provide for automatic enrollment in individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Hillary Clinton has proposed expanding the CTC and it has been reported that “families with young children would see the most benefit.” NTUF assumes that Bennet would support Clinton’s proposed CTC expansion that would cost $121 billion over 10 years.

Employment Non-Discrimination: “Michael is working to pass a federal employment non-discrimination law that will protect LGBTQ workers nationwide.” (source)

Cost per year: $9.4 million ($47 million over five years)

Notes: The Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013, introduced in the 113th Congress as S. 815, would have prohibited many non-governmental agencies from discriminating based on sexual orientation. The CBO estimates it would increase spending by $9.4 million per year for enforcement related obligations.

Equal Pay: “Michael believes in equal pay for equal work … .” (source)

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

Notes: Bennet is a cosponsor of S. 862, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which 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, and also research, education, and outreach. NTUF assumes the outlays would occur over five years.

Minimum Wage: “Michael supports raising the minimum wage … .” (source)

Cost per year: Indeterminate

Notes: In the 113th Congress, Bennet was a cosponsor 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 the bill would not significantly impact federal outlays related to subsidized programs. But, 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. It is unclear whether this would impact outlays for unemployment benefits or other welfare programs. Bennet has not cosponsored any minimum wage bills in the 114th Congress.


Education, Science and Research

Nutrition Programs: “[Bennet] is working to expand nutrition programs so students who depend on them can access meals over the summer.” (source)

Cost per year: Indeterminate

Notes: Bennet is a cosponsor of S.1966, the Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act of 2015, which would expand options for summer lunch programs. In FY 2016, the Summer Food Service Program was funded at $556 million. A cost estimate to expand this program indeterminate.

Student Loan Refinancing: “[Bennet] thinks all Americans should be able to refinance their student loans … .” (source)

Cost per year: $19.333 billion ($58 billion over three years)

Notes: Bennet was a cosponsor of S. 2432 (113th Congress), the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act. CBO estimated that over three years the proposal would increase outlays by $58 billion.


Energy and the Environment

Renewable Energy Investment: “Michael supports a comprehensive energy approach for Colorado that will help move the nation toward energy independence, while protecting the environment, our natural resources and Colorado’s public lands. Michael believes we need to change how we fuel our economy — that’s why he’s fighting to invest more in renewable energy. That includes expanding hydropower development…” (source)

Cost per year: Indeterminate

Notes: Approximately $5.4 billion was spent by the federal government on energy research and development in FY 2015. It is unclear whether Bennet would seek “to invest more in renewable energy” hydropower via new spending or tax credits.


Health Care

Out of Pocket Costs: “Michael will continue to work to improve the Affordable Care Act by working to further reduce out of pocket costs for patients.” (source)

Cost per year: Indeterminate

Notes: Bennet has cosponsored three bills which address to out of pocket medical costs. S.2864, the RxCAP Act of 2016, which would cap Medicare drug costs. According to The Hill, the proposal “would likely increase government spending, as it shifts more costs onto Medicare instead of the consumer, though it is unclear exactly how much it would cost.” S.3371, the Medicare Affordability and Enrollment Act of 2016, would also cap Medicare drug costs while eliminating the waiting period for Medicare coverage and reducing the late enrollment penalty. A cost estimate is indeterminate. S.1566, the Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act of 2015, would adjust the prices for chemotherapy pills to make it easier to undergo chemotherapy at home. A cost estimate is indeterminate.

Public Option: “I believe … that we should have a public option … .” (October 11 Debate)

Cost per year: -$1 billion (-$5 billion over the first five years)

Notes: In 2013, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that adding a public option to the health insurance exchanges would reduce outlays by $5 billion over the first five years. A more recent estimate is currently unavailable. It is unclear if CBO would revise this estimate given the collapse of several state health care co-ops under the Affordable Care Act.


Homeland Security and Law Enforcement

Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM) Act: “Michael strongly supports the DREAM Act … .” (source)

Cost per year: $91 million ($912 million over ten years)

Notes: The CBO scored the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2010, which has been reintroduced multiple times since then, and determined that it would it increase outlays by $912 million over the first ten years of enactment.

Immigration Reform: “[Bennet has] long been a champion of comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship.” (source)

Cost per year: $22 billion ($110 billion over five years)

Notes: During the 113th Congress, Bennet was a sponsor of 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.

Wildfire Response: “Michael is continuing to work to improve the way we fight wildfires.” (source)

Cost per year: Indeterminate

Notes: Bennet is the author of S.3172, the Wildfire Mitigation Assistance Act, which would grant the President certain authorities regarding assistance for hazard mitigation. A cost estimate is indeterminate.