In Massachusetts Senate Race, $77 Billion Separates Brown‘s and Warren‘s Agendas


(Alexandria, VA) -- Today, the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) released its candidate study for Massachusetts, calculating the annual federal spending agenda for challenger Elizabeth Warren at $13.9 billion and Sen. Scott Brown’s agenda at a savings of $63.5 billion, despite the vagueness of his policy statements. NTUF’s report indicates a $77 billion difference between the effects the candidate’s fiscal policy platforms would have on the current federal budget.  

“Even after a long and highly publicized campaign, it is no easy task to calculate the bottom-line impact of the plans these two candidates have publicly supported,” said NTUF Director of Research Demian Brady. “Residents of the Commonwealth will be able to make good use of our analysis in evaluating the real-dollar impact of all the issues being discussed.”

Brown’s support for repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) represents a large enough savings that his overall agenda would reduce the federal budget. Warren’s agenda is more readily quantifiable, including new spending on infrastructure, homeland security, and education that make her estimate add to the budget in the end.

Among NTUF’s findings:

  • NTUF identified 17 calculable proposals from Elizabeth Warren that would impact the budget. Her transportation-related plans make up most of her new spending, costing $7.6 billion; not far behind is her education package at $6.9 billion. A combination of smaller spending and savings items make the final cost of her campaign plans $13.9 billion.
  • Warren’s largest individual item is a $7.8 billion highway, transit, rail and aviation infrastructure package from the President’s American Jobs Act.
  • Scott Brown’s agenda included 5 items whose costs could be estimated, but one, his support for PPACA repeal, would reduce the budget by $63.9 billion.
  • Repeal of the Affordable Care Act so dominates Brown’s fiscal savings agenda, that without it, Brown would favor increasing the federal budget by around $500 million. Most of Brown’s additional spending comes from added immigration enforcement via “E-Verify”, estimated at $216 million.

Warren’s list of proposals is significant in number, but consists primarily of lower cost items (relative to the size of the federal budget). They range from selling off excess federal properties (to save $620 million) to a $9 million plan to prevent bullying in schools. Brown’s vague budgetary platform includes potentially major fiscal plans like reforming the tax code, and pursuing alternative energy, but his statements on those do not connect directly enough with measurable legislation.

In preparing their analysis, Brady and his colleague, NTUF Research and Outreach Manager Dan Barrett, utilized campaign websites, transcripts of debates, and news sources to gather information on any proposals from the two leading Massachusetts Senate contenders that could impact the level of federal spending. They in turn verified cost estimates for these items against independent sources such as the Congressional Budget Office. They also cross-checked items through NTUF’s BillTally system, which since 1991 has computed agenda costs for each Member of Congress based on their sponsorship of bills.

NTUF’s analysis of the Massachusetts candidates’ agendas is one of several the organization is currently conducting. Contests are being selected on factors such as geographic diversity, political significance as rated by outside groups and experts, and the level of specificity in the candidates’ platforms. Studies have been conducted for the Ohio, Wisconsin, and Virginia U.S. Senate races so far as well.