Massachusetts U.S. Senatorial Candidate Spending Analysis – Scott Brown
Total Net Spending Agenda: -$63.463 billion (savings)
Energy, Agriculture, and the Environment: Unknown
A. Develop Domestic Sources of Energy:
“One of the biggest things we can do [about climate change] is get an energy policy and we don’t have one. Wind, solar, nuclear, hydro, geothermal, coal, siting, permitting, conservation, a true all-the-above approach … .”
“In order to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, I support reasonable and appropriate development of alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, nuclear, geothermal and improved hydroelectric facilities.”
Note: NTUF is unable to estimate possible costs due to the lack of specificity in Senator Brown’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 supported 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.
- Nuclear: Unknown. According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2013, Appendix, page 433, the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy spent $768 million in FY 2012. The Office “funds a range of research and development activities as well as supports the [n]ation’s nuclear facilities.” Six bills related to the development of nuclear 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.
- Geothermal: Unknown. According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2013, Appendix, page 435, DOE’s current geothermal program received $38 million in FY 2012. Nine bills related to the development of geothermal energy have been introduced in the Senate during the 112th Congress.
- Coal: Unknown. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request, page 47, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided the Clean Coal Power Initiative with $800 million in FY 2009-2010. According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2013, Appendix, page 444, $1 million was spent in FY 2012 for the Clean Coal Technology Program; however, the budget proposes to end this program: “The Clean Coal Technology Program was established in the 1980s to perform commercial-scale demonstrations of advanced coal-based technologies. The budget proposes no new funding. All projects have concluded and only closeout activities remain.” Six bills related to the development of coal-powered energy have been introduced in the Senate during the 112th Congress.
- Siting and Permitting: Unknown. According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2013, Appendix, page 434, the DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability spent $7 million in FY 2012 for permitting, siting, and analysis.
- Energy Conservation: Unknown. There are a number of federal programs across various departments and agencies to support energy conservation and efficiency efforts. In addition, there have been over 100 bills introduced in the Senate during this Congress tagged on http://www.thomas.loc.gov with the Congressional Research Service’s standard subject term “energy efficiency and conservation.” Senator Brown is a cosponsor of four such bills, none of which are expected to have an impact on outlays.
Among the related bills, Senator Brown is a cosponsor of S. 2201 (112th Congress), the American Energy and Job Promotion Act, which would extend certain tax credits for production of renewable energy including wind, biomass, geothermal or solar energy, landfill gas, trash, qualified hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic. The bill will not affect outlays.
Government Reform: Unknown
A. Reform the Tax Code:
“We need broad tax reform that does away with special loopholes, simplifies the entire tax code, and lowers rates to get this economy growing again.”
Note: The impact on outlays of this proposal would depend upon the extent to which “refundable” tax credits (i.e., credits in excess of actual tax liability that can result in outlays) are repealed. The Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2013, Appendix (pages 1103-1110) estimates that for FY 2012 various credits that are refundable for personal income tax purposes will result in $82.646 billion of outlays. NTUF is unable to estimate a cost associated with this proposal due to a lack of sufficient detail.
Health Care: -$63.9 billion (savings)
A. Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
“… I am opposed to Obamacare, voted to repeal it and will continue to support its repeal in Congress. … I believe states should be allowed to implement health care reform that works best for them on an individual basis, like we have done here in Massachusetts, without raising taxes or cutting care to seniors.”
Cost: -$63.9 billion (-$319.5 billion over five years).
Source: Repealing “Obamacare”: A Look Beyond the Media’s Misguided Deficit Focus, National Taxpayers Union Foundation, Issue Brief 164, July 2012.
Note: NTUF’s estimate is based on Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports for H.R. 2 (112th Congress), the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, and H.R. 6079, the repeal of Obamacare Act. However, four other introduced bills would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and replace it with alternate reforms. Those bills are H.R. 364, the Common Sense Health Reforms Americans Actually Want Act; H.R. 371, the Health Care Choice Act of 2011; H.R. 397, the Reforms Americans Can Afford Act of 2011; and H.R. 408, the Spending Reduction Act of 2011.
Homeland Security and Law Enforcement: $405 million
A. Help Eliminate Human Trafficking:
“… I believe we must do everything we can to eliminate human or sex trafficking.”
Cost: $68 million ($342 million over five years).
Source: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 2830 (112th Congress), the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011. The bill would increase spending for international assistance programs that combat trafficking of persons. A CBO cost estimate is available. Senator Brown is a cosponsor of S. 1301, which is a related bill of H.R. 2830.
B. Pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA):
Scott Brown [b]roke [w]ith [h]is [p]arty [t]o [s]upport [t]he Violence Against Women Act[.] … It [reauthorizing VAWA] is something that is personal to me.”
Cost: $121 million ($607 million over five years).
Source: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 1925 (112th Congress), the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011. The bill would continue to fund and expand federal programs to provide assistance to victims of violence and help prevent crimes from occurring in the future. A CBO cost estimate is available. The figure above represents the net annual change in spending based on the data in CBO’s report. Senator Brown is a cosponsor of the bill.
C. Strengthen Immigration Policies:
“I believe we ought to strengthen our border enforcement and institute an employment verification system with penalties for companies that hire illegal immigrants.”
Cost: $216 million ($1.082 billion over five years) (partial estimate).
- Border Enforcement: Unknown. NTUF is unable to estimate a cost associated with this proposal due to a lack of sufficient detail. The potential cost would be related to the means employed to achieve the goal of “strengthen[ing] our border enforcement.” For example, a 2009 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) lists the target length of the border fence to be 661 miles. A January 2012 update from Customs and Border Protection states that the agency has overseen the construction of 651 miles of pedestrian and vehicle fencing. Vehicle fencing was completed in January 2010. The last mile of pedestrian fencing was to be completed by April of this year. It is unclear whether Senator Brown would expand the fence to reach the initial target of 661 miles or extend it further along the 1,993-mile border. Costs would vary depending upon the type of fencing to be used. According to the GAO report, fencing completed by October 2008 cost an average of $3.9 million per mile for pedestrian fencing and $1.0 million per mile for vehicle fencing. The report further notes, “However, once contracts were awarded, the average per mile costs had increased to $6.5 million per mile for pedestrian fencing and $1.8 million per mile for vehicle fencing. Tactical infrastructure program officials said the per mile costs increased over time due to various factors, such as property acquisition costs incurred for these miles that were not a factor for many of the previous miles and costs for labor and materials increased.”
GAO, Secure Border Initiative: Technology Deployment Delays Persist and the Impact of Border Fencing Has Not Been Assessed, September 2009.
United States Department of Homeland Security, “Southwest Border Fence Construction Progress,” January 2012.
In 2007, CBO reported that it cost $180,000 a year for border patrol agents, including salaries, benefits, training, equipment, and support costs.
- Employment Verification: $216 million ($1.082 billion over five years) There already is an employment verification system, known as E-Verify, administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. It was initially established as a pilot program in 1997 and has been gradually expanded. Although the program is not mandatory, over 350,000 employers were enrolled as of early 2011. The program was budgeted $102 million in FY 2012.
Related legislation was introduced in the form of S. 1196 (112th Congress), the Achieving Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act. This act would make E-Verify a permanent and mandatory verification system for all U.S. employers within one year of enactment. The requirement is phased in over a two-year period depending on the size of the employer. A cost estimate is currently unavailable. Senator Brown is not a cosponsor of the bill.
CBO did score a related bill in the 110th Congress: H.R. 4088, the Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act of 2007. Among other provisions, the bill would have made E-Verify permanent and mandatory. CBO estimated that, if enacted, extending E-Verify and making it mandatory would have cost $1.592 billion from FY 2013-2017.
http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=84979589cdb76210VgnVCM100000b92ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=84979589cdb76210VgnVCM100000b92ca60aRCRD (E-Verify history)
http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/mgmt/dhs-congressional-budget-justification-fy2013.pdf (E-Verify budget) http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/ftpdocs/91xx/doc9100/hr4088ltr.pdf
Note: NTUF assumes that Senator Brown intends to make the existing program mandatory for all employers. The cost reflects the difference between the CBO estimate for making E-Verify mandatory, and its current budget.
National Security and International Relations: Unknown
A. Make the Military Gender Neutral:
“It’s clear the circumstances of modern warfare have changed. Women serve on the front lines today, and they do so with incredible honor and courage. Their service should be formally recognized, and they should be able to develop a career path in the military and advance to higher ranks in the same manner as their male counterparts.”
Note: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 3182 (112th Congress), the Gender Equality in Combat Act. The bill would require a report on implementation of a termination of the ground combat exclusion policy for female servicemembers. A cost estimate is currently not available. Senator Brown is not a cosponsor of S. 3182.
Current policy states that, “The Secretary of the Military Department concerned may restrict positions where the costs of appropriate berthing and privacy arrangements are prohibitive. The military has held personal privacy, as well as dignity and respect in high regard. The Department retains judicious use of this element of policy until such time as facilities and weapon systems can be constructed to provide a reasonable measure of personal privacy. While the Department has the desire to retrofit barracks and weapons systems to facilitate the unrestricted assignment of women, as a practical matter, resource and readiness concerns require a more methodical approach. The Department intends to address this issue with transparency to Congress in the design phase of future construction and weapons systems retrofits and will open positions accordingly.”
According to the Department of Defense, 252,179 jobs, or roughly 21 percent of the 1.2 million total positions in the military, are not available to women. In FY 2011, an additional 14,325 positions were opened to women, leaving approximately 19.4 percent of all military jobs closed to women. Occupations related to direct combat operations currently not open to women include armor, infantry, and special forces.
B. Prevent Iran from Obtaining a Nuclear Weapon:
“I believe America must be clear and unmistakable in its position that Iran must not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon.”
“Scott Brown believes we are at a critical juncture for the U.S. Israel alliance, and that a unified and collective effort to counter the Iranian threat is possibly the most important issue of our time because the fate of Iran’s nuclear program and the fate of the Middle East are intertwined. For this reason, he continues to introduce, cosponsor and vote for legislation to impose crippling sanctions on the Iranian regime.”
Note: Related legislation, H.R. 1905 (112th Congress), the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 was signed into law on August 12, 2012. The legislation expanded sanctions against Iran. 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.) It is unclear if there would be additional budgetary costs related to ensuring that the government is “clear and unmistakable in its position that Iran must not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon.”
Veterans: $32 million
A. Employ Veterans:
“Helping [veterans] find good-paying jobs when they return home is a top priority of mine.”
Cost: $32 million ($160 million over five years).
Source: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 951 (112th Congress), the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011. The bill would extend and expand transition and employment benefits for active and retired members of the Armed Forces. A CBO estimate is available. Senator Brown is a cosponsor of the bill.
Note: Senator Brown is also a cosponsor of S. 3236 (112th Congress), the Servicemember Employment Protection Act of 2012. The bill would change how employers and military personnel arbitrate workplace disputes and requires employers to grant absences for military personnel who require medical or dental work associated with an injury suffered or aggravated in the line of duty. The bill would not likely affect federal spending.
Additionally, Senator Brown is a cosponsor of S. 3555 (112th Congress), the Careers for Veterans Act of 2012. The bill would require federal agencies to hire veterans and states to recognize veterans’ military experience when issuing licenses and credentials. The bill would not likely affect federal spending.
“We need a balanced budget amendment to make spending discipline as effective, enforceable, and permanent as the Constitution can make it. … .”
“Until Congress can show that it will manage taxpayers’ hard-earned money responsibly, I believe we’re better off stopping all tax increases and forcing Washington to do more with less. I am open to raising revenues by closing loopholes as part of comprehensive tax reform so long as it results in lower rates for everyone and doesn’t just grow government. I also believe that keeping taxes low is one of the best ways to create a stable and favorable businesses climate that will allow them to grow, expand and hire more workers.”
“I oppose a national cap and trade program because of the higher costs that families and businesses would incur.”