Foundation

Kansas U.S. Senatorial Candidate Spending Analysis – Pat Roberts

Total Net Spending Agenda: -$17.809 billion (savings)

 

Economy, Transportation, and Infrastructure: Unknown

A. Authorize Dedicated Funding for the Highway Trust Fund:

“… [W]e have to replenish the Highway Trust Fund. Right now, it’s general funding. … I think that we have to have dedicated funds, for the long term, that we can really rely on.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2SV_3G7VZk#t=10 (14:50)

Cost: Unknown.

Note: The Highway Trust Fund is financed by excise taxes on motor fuels, the sale of trucks and trailers, and truck tires, and from taxes on the use of certain kinds of vehicles. Spending from the Fund, currently around $50 billion, exceeds its revenues. Since 2008, Congress has transferred $54 billion from the general fund to the Highway Trust to cover the shortfall. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasts that from 2015 to 2024, the Fund will accumulate an additional shortfall totaling $167 billion.

http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45416

Congress is currently considering options to extend the authorizations for the Trust Fund and to address the gap between spending and resources. These include “repatriation of offshore corporate taxes, a rising price index on the gas tax, and oil exploration and production off shore and on federal lands.” http://swtimes.com/business/shuster-womack-eye-many-highway-trust-fund-options#sthash.RP47excs.dpuf

Due to the lack of specificity, NTUF is unable to determine what long-term solutions Senator Roberts supports to “replenish” the Trust Fund or the timeline by which those reforms would occur.

B. Cut Regulations:

“ … [W]e’ll get the regulations off people’s backs.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/11/us/politics/questions-for-senator-pat-roberts-of-kansas.html?_r=0

Cost: Unknown.

Note: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 15 (113th Congress), the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2013. The bill would require a review of all major regulations, which are defined as those with a $100 million or greater impact on the economy, and allow Congress to pass resolutions of disapproval on proposed regulations. According to a cost estimate by CBO for H.R. 367, the companion bill introduced in the House, “[a]bout 85 major rules have been issued per year, on average, over the past five years. Major rules vary greatly in their nature and scope. CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation cannot determine the budgetary effects of preventing all future major rules from going into effect, but we expect that enacting H.R. 367 would have effects on both direct spending and revenues. … Preventing some major rules from taking effect would result in costs to the federal government, while preventing others would result in savings. On net, CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 367 would have a significant effect on direct spending, but we cannot determine the magnitude or sign of those changes for any year or period of years.” Senator Roberts is a cosponsor of the bill.

http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/hr367.pdf

 

Education, Science, and Research: $4.662 billion

A. Increase Federal Support for Special Education:

“I think that the federal government should live up to what we promised for special education, more especially in our elementary schools and our high schools. I think that amount of money that we provide now is somewhere around 12, 13 percent. It was promised it was going to be 40 percent. That’s going to be an awful tough job when we have the budget situation where we have a debt of $18 trillion.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2SV_3G7VZk#t=10 (39:55)

Cost: $4.662 billion ($23.109 billion over five years).

Source: The 1975 law that established funding for special education programs included a cap limiting federal contributions to 40 percent of the average cost per student. Federal support has never reached that level. Many advocates for more federal special education spending have described the cap as a federal promise to cover 40 percent of states’ costs, arguing that the program is not “fully funded” unless spending reaches that level.

According to the New America Foundation, “full funding” for FY 2014 would have amounted to approximately $28.65 billion, or roughly $17.17 billion more than was actually appropriated.”

http://febp.newamerica.net/background-analysis/individuals-disabilities-education-act-funding-distribution

Senator Roberts co-sponsored legislation to “fully fund” special education in each of the 107th through 111th Congresses. Related legislation was introduced in the 113th Congress in the form of S. 108, the IDEA Full Funding Act, to amend Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to provide full federal funding. The text of the bill authorizes and makes specified appropriations to phase-in increased funding for special education.

 

Energy, Agriculture, and the Environment: Unknown

A. Improve the Farm Bill:

“[The Farm Bill] goes in the wrong direction. … Farmers will now be planting for the government instead of making the decisions themselves. Second, more regulations, and goodness knows we don’t need any of that. And lastly, food stamps. If there was ever a program that cries for reform, both for the taxpayer and those who truly need it, it is food stamps. None of that happened [in the Farm Bill]. On the basis of that, I voted no on the Farm Bill but we protected and improved crop insurance.”

http://www.c-span.org/video/?321452-1/kansas-senate-debate (27:50)

Cost: Unknown.

Note:

  • Farming Decisions: Unknown. It is unclear how Senator Roberts would change agricultural incentives and guidelines.
  • Regulations: Unknown. Senator Roberts does not support legislation directly addressing agricultural regulations. However, it is possible he is referring to S. 15 (113th Congress), the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2013 (see “Cut Regulations” item), which would review and address some of the major agricultural regulations proposed and in effect.
  • Food Stamp Reform: Unknown. Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 2015 (113th Congress), the Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act. The bill would place further work requirements and limits on welfare programs as well as impose a cap on total welfare spending. Senator Roberts is not a cosponsor of the bill. A cost estimate is not currently available.

When considering the Farm Bill, the House sponsored H.R. 3102 (113th Congress), the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013. The bill would narrow eligibility requirements and eliminate some waivers regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. CBO scored the bill as a $20.6 billion savings over five years.

http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/HR3102.pdf

B. Increase Renewable Energy Development:

“[Roberts] supports … the development of wind and renewable fuels to increase affordable domestic energy production.”

http://robertsforsenate.com/index.cfm/energy

Cost: Unknown.

Note: NTUF is unable to estimate possible costs due to the lack of specificity in Senator Roberts’ 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 subsidized through various tax credits, but there is also a specific federal spending program. According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2015, Appendix, page 396, the Department of Energy (DOE) spent an estimated $99 million in FY 2014 on wind energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities. Senator Roberts has supported four bills related to the development of wind energy during the 113th Congress.
  • http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2015/assets/doe.pdf
  • Bioenergy: According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2015, Appendix, page 396, DOE’s bioenergy program received $265 million in FY 2014. Senator Roberts has supported no bills related to the development of bioenergy during the 113th Congress.
  • http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2015/assets/doe.pdf
  • Geothermal: Unknown. According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2015, Appendix, page 396, DOE’s geothermal power program received $51 million in FY 2014. Senator Roberts has supported four bills related to the development of water energy during the 113th Congress.
  • http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2015/assets/doe.pdf
  • Hydroelectric: Unknown. According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2015, Appendix, page 396, DOE’s water power program received $66 million in FY 2014. Senator Roberts has supported no bills related to the development of water energy during the 113th Congress.
  • http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2015/assets/doe.pdf
  • Solar: Unknown. According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2015, Appendix, page 396, DOE’s solar program received $293 million in FY 2014. Senator Roberts has supported three bills related to the development of solar energy during the 113th Congress.
  • http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2015/assets/doe.pdf

C. Support Fossil Fuel Policies and Development:

“I say yes to [an] all-of-the-above [energy policy], yes to renewable energy, yes to the fossil fuels … .”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2SV_3G7VZk#t=10 (24:05)

Cost: Unknown.

Note: NTUF is unable to estimate possible costs due to the lack of specificity in Senator Roberts’ proposal. Such initiatives could receive federal support either through tax credits or outlays in the form of grants, loans, or loan guarantees.

According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2015, Appendix: Department of Energy, page 105, DOE spent $67 million in FY 2014 on the Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Research Fund. It is a public-private partnership charged with developing technologies to increase domestic oil and gas production and reduce dependence on foreign imports. Senator Roberts has supported 128 bills related to natural gas and 15 bills related to oil during the 113th Congress.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2015/assets/doe.pdf

http://energy.gov/fe/science-innovation/oil-gas/ultra-deepwater-and-unconventional-natural-gas-and-other-petroleum

 

Government Reform: -$19.277 billion (savings)

A. Replace the Current Tax System:

“[Roberts] supports the Fair Tax and other efforts to simplify the tax system to encourage economic growth and job creation.”

http://robertsforsenate.com/index.cfm/taxes

Cost: -$19.277 billion (-$96.385 billion over five years).

Source: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 25, the Fair Tax Act. The bill would call for the repeal of the 16th Amendment and repeal all current income-based taxes. A new national sales tax system would be instituted at a 23 percent rate at point of purchase for only new goods and services. Intended as a revenue-neutral measure, the bill would also eliminate the Internal Revenue Service (replaced by a smaller agency similar to the Department of the Treasury’s Tax and Trade Bureau, funded at $96 million annually). Prebates would be mailed monthly to each household in order to ensure tax-free purchases up to the federal poverty level.

Note: NTUF determined that the repeal of income-based taxes would include refundable tax credits, which are payments to individuals and families in excess of their tax liability and are counted by CBO as spending (totaling $86.8 billion). The elimination of these credits would result in a one-time savings. The elimination of the IRS would cut spending by $11.3 billion in year four. Spending increases include operating costs for the new agency, equaling $96 million annually, and prebate checks mailed to each household, which could total $240 million each year with postage, although alternate methods of distributing the prebates could reduce these estimated costs.

http://www.ntu.org/governmentbytes/detail/taxpayers-tab-issue-13-5#Fair_Tax

 

Health Care: -$63.915 billion (savings)

A. Expand Choice and Rural Health Care:

“Roberts believes health care decisions are best made between the doctor and the patient without the federal government getting in the way. He’s a well-known champion for rural health care concerns, working with hospitals and providers at every level of care.”

http://robertsforsenate.com/index.cfm/health-care-reform

Cost: -$15 million (first-year savings) (partial estimate).

Source:

  • Health Care Decisions: -$15 million (first-year savings). Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 351 (113th Congress), the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2013. The bill would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which was created in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to reduce per-beneficiary costs under the Medicare program. Unless overridden by Congressional action within a certain time period, the Board’s recommendations are made law. Senator Roberts is a cosponsor of the bill. NTUF determined the savings using the initial budget authorization for the administration of the Board and adjusting for inflation.
  • http://www.ntu.org/governmentbytes/detail/taxpayers-tab-issue-9-4
  • Rural Health Care: Unknown. Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 2359 (113th Congress), the Craig Thomas Rural Hospital and Provider Equity Act of 2014. The bill would extend and expand Medicare programs for rural and disproportionate share hospitals. Senator Roberts is a cosponsor of the bill. A cost estimate is not currently available.

B. Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

“I am fighting to repeal Obamacare … .”

http://www.robertsforsenate.com/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=8ebdfe23-3ca2-43df-8bdf-ca74db194b20

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.

http://www.ntu.org/governmentbytes/detail/repealing-obamacare-a-look-beyond-the-medias-misguided-deficit-focus

Note: NTUF’s estimate is based on 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. Several versions of bills to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were re-introduced in the 113th Congress, including H.R. 45 and S. 177; Senator Roberts is a cosponsor on the latter legislation.

 

Homeland Security and Law Enforcement: $8.6 billion

A. Expedite Screening and Processing of Immigrant Children:

“The problem was, when the President, a couple of years ago, said, … if you’re 16 and younger, you can stay. Central American countries sent a flood of refugees, a humanitarian disaster. The first thing that we have to do is secure the border, but that House bill [see note] has a border secure part that is really effective and it has a change to that law.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2SV_3G7VZk#t=10 (21:30)

Cost: Unknown.

Note: In 2012, President Obama announced that the Department of Homeland Security Secretary would begin to implement a policy called “deferred action” under which deportations of certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country when they were 16 years old or younger would be delayed by two years.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/15/remarks-president-immigration

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/08/15/deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-who-can-be-considered

Earlier in the quotation, Senator Roberts cited legislation passed by the House that, in his words, “says that we should treat every country like we treat Mexico and Canada. If there’s an illegal immigrant, sorry: humanitarian repatriation. It’s illegal. You go back.” Even though this proposal changes an Executive Branch policy rather than “law,” NTUF assumes he is referring to H.R. 5272, a bill to prohibit certain actions with respect to deferred action for aliens not lawfully present in the United States, and for other purposes. A cost estimate is currently not available.

Related Senate legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 2666 (113th Congress), the Protect Children and Families Through Rule of Law Act. The bill would reverse the effects of the Administration’s Executive memorandum and expedite the removal process for unaccompanied alien children who are not determined to be facing a “severe form of trafficking” or persecution in their home country. It would also expand the National Guard’s and Federal Emergency Management Agency’s authorities to enforce border security laws and allow the U.S. to negotiate repatriation agreements with countries besides Mexico and Canada. A cost estimate is currently not available. Senator Roberts is not a cosponsor of this legislation.

B. Permit States to Regulate Cannabis:

“[The legalization of marijuana] is not a federal issue, that’s a state issue. … [The decision] should be for the Kansas legislature and the Governor to decide, not federally.”

http://www.c-span.org/video/?321452-1/kansas-senate-debate (37:00)

Cost: Unknown.

Note: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 1523 (113th Congress), the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2013. The bill would exempt the federal government from regulating the production, distribution, and administration of marijuana, transferring those activities to the state level. The bill was scored in NTUF’s BillTally program as a low-cost measure that is not likely to significantly increase or decrease federal expenditures. It is possible that if H.R. 1523 is enacted, the federal government would spend less on marijuana interdiction activities; however, such an official cost estimate is not currently available. A companion bill has not been introduced in the Senate.

C. Reform Campaign Finance Laws:

“I really think that the biggest issue [concerning campaign finance laws] of all is transparency. I think if people know where the money is coming from, I think that’s the biggest reform we can make.”

http://www.c-span.org/video/?321452-1/kansas-senate-debate (42:20)

Cost: Unknown.

Note: Senator Roberts has not supported any campaign finance transparency legislation in the 113th or 112th Congresses. It is unclear what policies he would support in order to increase transparency. According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2015, Appendix: Other Independent Agencies, page 1312, the Federal Election Commission spent $66 million in FY 2014.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2015/assets/oia.pdf

In September, 2014, the Senate voted for cloture on S.J.Res. 19, a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections. The resolution would allow Congress and individual states to enact legislation that regulates the raising and spending of money in federal and state elections. Because resolutions are not legally binding, NTUF does not score such measures. Senator Roberts voted against cloture of the resolution.

http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/Sjres19.pdf

D. Secure the Border:

“I am for securing our border and am against amnesty.”

http://www.robertsforsenate.com/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=8ebdfe23-3ca2-43df-8bdf-ca74db194b20

Cost: $8.6 billion (first-year cost).

Source: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S.Amdt. 1251 to S. 744 (113th Congress), the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The amendment would make additional appropriations to help streamline and overhaul the immigration system ($8.3 billion) and increase border security and infrastructure ($300 million). Senator Roberts is a cosponsor of the amendment. The text of the amendment authorizes $8.6 billion in the first year. An additional $1 billion is authorized to be spent on ports of entry security but is offset by rescinding unobligated funds.

https://www.congress.gov/amendment/113th-congress/senate-amendment/1251

 

National Security and International Relations: $52.121 billion

A. Exempt the Military from Sequestration Budget Caps:

“First thing that we need to do [to support National Guard units] is exempt the military from the sequester.”

http://www.c-span.org/video/?321452-1/kansas-senate-debate (29:45)

Cost: $52.121 billion ($260.606 billion over five years).

Source: Sequestration Update Report: August 2014, CBO, August 2014.

http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/45630-Sequestration.pdf

Note: The Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) set spending caps for each year through FY 2021 and established Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction – known as the “Super Committee” – to draw up a plan to cut $1.5 trillion from the deficit over ten years. The failure of the Representatives and Senators on the Committee to agree on a package  triggered $1.2 trillion in automatic, across-the-board cuts – known as sequestration – over the next ten years: If annual spending set in the budget by Congress and the President exceeds the BCA’s caps, sequester cuts will kick in for most discretionary and some mandatory spending.

According to CBO data, repealing the military portion of sequestration for Fiscal Years 2015 through 2019 would increase expenditures by $261 billion. (The figure is based on annual budget authority and may not exactly mirror actual outlay reductions, which sometimes occur over multiple years.)

Congress has already taken action to reduce the impact of the caps and cuts set in the BCA. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 delayed the effective date of the first round of sequestration in 2013 and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 cancelled the sequestration for 2014 and 2015 and also increased the BCA’s caps in those years. Moreover, according to CBO, annual budgetary limits on defense are adjusted for authority designated as emergency spending and for “overseas contingency operations, such as military activities in Afghanistan.” In 2014, these designations adjusted the defense cap by nearly $86 billion.

http://www.ntu.org/governmentbytes/detail/taxpayers-tab-issue-41-2-2

http://www.senate.gov/CRSReports/crs-publish.cfm?pid=%270E%2C*QLK9%23P++%0A

 

Veterans: Unknown

A. Improve the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):

“We must do better for our veterans. While Congress holds hearings and investigates these specific cases, I have joined my colleagues, proposing legislation that I believe would improve the Department of Veterans Affairs by giving complete authority to the VA Secretary to fire or demote these VA leaders based on performance. We need the best employees managing the Veterans Affairs departments.

Likewise, I support an independent investigation of the VA to find out what went wrong and why; we have to find out who was responsible for the decisions that led to unresponsive care or unscrupulous practices – and we must hold them accountable. And yes, I believe that should include the possibility of criminal charges.”

http://www.robertsforsenate.com/index.cfm/2014/5/senator-roberts-tells-wichita-s-pachyderm-club-i-m-the-tough-tested-and-trusted-conservative-in-the-race

Cost: Unknown.

Note: The omnibus appropriations bill passed in January, 2014, included an authorization of $294 million to help the Department of Veterans Affairs reduce the claims backlog, upgrade information technology systems, and increase employee training.

http://www.vetsfirst.org/vas-fy-2014-funding-includes-help-for-claims-backlog/

In August, 2014, H.R. 3230, the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 was signed into law. The bill authorized staff increases at the Department of Veterans Affairs, expansion of new and existing medical facilities, private medical care for some veterans, and in-state tuition using Post-9/11 GI Bill funds for qualifying veterans. CBO estimated that H.R. 3230 would increase spending by a net $12.6 billion over five years. Senator Roberts voted in favor of the bill.

http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/hr3230Conference.pdf

Senator Roberts is also a cosponsor of S. 495 (113th Congress), the Careers for Veterans Act of 2013, which would require the federal government to hire no less than 10,000 qualified veterans over the next five years and sets a condition for states receiving Veterans Administration funds to offer license or credential programs for veterans. A cost estimate is not currently available.

 

Fiscal Notes:

“Roberts is a long-time champion for a [B]alanced [B]udget [A]mendment.”

http://robertsforsenate.com/index.cfm/debt

“[Roberts] supports construction of the Keystone Pipeline … .”

http://robertsforsenate.com/index.cfm/energy

“[Roberts] opposes embryonic stem cell research.”

http://robertsforsenate.com/index.cfm/family-values

Note: Stem cell research is a spending stream that originates from the Department of Health and Human Services’ annual appropriation. Unless otherwise specified, funds would likely be spent on other medical research projects if embryonic stem cell research is banned. In 2013, the National Institutes of Health spent $146 million on human embryonic stem cell research and $154 million on non-human research.

http://stemcells.nih.gov/research/funding/pages/Funding.aspx