National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert
NTU urges all Representatives to vote “YES” on H.R. 6147, the Department of the Interior, Environment, Financial Services, and Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019. This legislation would reduce spending in real terms below the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act and includes key reforms that should commend it to taxpayers.
First among these reforms is Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA)’s innovative “Fund for America's Kids and Grandkids,” which would save taxpayers $585 million dollars. This new account is a smart, new approach to incentivize Members of Congress to reduce spending and eliminate deficits. As the amended budget caps attest, Congress needs effective budget process reform and stricter rules in order to address our growing fiscal crisis. Offering legislators a carrot is an idea worth pursuing. NTU hopes future bills and amendments will add to this fund.
NTU also supports provisions that would repeal the draconian “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) Rule, restrict the ability of the Internal Revenue Service to target citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights, and bring the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection on budget, increasing accountability of this powerful agency. In addition, NTU is pleased to see the inclusion of the “Email Privacy Act.” This bipartisan policy would amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) to require law enforcement and other government entities to obtain a warrant before compelling the release of private, personal data, such as emails or customer records.
However, H.R. 6147 is not without its flaws and missed opportunities, such as billions in unauthorized spending and NTU urges Representatives to improve the underlying bill.
To that end, NTU urges all Members to support the following amendments that would reduce expenditures, eliminate waste, and uphold free market principles:
Amd. 33 (65) Palmer (R-AL): This amendment would eliminate funding for Diesel Emission Reduction Grants, saving taxpayers $100 million. The Republican Study Committee has recommended cutting this program in past budgets.
Amd. 38 (111) Biggs (R-AZ): This amendment would save taxpayers $3.5 million by reducing funding for the Forest Service land acquisition account. Congress should take steps to reduce, not expand, our federal land holdings.
Amd. 39 (169) Grothman (R-WI): This amendment would reduce funding for the National Endowment on the Arts and the Humanities by 15 percent, saving taxpayers $46.5 million.
Amd. 54 (168) & Amd. 86 (84) Blackburn (R-TN): These amendments would reduce the budget authority for the Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, Financial Services and General Government-related agencies by one percent. During a time of record debt and looming funding crises, it is important that legislators take every opportunity now to demonstrate both the willingness and ability to rein in spending, even to a modest degree.
Amd. 83 (40) Palmer (R-AL), Walker (R-NC), & Meadows (R-NC): This critical amendment would prohibit the District of Columbia from imposing an individual mandate for health insurance coverage. The individual mandate, or “shared responsibility payment,” would compel residents to purchase government-approved health insurance or face a tax penalty, regardless of need or financial capacity. This kind of coercive policy is a threat to both economic and individual liberty. **This amendment will be significantly weighted.**
Amd. 85 (69) Rothfus (R-PA): This amendment would prohibit the District of Columbia from seizing property as a means of enforcing their individual mandate.
Roll call votes on H.R. 6147 and the above amendments will be included in our annual Rating of Congress. A “YES” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.
If you have any questions, please contact Nan Swift, Director of Federal Affairs, at (703) 683-5700