NTU’s 13th Annual “No Brainers” List: 2023's Top 10 Bipartisan Bills for Taxpayers

Ahead of the end of the year, when it appears Congress may not be leaving taxpayers a lump of coal or worse – an omnibus spending package – in their stockings, National Taxpayers Union (NTU) is happy to present its 13th annual “No Brainers” list that can unite lawmakers across the political spectrum. 

Each bill would be a welcome gift for taxpayers and must meet three key criteria: 1) it has support from both Democrats and Republicans, 2) it has not appeared on a previous NTU “No Brainers” list, and 3) it is a sensible way to address a real problem that taxpayers face. Each bill below shows that there can be wide agreement on effective solutions to various issues when partisan politics are set aside in the spirit of the holiday season. 

Here are the ten “no-brainer” bills of our 13th annual list in no specific order.

No Budget No Pay Act

  • Bill Number(s): S. 89, S. 219/ H.R. 225, H.R. 5853

  • Lead Sponsors/Cosponsors: Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), Senator Shelley Capito (R-WV), Senator Katie Britt (R-AL), Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA), Rep. Andy Ogles (R-TN)

  • Why It’s a No-Brainer: This bill would prohibit Members of Congress from receiving their salaries if they fail to pass a concurrent budget resolution and the required appropriations bills by the start of each fiscal year. A similar, albeit more limited provision was enacted ahead of FY 2014. The salaries would be held in escrow until a budget and appropriations are enacted, or until the end of the Congress, whichever is earlier. This bill would incentivize Congress to fulfill its constitutional duty of passing a budget and funding the government on time, and avoid the harmful consequences of government shutdowns.

Red Tape Reduction Act

  • Bill Number(s): S. 1725

  • Lead Sponsors/Cosponsors: Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) 

  • Why It’s a No-Brainer: This bill would fix the 1099-K issue that – as explained further below – will cause taxpayers enormous headaches. While we have included 1099-K reform bills in previous lists, we are breaking with our “no repeats” tradition in this instance because this is the first legitimate bipartisan bill to come across the transom. Additionally, this is a crucial tax fix for potentially tens of millions of workers and taxpayers and we strongly believe Congress must reform 1099-K rules this year. While the Internal Revenue Service delayed the implementation of this rule until the beginning of 2024, this is a major issue that will await Americans filing for taxes next year. For further background, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) lowered the reporting threshold for Form 1099-K – often used by gig economy workers, such as drivers for Uber and Lyft, but also used in online sales such as those on eBay or Venmo – from $20,000 and 200 transactions to just $600 (no transaction limit). NTU has written that “a lower threshold will flood the [IRS] and taxpayers with unnecessary paperwork that will contribute to what is already a very dysfunctional tax season.” Democratic efforts have focused on raising the threshold from $600 to $5,000, while Republican efforts have focused on reverting to the $20,000 and 200-transaction threshold. The IRS recently announced that it would delay the implementation of the $600 threshold further, and will only enforce a still-lower $5,000 threshold for 2024 as a “transition” measure. NTU would prefer reverting to the law before ARPA, but we believe Congress should be able to reach a compromise between $5,000 and $20,000. We strongly urge them to do so.

Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act

  • Bill Number(s): S. 1688 and H.R. 3507

  • Lead Sponsors/Cosponsors: Senator Todd Young (R-IN), Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Rep. Mike Flood (R-NE), Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA)

  • Why It’s a No-Brainer: This legislation would help reduce barriers to new housing development by shining a light on burdensome regulations and zoning laws. These laws contribute to housing shortages and by encouraging localities to reduce these barriers, more affordable housing will become available to taxpayers.

Identifying and Eliminating Wasteful Programs Act

  • Bill Number(s): S. 666 / H.R. 1390
  • Lead Sponsors/Cosponsors: Senator Hassan (D-NH), Senator Braun (R-IN), Rep. Cuellar (D-TX), Rep. Mace (R-SC)
  • Why It’s a No-Brainer: This legislation would compel agencies to compile lists of unnecessary or duplicative programs that hurt taxpayers by wasting limited tax dollars. They also hurt the individuals, businesses, and organizations that federal programs are supposed to help. This good governance legislation would require federal agencies to work with Congress on eliminating or consolidating unnecessary or duplicative federal programs.

Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission Whistleblower Protection Act

  • Bill Number(s): S. 1112

  • Lead Sponsors/Cosponsors: Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator James Lankford (R-OK)

  • Why It’s a No-Brainer: This bill would fix a crucial loophole in current law that does not offer Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission civil service employees proper whistleblower protections. Under current law, courts have interpreted the statute to provide sovereign immunity to the government for civil service whistleblower cases. This legislation is a commonsense fix to reiterate Congressional intent and protect government whistleblowers’ day in court.

Cutting Paperwork for Taxpayers Act

  • Bill Number(s): H.R. 2978

  • Lead Sponsors/Cosponsors: Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) 

  • Why It’s a No-Brainer: Under current law, taxpayers who have to wait more than 45 days for their tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will start earning interest on the refund. If this interest is more than $10, the taxpayer will get a separate 1099-INT form and, unfortunately, have to pay taxes on that interest in the next filing season, which is a hassle and a cost for taxpayers — who did not cause the delay of their refund. This bill would fix this problem by making such interest non-taxable. 

  • “When taxpayers file on time but the IRS is significantly delayed in delivering a refund, taxpayers shouldn’t then be taxed on the interest the IRS rightly owes them for the late refund. NTU is glad to support the bipartisan Cutting Paperwork for Taxpayers Act, and we applaud Representatives Spanberger and Kim for this pro-taxpayer initiative. When taxpayers follow the rules, so should the IRS,” said National Taxpayers Union President Pete Sepp earlier this year.


  • Bill Number(s): S. 1171 / H.R 2678

  • Lead Sponsors/Cosponsors: Senator Brown (D-OH), Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX)

  • Why It’s a No-Brainer: NTU has long supported efforts to limit the ability of Members of Congress to retain or trade securities, commodities, or futures. Members should be trusted by their constituents to fully represent their interests in matters of policy – without any real or perceived temptation to do otherwise. Restricting asset ownership to ETFs, blind trusts, and mutual funds will restore trust in elected officials and in turn, the overall government.

Reuse Excess Property Act

  • Bill Number(s): S. 2685 

  • Lead Sponsors/Cosponsors: Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Senator Lankford (R-OK)

  • Why It’s a No-Brainer: This legislation would make agencies more transparent to the public about how they use excess personal property. Excess personal property is physical items like office supplies, furniture, cars, and other equipment that the federal government owns. The federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world, and this bill would make federal agencies look for surplus property from other agencies before they buy new products. Since the government could effectively acquire needed products for free, this would save significant money for taxpayers. The Reuse Excess Property Act would also make public the reports that agencies are required to send to the General Services Administration about their excess personal property. This would help agency officials and taxpayers see how well agencies are trying to reduce wasteful spending by repurposing already purchased property.

Medicare PBM Accountability Act

  • Bill Number(s): S. 2254 / H.R 5385

  • Lead Sponsors/Cosponsors: Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Rep. Greg Landsman (D-OH), Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN)

  • Why It’s a No-Brainer: As NTU has noted, Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs) play a unique role in healthcare, but sometimes their role can result in inflated costs for government payers and therefore taxpayers. Prescription drugs are cheaper for PBMs because they get rebates, discounts, and price concessions from drug makers. In theory, they are supposed to share these cost savings with seniors who have Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans. But current federal law does not require that PBMs tell Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) sponsors how much they have saved. This means they can hide the real costs of prescription drugs – and potentially pocket the cost savings as profits instead of passing them along. This legislation would make PBMs inform the PDP sponsors about cost savings they have gotten so that PDP sponsors can make sure that seniors get lower prices on prescription drugs as intended.


  • Bill Number(s): S. 1869

  • Lead Sponsors/Cosponsors: Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH)

  • Why It’s a No-Brainer: This legislation, the Site-based Invoicing and Transparency Enhancement Act (SITE Act), would eliminate the exception for payments to off campus providers which is artificially boosting Medicare spending. The problem is that higher rates are provided for services at hospital outpatient care facilities than for similar services provided by physicians. This legislation would provide a number of fixes to this issue, including by directing the Department of Health and Human Services to consider the off campus departments as part of the same entity, and ending the grandfathering exception to current site neutral payment policy. This legislation would save taxpayers billions in spending by preventing a market distortion that doesn’t benefit patients.