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Taxpayers Tab


Taxpayer's Tab Issue #4

February 1, 2013

 

 

 

Vol. 4 Issue 4 January 31, 2013

Welcome to The Taxpayer's Tab -- the weekly newsletter for up-to-the-minute research from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation's BillTally Project. For more information, check out NTUF's BillTally Project and our partner, WashingtonWatch.com!


Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 41, a bill to temporarily increase the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for carrying out the National Flood Insurance Program

Annualized Cost: $1.9 billion ($9.3 billion over five years)

For much of January, the 113th Congress was focused on passing legislation to help assist Americans affected by Hurricane Sandy. The $50.1 billion Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 (examined in the January 10th edition of The Taxpayer's Tab) was signed into law on Tuesday. However, another bill, H.R. 41, had already been enacted earlier. The measure raised the borrowing limit of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

This program provides flood insurance to property owners in communities that make an agreement with the federal government to enforce floodplain management ordinances. The NFIP was created in 1968 with the intention that it would be self-sustaining via flood insurance premiums. However, the program frequently must borrow money from the Treasury to cover operating expenses and insurance claims after catastrophic events. The Government Accountability Office includes the NFIP on its "High Risk List" of federal programs because "it likely will not generate sufficient revenues to repay the billions of dollars borrowed from the Treasury Department to cover claims from the 2005 hurricanes or future catastrophic losses."

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the NFIP currently has 114,000 claims in the Northeast and officials feared the program would be out of funds in early January. According to Insurance Journal, the number of claims could increase to 139,000.

H.R. 41 increases the program's borrowing authority by nearly $10 billion. The bill was introduced by Representative Scott Garrett (R-NJ) and had 44 cosponsors. Congressman Garrett said, "I certainly believe that those who have bought flood insurance should expect to receive the coverage they paid for ... [and so] a temporary increase in NFIP's borrowing limit is required."

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), H.R. 41 would increase federal spending by $9.3 billion over the 2013-2017 period. An additional $440 million would also be spent in FY 2018. There are no offsets included in the proposal.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


The Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 396, Congressional Pay Adjustment Act

Annualized Savings: $19 million (first-year savings)

All Members of Congress receive a salary of at least $174,000 as well as other benefits such as health insurance, pensions, and up to $1.6 million for office expenses through their Member Representational Allowance. Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) introduced H.R. 396 to reduce the pay of Members of the House and Senate by 20 percent. The bill would also prohibit any salary raises unless the government has a balanced budget. Under current law, Members automatically receive annual cost-of-living adjustments unless Congress votes not to accept it.

Congresswoman Jenkins said that "Members of Congress should not be rewarded for continuing to rack up red ink. When companies report a loss, they do not give their employees a raise. It should be the same for Congress."

Below is a breakdown of the different pay scales available to elected federal legislators:

FY 2013 Congressional Salaries and
Estimate of a 20 Percent Reduction
(in millions of dollars)
Position
Salary
Number of Employees
Total
Savings from H.R. 396
Rank and File
$174,000
5411
$94,134,000
($18,826,800)
Leadership
$193,400
52
$967,000
($193,400)
Speaker of the House
$223,500
1
$223,500
($44,700)
Total
 
 
$95,324,500
($19,064,900)
Note:  1 Includes 6 non-voting Members
           2 Includes the President pro tempore of the Senate
Source: Congressional Research Service

Using data from the Congressional Research Service, NTUF determined that H.R. 396 would save taxpayers $19 million in FY 2013.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.

 

Other legislation that would reduce the salaries for Members of Congress includes:

  • H.R. 150, the Congressional Pay Reduction Act, that would reduce Congressional salaries by five percent at a $5 million annual savings. Sponsored by Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-KS).
  • H.R. 398, a bill to To reduce the rate of pay for Members of Congress by 10 percent and to eliminate automatic pay adjustments for Members, a $10 million annual savings. Sponsored by Congressman David Loebsack (D-IA).

Most Friended

The Bill: S. 177, a bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 entirely

Annualized Savings: $63.9 million ($319.5 billion over five years)

Number of Cosponsors: 34 Senators

Last week, the Senate began introducing legislation for consideration in the 113th Congress. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) sponsored a bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was examined in the January 10th edition of The Taxpayer's Tab.

If enacted, the bill would save taxpayers $319.5 billion in the first five years. NTUF's Director of Research Demian Brady determined the savings using CBO budget data.

All 33 Senate cosponsors of S. 177 are Republicans.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


The Bill: S. 84, the Paycheck Fairness Act

Annualized Cost: $3 million ($15 million over five years)

Number of Cosponsors: 34 Senators

Senators also rallied around S. 84, the Paycheck Fairness Act, sponsored by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). All 33 cosponsors caucus with the Democratic Party. The bill would enhance enforcement of equal pay requirements and authorize $15 million over five years for federal training regarding wage discrimination and a new grant program to teach negotiation skills training for girls and women. The bill’s House companion, H.R. 377, has 150 cosponsors.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


Support NTUF

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is able to produce timely reports and analysis for policymakers and taxpayers with the help and support of foundations, small businesses, and Americans -- like you -- who wish to stay informed of their government's spending.

With donations from Tab subscribers and members, NTUF will be able to continue to inform taxpayers about entitlement reform, the federal budget, and proposed legislation.

Please consider making a tax-deductable contribution to NTUF.

 

 

   

The Wildcard

The Bill: H.R. 82, the Infant Protection and Baby Switching Prevention Act of 2013

Annualized Cost: "No Cost" – Regulation

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) introduced H.R. 82 to reduce the likelihood of infant patients at hospitals from being abducted or switched. The bill would also increase the penalties for baby switching to a fine up to $500,000 or up to ten years in prison, or both.

Hospital administrators would be required to implement new security procedures or risk penalties of up to $50,000 for each instance of kidnapping or switching.

H.R. 82 would require the establishment of new regulations to combat infant abduction or switching but does not authorize the federal government to spend additional tax dollars to that purpose. The mandate could potentially levy costs on hospitals.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


 NTUF's Recent Blog Posts

The Foundation's staff have been busy on NTU's Government Bytes blog detailing how proposed spending could affect taxpayers.



 We Want You!

NTUF is looking for spring and summer associate policy analysts to participate in our internship program. Associates assist with BillTally research and other policy projects. Academic credit is possible. Email questions to ntuf@ntu.org. To apply visit our internship page. Join us and help keep a tab on Congress!


Missed an Issue?

Issue 3 - Jan 24
Medicaid Payment Fairness to the Territories Act

Issue 2 - Jan 17
Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act

Issue 1 - Jan 10
Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013

Issue 31 - Dec 21
NTUF Scores Thousands of Bills

Issue 30 - Dec 13
Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act


About NTUF

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is a research and educational organization dedicated solely to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax policies, spending programs, and regulations at all levels affect them now and in the future. Through NTUF's timely information, analysis, and commentary, we're empowering citizens to actively engage in the fiscal policy debate and hold public officials accountable every day.

NTUF is a 501(c)(3) research and education organization. Donations are deductible for personal income tax purposes. Please make a donation today to help further NTUF's mission of research and education!

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation or as a comment on any Member's fitness to serve.

 

 



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