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Thursday, January 10, 2013

The 113th Congress - off and running #tcot #tlot


Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 152, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013

Annualized Cost: $10.0 billion ($50.1 billion over five years)Rogers

On the first day of the 113th Congress, Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY) sponsored the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act. The bill would authorize new spending to assist families and individuals affected by Hurricane Sandy, which hit the east coast in late October of last year. Some federal entities would be required to spend funds to provide direct benefits to displaced Americans. For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development would be authorized to spend up to $3.9 billion for long-term recovery and restoration of infrastructure and housing. Other agencies would be given tax dollars to recover or refurbish their own facilities in light of the hurricane. Some $14.6 million would be allocated for the Federal Aviation Administration for repair and other "consequences."

H.R. 152 would direct seven departments to spend money through 18 individual agencies or entities to fund recovery efforts along the east coast. According to the text, the bill would appropriate "out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated" $60.4 billion over the next ten years. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates this would result in outlays totaling $50.1 billion over the next five years. The remaining amounts would be spent over the succeeding five years.

The legislation includes no offsets for the new spending.

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


The Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 45, a bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010

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

One of the largest savings proposals sponsored in the last Congress was to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), or "Obamacare." This proposal has now been re-introduced in the new Congress in the form of H.R. 45. The health care overhaul bill was introduced in 2009 and signed into law in 2010 after much debate. Most recently, the ACA's individual mandate -- a requirement for all Americans to purchase insurance or face a fine -- was upheld by the Supreme Court.

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

Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 25, the Fair Tax Act of 2013

Annualized Savings: $17.5 billion ($87.6 billion over five years)*

Number of Cosponsors: 53 House MembersWoodall

Legislators on both sides of the aisle and taxpayers across the political spectrum see tax reform as a key issue in 2013. Politicians from Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to President Obama have pledged to address the complexity and fairness concerns regarding the current tax system.

How big a problem is America's progressive income tax regime? The Tax Code is now over 73,000 pages long, filled with special rules and exemptions for most industries and special interests. Americans are also now spending 6.38 billion hours to remain compliant under the complex tax system, according to a study by the National Taxpayers Union. The amount of time and resources spent on tax compliance is roughly equivalent to that spent running the top four Fortune 500 companies (Wall-Mart, McDonald's, Target, and Kroger grocery stores) combined each year.

As one possible solution to the ails of the current Tax Code, Congressman Rob Woodall (R-GA) sponsored the Fair Tax Act. Designed to be revenue neutral, the Act would entirely replace the income-based system with a consumption-based system. H.R. 25 would repeal all income-based federal taxes, including income, withholding, dividend, capital gains, and estate taxes, in favor of a 23 percent sales tax on all new goods and services. The revenues would be taken at the point of sale and businesses would send money onto a new collection agency, also established in the bill. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would be abolished.

The new tax would be included in items categorized as necessities by the Department of Treasury, such as bread and milk; however, the bill would authorize payments, known as a "prebate," to households to compensate them for the taxes they pay on these items.

Based on budget information, NTUF found that enacting the Fair Tax Act would result in a net $87.6 billion savings on the federal budget in the first five years. Approximately $77.2 billion would be saved by eliminating refundable tax credits, which are special tax credits that result in budgetary outlays because they are designed to target individuals with little or no income tax liability. An additional $12.1 billion would be saved by completely deauthorizing the IRS in 2016.

H.R. 25 would also result in some new government spending. A new federal agency would be established to administer the prebates. NTUF assumes the cost would be similar to the current Department of the Treasury Tax and Trade Bureau, which was recently funded at $102 million.

Since it is unclear how taxpayers would receive their "prebate," NTUF calculated the cost of mailing each household a check each month, totaling $241 million per year. This represents the maximum cost for distributing the prebates. Debit cards or a direct deposit system could be implemented as potential lower-cost alternatives, but estimates are currently unavailable.

All 53 cosponsors of H.R. 25 are members of the Republican Party.

* This estimate will be updated with more current figures after the FY 2014 Budget becomes available in the spring.

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


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