Florida U.S. Representative Spending Analysis -- Curt Clawson
Education, Science, and Research: Unknown
A. Block Grant Education Funds to States:
Note: It is unclear if Clawson is advocating for a freeze or reduction in federal education appropriations in block-granting funds. However, there is a potential for spending reductions in the form of lower administrative expenses if education spending were streamlined.
A block grant proposal was introduced in the form of H.R. 3941 (97th Congress), the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981. Among other measures, the bill would have awarded block grants to state education agencies based on a cost-per-pupil formula, weighted more heavily for high-cost areas and low-income, non-English-speaking, and disabled student families. It was ultimately not passed but was a significant proposal in transferring control of education policy from the federal to state and local governments.
Energy, Agriculture, and the Environment: Unknown
A. Continue Federal Flood Insurance Rates:
“... I just think that the federal government ought to keep their commitments on [providing flood insurance to coastal residents] and not change the deal.”
Note: In March, Congress passed H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. The bill delays the planned rate increase for flood insurance provided by the National Flood Insurance Program until 2018. The extension of current rates is intended to give time for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which oversees the program, to rework the maps used to assess premium and subsidy rates. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that its companion bill, S. 1846, would increase spending by $900 million over five years. It is unclear if Clawson would support further delays or follow the path set out in H.R. 3370.
Government Reform: -$331.9 billion (savings)
A. Create a Budget Cutting Committee:
Note: The establishment of a Budget Cutting Committee would require annual appropriations for operations and staff. Potential savings in the form of recommendations and legislation would be subject to other Congressional Committees and amendments by individual Members, all of which might or might not be passed by floor action or signed into law by the President. A cost estimate of the expenses is not available and any savings would be conditional upon other Congressional action.
B. Freeze Federal Employment:
“I think that if you did a [federal] hiring freeze … I think that [we could balance the budget].
Note: Legislation to exclusively institute a federal hiring freeze has not been introduced.
However, there have been proposals to establish a system of attrition to gradually reduce the number of federal employees. For example, legislation was introduced in the form of H.R. 824 (113th Congress), the Reducing the Size of the Federal Government Through Attrition Act. CBO estimated that a version of the bill introduced in the 112th Congress would cut spending by $34.595 billion over five years. The bill provides the President with the authority to waive the attrition policy for national security concerns, extraordinary emergencies, or if the performance of a necessary agency might be compromised. Based on this waiver authority, CBO estimates that up to two-thirds of the federal workforce would be exempted from the attrition policy.
A less expansive use of waivers could result in larger savings. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform estimates that similar legislation – H.R. 2114 (112th Congress), the Reducing the Size of the Federal Government Through Attrition Act of 2011 – could save $63.75 billion over five years.
C. Limit Federal Spending:
“The second half [of my economic plan] is, let’s cut the deficit and that’s why I have adopted … the Penny Plan … to get that done.”
Savings: $331.9 billion ($663.7 billion over two years)
Source: Related legislation was introduced in the form of H.R. 2041 (112th Congress), the Returning to Responsible Fiscal Policies Act. The bill would have enacted annual caps limiting federal expenditures. The cap for a given year would be set based on the average GDP in the first five of the six previous fiscal years, multiplied by a steadily decreasing percentage that would lower outlays until they reached 18 percent of GDP. Currently, total federal outlays exceed 21 percent of GDP. According to the most recent Office of Management and Budget figures (Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2015, Historical Tables, “Table 1.2: Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits as Percentages of GDP: 1930-2019”), that formula would result in spending caps of $3.556 and $3.529 trillion in FY 2015 and 2016, respectively. Those totals are $663.7 billion below the Office of Management and Budget’s baseline projections for those years, or $331.9 billion on average. Given Congress’s tendency to not adhere to spending limitations over the long-run, NTUF only counts two years’ worth of any budgetary changes resulting from spending caps.
Clawson also makes reference to the Penny Plan, a separate yet related measure that was introduced in the current Congress in the form of H.R. 1201, the One Percent Spending Reduction Act of 2013. The bill would set total spending caps equal to the previous fiscal year’s outlays minus one percent in each successive year. Interest payments on the debt would be excluded from the cap. NTUF modified the proposal to reflect a hypothetical FY 2015 enactment. OMB projects FY 2014 outlays net of interest payments to total $3.427 trillion, resulting in a FY 2015 spending limit of $3.393 trillion. After accounting for the cap in FY 2016 as well, the bill would result in savings of $68.2 billion over the first two years, or $34.1 billion per year on average.
D. Require Congressional Approval for Major Regulations:
Note: There are several pieces of legislation that attempt to address regulatory passage and review. Three examples include:
Health Care: -$63.9 billion (savings)
A. Block Grant Medicaid Funds to States:
Note: CBO estimates that Medicaid outlays will total $399 billion in FY 2014 and, absent reform, will rise to $576 billion in 2024. Presumably, under a block grant, funding would initially be provided at existing levels. For future years it is unclear whether Clawson would advocate a funding freeze or reduction in federal Medicaid appropriations via block-granted funds. However, there is a potential for spending reductions in the form of lower administrative expenses if Medicaid spending were streamlined.
In 2012, Governor Romney proposed a Medicaid block grant system that would be permitted to increase according to inflation (CPI) plus one percent each year. Updating the figures from CBO’s Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2014 to 2024, NTUF found that such a proposal would decrease projected outlays by $337.508 billion between FY 2015 and 2019. CBO's baseline estimate for FY 2014 Medicaid spending is $299 billion. Medicaid spending grows an average of 6.7 percent per year in CBO's baseline forecast. Capping the growth at CPI plus one percent would allow spending to rise at an average rate of 2.2 percent per year, about $67.5 billion less per year than projected in CBO's baseline forecast.
B. Eliminate Government Health Care Bureaucrats:
Note: It is unclear how Clawson would change current law to reduce government involvement in individuals’ health care.
One possibility is to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which was established in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 (ACA) to recommend cost-cutting reforms to the Medicare program. Related legislation was introduced in the form of H.R. 452 (112th Congress), the Medicare Decisions Accountability Act of 2011, which, among other measures, would repeal IPAB. CBO estimated that a repeal would cut federal spending by $53 million over four years. An IPAB repeal measure has also been introduced in the 113th Congress in the form of Section 103 in H.R. 37, the Business and Government Operations Improvement Act. NTUF scored that bill based on the previously mentioned CBO report.
C. Protect Health Insurance Access for Those with Pre-Existing Conditions:
Note: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 4496 (113th Congress), the Covering People With Pre-Existing Conditions Act of 2014. The bill would offer federal funding to states to establish or expand high-risk insurance pools, which are groups of individuals with similar health conditions and often include groups of people with pre-existing conditions, in a similar fashion to the ACA’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, which was intended to bridge coverage for higher-cost individuals until states could operate their own health care exchanges. The bill authorizes $7.5 billion to be spent on high-risk pools over five years. It is unclear how the bill’s enactment would change current law and whether or not Clawson would support the measure, as it does not require the repeal of the ACA.
D. Provide for Health Care Plans and Accounts:
Note: It is unclear if Clawson intends to offer subsidies for HSAs in addition to greater flexibility of allowable purchases.
E. Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
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.
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.
F. Restore Medicaid Advantage Funding:
Note: Medicaid Advantage is a matching demonstration program designed to streamline care and reduce costs for both individuals who are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare and participating government entities. Dual-eligible individuals cost, on average, more than people only eligible for one program. In some cases, up to twice as much. As of 2012, 25 states either operate or intend to operate Medicaid Advantage programs.
In 2009, President Obama mentioned the program in a speech, saying “over the next 10 years, we will spend $177 billion … in unwarranted subsidies to insurance companies under something called Medicaid Advantage… .” In 2014, the White House proposed a 1.9 percent reduction to the program, funds which would be transferred to programs related to the ACA.
It is unclear if Clawson supports a clean reversal of the Administration’s proposal, thereby resulting in a transfer of funds to the Medicaid Advantage program and thus not an increase in federal spending, or for new spending to be authorized to replace the transferred funds. It is likely he would support the former rather than the latter in light of his proposal to repeal ACA.
“I think that we have to look into restructuring Social Security in order to save it. But I don’t think that you do it by doing it on the backs of those currently retired or anywhere close to being retired.
Florida U.S. Representative Spending Analysis -- April Freeman
Economy, Transportation, and Infrastructure: $3 million
A. Ensure Wage Equality:
“Women's Equality is a key plank in my platform. I believe that women deserve equal pay for equal work.”
Cost: $3 million ($15 million over five years).
Source: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 377 (113th Congress), the Paycheck Fairness Act. The bill would enhance regulations pertaining to equal pay. The text of the bill authorizes $15 million for compliance training, a grant program for negotiation skills training for girls and women, and for research, education and outreach. NTUF assumes the outlays would occur over five years.
B. Support Domestic Industries:
“We need to support our healthcare, retail, tourism, service and agricultural industries. I will do everything I can on their behalf in Congress.
I support efforts to improve the business climate in Southeast Florida, especially for small business.”
Note: The federal government supports domestic industries in several ways, including, but not limited to trade protection measures (such as tariffs and safety inspections), tax policies, subsidies, and grants to incent continued existence or growth, and government programs and benefits to help re-train workers displaced by foreign competition. It is unclear to what measures Freeman would support to protect or foster new domestic industries and workers.
Education, Science, and Research: Unknown
A. Support Teachers:
“I believe that education funding is always money that is well spent. We need to have a strong, robust and effective education system. I support our teachers; they are the backbone of our education system and they deserve a living wage and merit-based increases.”
Note: According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2013, Mid-Session Review, page 56, the Department of Education spent $68 billion in FY 2013. This was an increase of $600 million from the previous fiscal year. It is unclear how Freeman would change current education policy or spending to maintain or increase support for teachers and the overall education system.
Energy, Agriculture, and the Environment: Unknown
A. Ban Hydraulic Fracturing:
“I support clean and natural energy. I stand firmly against hydraulic fracturing and oil drilling in Southwest Florida. Southwest Florida is a subtropical paradise--we need to protect it.”
Note: Currently, hydraulic fracturing is regulated by the states. A 2005 law exempted hydraulic fracturing from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. However, EPA is currently conducting a review of the impact of hydraulic fracturing on groundwater. EPA also administers the Underground Injection Control (UIC) program to regulate injection wells that place fluids underground for storage and disposal, including the by-product fluid from hydraulic fracturing. EPA has requested $11 million in UIC funding for FY 2015.
B. Expand Alternative Energy Sources:
“I believe we should make maximum use of our sunshine for energy--solar energy. I will pursue federal support for such energy generation.”
Note: According to the Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2015, Appendix, page 396, the Department of Energy’s solar program received $352 million in FY 2013. Fifteen bills related to the development of solar energy have been introduced in the Senate during the 113th Congress.
C. Fully Fund Water Infrastructure Improvements:
“We need to implement more effective measures to prevent future unwanted releases of water from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee River. I support current efforts to build reservoirs and improve the flow of water southward through the Everglades. I will fight for these improvements in Congress and ensure their full funding.”
Note: It is unclear whether or not Freeman is referring to the Caloosahatchee River West Basin Storage Reservoir, which is an Army Corps of Engineers project. The project would capture and store basin stormwater runoff and be slowly released into the Caloosahatchee River. The Corps estimated the total cost of the project at $576.6 million, which would be split evenly between the state and federal governments. The project was approved by Congress signed into law as part of H.R. 3080 (113th Congress) the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014. It is also unclear if H.R. 3080 included full funding for the project.
Homeland Security and Law Enforcement: $20.2 billion
A. Fight Human Trafficking:
“I will fight for better protection to survivors of human trafficking, especially minors. We need to increase penalties across the board for human trafficking … .”
Note: Numerous pieces of related legislation have been introduced to address trafficking victims’ benefits and penalties for traffickers. One such bill is H.R. 3530 (113th Congress), the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2014. The bill would make grants for domestic child human trafficking deterrence programs, expand services for victims, and enhance penalties for those perpetrating child sex trafficking crimes. The bill is currently sponsored by Members of both parties. As amended, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the bill would decrease spending by $2.496 billion over five years. Savings occur because unobligated balances of the Crime Victims Fund would be available to be spent after FY 2014.
It is unclear if Freeman would support this or other current legislation.
B. Pass Immigration Reform:
“I support comprehensive immigration reform … .”
Cost: $20.2 billion ($101 billion over five years).
Source: S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, was passed by the Senate in June 2013. The bill would streamline and overhaul the immigration system and increase border security and infrastructure. A CBO estimate of the bill as passed is available.
C. Protect Citizens’ Privacy:
“I will always fight for Americans’ right to privacy -- I believe that every American has a right to privacy and the government needs to respect that right.”
Note: It is unclear what specific policies Freeman would support in order to protect Americans’ privacy.
D. Secure the Border:
“... we need to strengthen border security and we must provide the federal government with the best means of achieving that.”
“I think that means that we should tighten our borders and we could potentially bring our resources back from overseas, bring them home, get them jobs. … Not a wall [but] more manpower [for veterans] … for border patrol].”
Note: It is unclear to what degree and means Freeman would employ to “tighten our borders.” Under S. 744 (113th Congress), the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, approximately $47.4 billion would be spent on border security in the first ten years, according to CBO. The additional funds would double the number of Border Patrol officers and help cover and forgive student loans of Border Patrol personnel. It is unclear if Freeman would support additional actions to further secure the border or if employing former veterans would increase spending outlays.
National Security and International Relations: Unknown
A. Normalize Relations with Cuba:
“... I think that we should lift the embargo against Cuba… .”
Note: There are multiple proposals in the 113th Congress to normalize relations with Cuba including H.R. 1917, the Cuba Normalization Act, and H.R. 214, the Cuba Reconciliation Act. Both bills would lift the trade embargo on Cuba as well as additional measures. As scored by NTUF, these bills would likely not increase federal spending, however, other potential costs exist. The establishment and securing of a U.S. embassy would likely require new funding. There might also be increased revenue and offsetting receipts that could offset new expenses.
A. Ensure Veterans’ Benefits:
“I support full benefits for veterans and oppose any cuts or reductions. Our veterans have risked their lives for our protection and security and we must both show our gratitude and ensure that their efforts are rewarded. I will work to ensure that the United States government honors all its obligations and promises to veterans.”
Note: Due to a lack of specificity in Freeman’s statement, NTUF cannot determine what, if any, cost or savings effects would result from these proposals.
“We must never risk default. I will do everything in my power to maintain the full faith and credit of the United States.”
“We need to close the loopholes for major corporations, for banking.”
“We need to give incentives to companies who keep jobs in the United States and quit giving so many cuts to the ones who are exporting our jobs.”
Florida U.S. Representative Spending Analysis -- Ray Netherwood
A. Reform the Tax Code:
“I support an end to the income tax, a repeal of the 16th Amendment, and in its place, a national sales tax like the FairTax. By eliminating the income tax and passing the FairTax, our fellow Americans will keep every dollar that they earn, which in turn, gives them more money to save or spend.”
Savings: $19.434 billion ($97.169 billion over five years)
Source: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 25 (113th Congress), the Fair Tax Act of 2013. 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). To reimburse taxes paid on necessities, prebates, based on household, would be mailed monthly.
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, totalling $86.4 billion. The elimination of the IRS would cut spending by $12.1 billion. Spending increases include operating costs for the new agency, equalling $96 million annually, and prebate checks mailed to each household, which could total $240 million each year with postage.
“... I will never vote to increase the debt ceiling or for an unbalanced budget.”
National Taxpayers Union Foundation