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Vol. 1 Issue 19 November 17, 2010

Welcome to the Taxpayer's Tab
-- the weekly newsletter for up-to-the-minute research from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation's BillTally Project.

Since 1991, NTUF has computed the legislative spending agendas of Members of Congress by analyzing the costs -- and savings -- of the bills that they sponsor and cosponsor. Our goal is to provide you with objective information about what Congress wants to do with your tax dollars in an open and transparent manner.

Each week, NTUF will bring you updates on the week's most and least expensive bills, the ones with the most cosponsors ("the most friended"), and a few bills we've termed Wildcards -- bills that we think you might find interesting.

For more information on the National Taxpayers Union Foundation or the BillTally Project, check out our website and methodology.

Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: S. 3729/H.R. 5781, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Authorization Act of 2010

Annualized Cost: $1.185 billion ($3.554 billion over three years)

After fifty-two years in existence, NASA has been struggling for relevancy. In an effort to regain its momentum, the agency planned to retire the aging shuttle fleet, to ramp up development of the new Constellation rocket program, and to continue planning for deep-space missions to the Moon and Mars. The debate over the agency's future led to the introduction of S. 3729 and H.R. 5781, sponsored by Senator John Rockefeller (WV) and Congressman Bart Gordon (TN-6). Senator Rockefeller said S. 3729 "is a truly bipartisan bill that will help refocus and reinvigorate the agency, while making key investments in aeronautics, science, and education."

The NASA Authorization Act maintains the current level of spending for many of NASA's projects and science-related programs. New spending outlined in the bill includes an additional shuttle mission, investment in commercial crew transportation systems, and more funding for attracting students in engineering and mathematics.

Based on data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), NTUF estimates that spending would increase by almost $3.6 billion between 2011 and 2013.

Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: S. 3742/H.R. 2221, Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2010

Annualized Cost: $1 million ($5 million over five years)

Senator Mark Pryor (AR) and Congressman Bobby Rush (IL-1) have sponsored the Data Security and Breach Notification Act. The bill establishes new regulations and requirements for both government agencies and private businesses. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would create new security rules for businesses that own or possess personal information. Any proprietorship, partnership, estate, trust, cooperative, and nonprofit and for-profit corporations who do business across state lines would fall under the FTC's jurisdiction.

If an information security breach were to occur, the entity would be required to notify the FTC and those whose personal information was accessed or stolen.

Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 2103/S. 987, International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2009

Number of Cosponsors: 108 Congressmen and 42 Senators

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-4) wants "the United States to take the lead in ending child marriage and championing the value and potential girls have to develop, grow and contribute their skills to strengthening families, communities and entire countries if given the opportunity." To that end, H.R. 2103 would provide assistance to multilateral, nongovernmental, and faith-based organizations to establish or expand ongoing programs. Senator Richard Durbin (IL) has introduced a companion version in the Senate.

Provisions in the bill provide for the recording and research of the incidence of marriage in countries where 15 percent of girls under the age of 15 are married or 40 percent of girls under the age of 18 are married. The President would also be required to develop a strategy to achieve the aims of the bill.

According to CBO, 21 countries match the profile outlined in the bill for assistance. NTUF estimates that $67 million over five years would be spent to create or enhance programs that empower girls and decrease early marriages.

Cosponsors include 99 Democrat and nine Republican House members. In the Senate, 31 Democrats, two Independents, and nine Republicans have cosponsored S. 987.


We Want You!

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

The Wildcard

The Bill: S. 1183/H.R. 4206, Haiti Reforestation Act of 2010

Annualized Cost: $99 million ($496 million over five years)

Introduced before the January earthquake, S. 1183 would fund environmental measures in Haiti in three ways: supporting initiatives to curb deforestation that is occurring now; creating grant programs to help with the replanting of forests; and, improving natural resource management. Sponsors point out that Haitian "forests covered nearly 60 percent of the country [in 1923]; today they cover less than [two] percent."

Sponsored by Senator Dick Durbin (IL) and Congressman Kendrick Meek (FL-17), the Haiti Reforestation Act would result in new spending over the next five years, as reported by CBO. The appropriations would be administered by the US Agency for International Development.

Missed an Issue of The Tab?

Read them online

Issue 18 - Nov. 17

Issue 17 - Senate Candidate Study Update

Issue 16 - Oct. 21

Issue 15 - Oct. 14

Issue 14 - BillTally Quarterly Report


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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