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.
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.