National Taxpayers Union Foundation Report: Most and Least Expensive Bills of the Week

article top

Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The bill: H.R. 5476/S. 3079, Building Star Energy Efficiency Act

The cost: $3 billion in new spending over 2 years


The bill establishes the Building Star Program, which would issue rebates for qualified energy services in existing commercial buildings and multifamily residential buildings. H.R. 5476 would help oversee and facilitate the retrofitting of buildings ranging from factories to apartment high-rises for better environmental efficiency. The bill includes a mix of loans and tax incentives through both state and federally based programs.

Some groups such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America cite a wage provision as a “non-starter” because it expands the commercial and environmental legislation known as Davis-Bacon into labor practices. Other groups, such as the National Electrical Contractors Association, support H.R. 5476 claiming that it would create 187,000 jobs and save $3.3 billion annually in energy bills. NECA says the recession is having a detrimental effect on their industry with 1.7 million electricians out of work.

Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The bill: H.R. 4960, To eliminate sweetheart deals under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care (PPAC) Act

Savings: Saves $2.9 billion over the next 2 fiscal years

When the PPAC Act was enacted in March of this year, certain provisions were included which directed taxpayer dollars to several state-specific projects and situations. The $2.9 billion in savings would come from repealing seven different parts of the PPAC, including the building of a hospital in Connecticut, providing Hawaii, Louisiana, and Tennessee with Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) funds, and increased Medicare reimbursements to Frontier States.

Congressman Vern Buchanan (FL-13), who sponsored the legislation, says the “bill will not affect the content of the overall health care bill” but will eliminate “taxpayer boondoggles” made in the deal-making process.

Similar legislation was attached as amendments to the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (H.R. 4872) by Senators Charles Grassley (IA) and John McCain (AZ), though the provisions were ultimately not included in the final bill.

Most Friended

The bill: H.R. 5462/S. 4379, Birth Defects Prevention, Risk Reduction, and Awareness Act

Number of cosponsors: 33 Congressmen and 7 Senators

Promoting increased awareness in the health care community and at-risk populations about pregnancy and breastfeeding services, H.R. 5462 would authorize $35 million over the next five years for a nationwide media campaign and research grants that would examine the factors that may influence the risk of birth defects, premature births, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

House cosponsors include a broad range of Representatives from both parties and different geographical areas.

The Wildcard

The Bill: S. 3436/H.R. 4031, A bill to amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to establish a motor efficiency rebate program

The Cost: $700 million in new spending over 5 years

In an effort to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions, Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Representative Tammy Baldwin (WI-2) propose establishing a motor efficiency rebate program to award rebates for purchases of new electric motors. Old motors would have to be removed and properly disposed of.

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.