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02-11-2014 at 07:54 am - Michi Iljazi - Posted in: Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Spending Cuts, Michi Iljazi, Debt ceiling, David Williams, Budget, Americans for Tax Reform - 0 Comment

capitol

This week Congressional leaders in both parties and both chambers are looking to raise the debt limit as the US has reached the debt ceiling yet again (last Friday to be exact). Though nothing has been passed, the deal on the table will raise the borrowing limit, which will in turn halt any chance of US default while also giving the Treasury power to borrow more money and drag the nation further into debt. However, the deal may also undo spending cuts (by restoring full cost of living adjustments, or COLAs, to all military retirees under age 62) that was part of the Ryan-Murray Budget deal just a few months ago. The solution to raising the debt limit shouldn’t be used as a way to increase spending or retroactively get rid of unpopular cuts. Congress and the White House should come to an agreement that reduces spending in order to raise the debt limit.  The cycle of  “bipartisan” deals that have increased spending need to be stopped.  These deals have only kicked the can down the road, and left taxpayers holding the bill. To stop this cycle, TPA signed a coalition letter to Congress by Americans for Tax Reform and co-signed by Americans for Prosperity, Citizens Against Government Waste, Coalition to Reduce Spending, Generation Opportunity (GenOpp), and National Taxpayers Union urging Congress to reject any deal that trades a raise in the debt limit in exchange for increased spending.

To read the full letter, click 'read more' below



02-07-2014 at 07:28 am - Michi Iljazi - Posted in: Appropriations, Budget, Congress, Defense, Michi Iljazi, Sequestration, Spending, Spending Cuts, Taxpayers Protection Alliance - 0 Comment

dod

Whether it’s adhering to spending limits set forth by sequestration, making meaningful reforms within the Department of Defense (DoD) budget, or taking a serious look at many of the programs and weapons systems that simply are not worth the taxpayer dollars funding them; Congress has seriously dropped the ball to reform Defense spending.  And, the result has been a disaster for taxpayers. The Abrams Tank, Joint Strike Fighter and MEADS are just a few examples of missed opportunities to save money and make DoD more prepared for future conflicts. TPA was proud to be a part of a coalition effort focusing on the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account and how it is being used as a way to increase spending that DoD hasn’t requested. Last month TPA documented over $7 billion in earmarks in the Omnibus spending bill that the Pentagon never requested, and now TPA has signed on to a trans-partisan letter along with American Friends, Service Committee, Americans for Prosperity, Campaign for America’s Future, Campaign for Liberty, Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, Center for International Policy, Citizens Against Government Waste, Citizen Outreach, Coalition to Reduce Spending, Come Home America, Council for a Livable World, CREDO, DownsizeDC.org Inc., Foreign Policy in Focus, Freedom Works, Friends Committee on National Legislation, GOProud, Kitchen Table Patriots, Less Government, National Priorities Project, National Security Network, National Taxpayers Union, NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, Peace Action, Peace Action West, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Project On Government Oversight, R Street Institute, Republican Liberty Caucus, Take Back Washington, Taxpayers for Common Sense, USAction, US Labor Against the War (USLAW), Win Without War, and Women’s Action for New Directions to express collective “disappointment at the continued use” of the OCO account to “circumvent the very spending caps that Congress itself put in place.“

To read the full letter, click 'read more' below



ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) urged Congress to reject the $1.1 trillion Omnibus spending bill for fiscal year (2014). On Monday January 13 (unlucky for taxpayers),Congress released a 1,500-page spending bill crafted by House and Senate appropriators. There’s not much to praise when looking at both the substance of the bill and the manner in which it was delivered. In what has been a disappointing string of bipartisan agreement, taxpayers will once again be left on the hook for spending that likely includes programs that are neither needed nor wanted. Another problem with the appropriations bill is that the sequester was “altered” in way that reverses cuts on both domestic and Defense spending. The Omnibus also funds and increase for Head Start and Obamacare. Defense appropriations contains a $5 billion increase for the Overseas Contingent Operations (OCO) account, which is immunized from sequestration.  The Ryan-Murray budget deal was just the beginning of the end for the sequester.  We have now seen another “tweak” less than a month later that reverses automatic cuts agreed to by Congress and the White House just a few years ago.



MEADS
MEADS Battle Manager

The final weeks of 2013 gave way to a flurry of activity from Congress as they threw together compromise legislation that found its way to the floor before many folks had time to look over the details of the bills.  This was done all for the sake of getting things done before the holidays. One such piece of compromise legislation was the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is used to set the budget of the Department of Defense. Though the House had originally passed a comprehensive defense appropriations bill last summer, the Senate bill was delayed and eventually scrapped altogether in favor of a compromise bill with limited process for debate all in the hopes that it would pass before elected officials adjourned for the remainder of the year. Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been outspoken in advocating for a reduced budget at the Pentagon that would allow for responsible cuts that would eliminate waste while preserving the national security interests of the United States. A specific program that TPA has long-identified as outdated and wasteful is the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), otherwise known as the ‘Missile to Nowhere’. The program, which began in 2005, saw it’s funding prohibited in 2011, 2012, and in 2013 by way of the NDAA; and while President Obama kept the program out of the Pentagon’s budget, that didn’t stop Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel from shelling out $380 million in continuing resolution (CR) funds in 2013 to continue funding design and development of MEADS. Now, just in time to start the new year, there looks to be a major victory for taxpayers as funding for the aptly named “Missile to Nowhere” was left out of the defense appropriations bill signed by President Obama just after Christmas.



nye

Every New Year millions of Americans resolve to change their ways and improve their lives by making New Year’s resolutions such as losing weight or changing their behavior to live a healthier lifestyle.  In the spirit of those resolutions, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) urges Congress and the whole federal government to resolve to go on a fiscal diet and change their wasteful spending and regulatory habits.  And, we will be following up on each and every one of these issues (and more) in 2014. The list TPA put together includes a wide range of issues that lawmakers have been involved with and the need for action on many of these is more than obivious. The issues include: Telecommunications/Technology, Defense, Taxes, Energy, and Wasteful Spending.

Click 'read more' below to see the full list of TPA's New Years Resolutions for 2014!



12-30-2013 at 08:31 am - Michi Iljazi - Posted in: Congress, Michi Iljazi, Sen. Tom Coburn, Spending, Spending Cuts, Taxes, Taxpayers Protection Alliance - 0 Comment

nato
Residence of US Ambassador to NATO in Brussels (Courtesy 'Wastebook 2013')

There has been a long tradition of wasteful spending in the nation’s capital for decades and the problem has only gotten worse as each year passes. A recent tradition has done wonders to expose just exactly how bad the spending habits out of Washington have become and how much taxpayers are shelling out for things that they clearly shouldn’t be paying for. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) left an early Christmas present for all the big spenders on Capitol Hill this week when he released his ‘Wastebook 2013’ report highlighting a plethora of examples of how taxpayer dollars have been wasted over the last year. The more than $30 billion dollars the report cites is just the first of many reasons taxpayers should be hoping that politicians get a handful of coal as they return home for the remainder of the year.  This report is even more troublesome considering that agencies spent money on these projects despite the fact that agencies instituted furloughs because of sequestration. The rushed worked of Congress over the last few weeks has given way to a slew of less than desirable pieces of legislation. First, the Murray/Ryan Budget Deal altered the sequester caps and set a dangerous precedent for spending cuts moving forward. Next, the compromise National Defense Authorization Act that passed the Senate last night after passing the House last week. Finally, an agreement to push final  Farm Bill passage to January 2014; with details scarce.  There is very little hope that  the Farm Bill will contain much real reform. The ‘Wastebook 2013,’ released by Sen. Coburn’s office this week, is nearly 200 pages of ridiculous and unnecessary spending that everyone should read.



new years

Every New Year millions of Americans resolve to change their ways and improve their lives by making New Year’s resolutions such as losing weight or changing their behavior to live a healthier lifestyle.  In the spirit of those resolutions, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) urges Congress and the whole federal government to resolve to go on a fiscal diet and change their wasteful spending and regulatory habits.  And, we will be following up on each and every one of these issues (and more) in 2014. The list TPA put together includes a wide range of issues that lawmakers have been involved with and the need for action on many of these is more than obivious. The issues include: Telecommunications/Technology, Defense, Taxes, Energy, and Wasteful Spending.

Click 'read more' below to see the full list of TPA's New Years Resolutions for 2014!

 



12-26-2013 at 07:43 am - Michi Iljazi - Posted in: Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Taxes, Spending Cuts, Spending, Sen. Tom Coburn, Michi Iljazi, Congress - 0 Comment
romance
National Endowment for the Humanities' "Popular Romance" project (courtesy 'Wastebook 2013')

There has been a long tradition of wasteful spending in the nation’s capital for decades and the problem has only gotten worse as each year passes. A recent tradition has done wonders to expose just exactly how bad the spending habits out of Washington have become and how much taxpayers are shelling out for things that they clearly shouldn’t be paying for. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) left an early Christmas present for all the big spenders on Capitol Hill this week when he released his ‘Wastebook 2013’ report highlighting a plethora of examples of how taxpayer dollars have been wasted over the last year. The more than $30 billion dollars the report cites is just the first of many reasons taxpayers should be hoping that politicians get a handful of coal as they return home for the remainder of the year. This report is even more troublesome considering that agencies spent money on these projects despite the fact that agencies instituted furloughs because of sequestration. The rushed worked of Congress over the last few weeks has given way to a slew of less than desirable pieces of legislation. First, the Murray/Ryan Budget Deal altered the sequester caps and set a dangerous precedent for spending cuts moving forward. Next, the compromise National Defense Authorization Act that passed the Senate last night after passing the House last week. Finally, an agreement to push final  Farm Bill passage to January 2014; with details scarce.  There is very little hope that  the Farm Bill will contain much real reform. The ‘Wastebook 2013,’ released by Sen. Coburn’s office this week, is nearly 200 pages of ridiculous and unnecessary spending that everyone should read.


dod

Late on Thursday December 19, 2013 the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed the Senate and was sent to President Obama for his signature just moments before he left for Hawaii on his annual Christmas vacation. The bill made its way through the House of Representatives twice, once last summer and another time a few weeks ago, before getting stalled in the Senate due to the question of how exactly the Senate would go about moving the massive defense spending legislation through the chamber. The process was rushed and limited; and in turn produced a massive ill that left much to be desired in the way of meaningful reforms to some of our most costly defense programs.  Passing a Defense authorization bill is critical to defending the nation but also defending tax dollars. As the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) pointed out in December of 2011, once appropriators get a hold of the bill there is no telling what will happen (read previous blog posting here).  In December 2012 Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) revealed just how much our defense department is doing that has absolutely nothing to do with protecting our country in his report titled, “Department of Everything.” Oh by the way, the total that Sen. Coburn tallied was $68 billion. During last summer, the National Defense Authorization Act moved through the House of Representatives, and TPA was quick to analyze every one of the amendments that was up for consideration to be added to the bill.  Even though TPA preferred many more amendments, the fact that the House of Representatives was able to allow a process that put 100 amendments on the table was reason to applaud and be optimistic of real reform at the Department of Defense. The amendment process is one of the few ways that real and meaningful reform can be achieved and when dealing with legislation the size and scale of the National Defense Authorization Act, it is extremely important that every opportunity be given to make improvements to the bill and allow for a process that gives lawmakers a full and free range of input on exactly what will (and will not) be a part of final language. There were many amendments that TPA had expressed opposition to and many we urged members to support, including an amendment sponsored by Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Jared Polis (D-Col.), and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) that “Ends authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act” which received the most attention of any amendment. TPA was proud to be a part of numerous bi-partisan coalitions commenting on both the process and the content of the bill.

 



12-20-2013 at 09:43 am - Michi Iljazi - Posted in: Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Taxes, Spending Cuts, Spending, Sen. Tom Coburn, Michi Iljazi, Congress - 0 Comment

green ninja
NASA's "Little Green Man" (courtesy 'Wastebook 2013')

There has been a long tradition of wasteful spending in the nation’s capital for decades and the problem has only gotten worse as each year passes. A recent tradition has done wonders to expose just exactly how bad the spending habits out of Washington have become and how much taxpayers are shelling out for things that they clearly shouldn’t be paying for. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) left an early Christmas present for all the big spenders on Capitol Hill this week when he released his ‘Wastebook 2013’ report highlighting a plethora of examples of how taxpayer dollars have been wasted over the last year. The more than $30 billion dollars the report cites is just the first of many reasons taxpayers should be hoping that politicians get a handful of coal as they return home for the remainder of the year. This report is even more troublesome considering that agencies spent money on these projects despite the fact that agencies instituted furloughs because of sequestration. The rushed worked of Congress over the last few weeks has given way to a slew of less than desirable pieces of legislation. First, the Murray/Ryan Budget Deal altered the sequester caps and set a dangerous precedent for spending cuts moving forward. Next, the compromise National Defense Authorization Act that passed the Senate last night after passing the House last week. Finally, an agreement to push final  Farm Bill passage to January 2014; with details scarce.  There is very little hope that  the Farm Bill will contain much real reform. The ‘Wastebook 2013,’ released by Sen. Coburn’s office this week, is nearly 200 pages of ridiculous and unnecessary spending that everyone should read.



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