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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 A specific program that TPA has long-identified as outdated and wasteful is the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), otherwise known as the ‘Missile to Nowhere’.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.



capitol

There seems to be a great deal of lack of leadership,  confusion, mismanagement, and fingerprinting in the nation’s capitol when it comes to strategy for the future… and we’re not talking about the Washington Redskins; it’s Congress.  Both chambers of Congress were back in session this week, but for only a limited time and from all indicators it seems that they are ready to make your holidays more expensive than you expected. The House of Representatives is expected to finish their legislative business for the year on Friday and the Senate is expected to adjourn for the year sometime next week, which gives the two chambers only a short time period to conclude any work they want to accomplish for the 2013 calendar year. Details have been emerging over the past several days about what exactly the House and Senate are expected to push through before their respective holiday recesses and from all that has been revealed so far, it doesn’t look good for the taxpayers. Here’s a breakdown of the business at hand. First, a budget agreement was announced late on December 10 that may be voted on in the House late this week and the Senate early next week. Negotiations between Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) produced a final deal based on a framework that, from what has been made public so far, is a step in the wrong direction and a early lump of coal for taxpayers. There are no meaningful reforms on entitlements or the tax structure (individual or corporate), and there may very well be increases on taxes/fees, but what the biggest problem is with this deal is that it could very well be the first step in undoing the sequester. Regardless of the menial reforms that budget conferees are seeking in the short terms to levy the coming 2014 sequestration cuts, altering the spending caps should be a non-starter for any agreement that comes to the table. When elected officials are ready to tackle the real problem of long-term spending, then and only then should they have the means to get rid of sequestration, which they agreed to in the first place as a result of their failure to identify detailed long-term budget cuts as the nation continues to grapple with a $17 trillion dollar debt. You can read TPA’s statement on the budget deal here, as well as a coalition letter urging preservation of the BCA 2011 spending caps.



12-10-2013 at 06:19 pm - Michi Iljazi - Posted in: Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Spending Cuts, Spending, Sequestration, Michi Iljazi, David Williams, Congress, Budget, Rep. Paul Ryan - 0 Comment

TPA President David Williams responds to the Murray-Ryan Budget accord announced on Tuesday evening:

“Washington has yet again failed the American taxpayer by choosing phony spending cuts over fiscal responsibility. The agreement reached tonight between Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) does nothing to address the long-term spending problems that this nation faces. Unfortunately what it does do is create more problems by setting the precedent to increase spending levels previously agreed to in the Budget Control Act of 2011. While millions of Americans look for ways to change their spending habits by tightening their belts, Washington remains clueless and increases spending.  It is inexcusable to think that just a few short years after agreeing to long-term spending restraint, deals are being made behind closed doors to break those very agreements. Sequestration wasn’t the ideal solution for anyone but it was the failure of Congress and the President to agree to specific spending cuts that led us to where we are now, and there is no reason to believe that we won’t see repeated attempts to do away with more required cuts down the road.”

This budget announcement by comes shortly after TPA signed onto a letter spearheaded by the Conservative Action Project urging lawmakers to oppose any budget deal that “raises spending levels or increases revenue”

Click 'read more' below to read the letter



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