March 16, 2018
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This article originally appeared in The American Conservative on March 14, 2018
As the recent spending debate in Congress made clear, the Pentagon isn’t exactly starved for cash. The latest budget agreement, reached by lawmakers back in February, blew the lid off of Budget Control Act spending caps, increasing funds to the Pentagon by 15 percent over the next two years. Of the requested $686 billion for the Department of Defense, $194 billion is slated for the Department of the Navy. In fact, the 2019 Navy budget is an astounding 18 percent higher than the 2017 levels, despite diminishing conflicts around the globe. Why a peacetime Navy demands a budget fit for the Cold War and Iraq War is a mystery. Even reliable defense hawks have begun questioning Navy spending in recent years.
March 12, 2018
This article originally appeared in the Daily Caller on March 6, 2018
When a massive undertaking goes awry, there comes a point where “let it be” trumps “let’s dig deeper.” Washington, D.C. local officials are inclined toward the latter, particularly when it comes to mass transit. The D.C. Streetcar is a sad monument to fiscal mismanagement, in a city already plagued by education scandals and corrupt governance. At a cost of nearly $100 million per mile and initial building delays spanning seven years for the 2.2 mile boondoggle, District and federal taxpayers have every right to demand better uses of their money. Unfortunately, it’s likely to only get worse. » Read More
March 1, 2018
This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on February 28, 2018
The Pentagon is a massive black hole of dubious spending, and its annual final budget never tells the entire story. Case in point: the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund is just one of the ways the military spends our money above and beyond their annual outlays. Supposedly, the OCO will be reduced significantly over the course of the next two years. But before you think the government is reining in spending, think again. » Read More
February 9, 2018
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This article originally appeared on Townhall.com on February 8, 2018
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló has long blamed his predecessors and those in Washington – namely Republicans including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) – for his woes. Rosselló has called the ground-breaking Tax Cuts and Jobs Act a setback for the island. The governor has also criticized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, despite their efforts to rebuild the power utility long-neglected by a long line of Puerto Rico leaders. While many things about Puerto Rico’s governance remain opaque, one thing is quite clear: Gov. Rosselló will stop at nothing to blame everyone else for his own failings. By blaming others and feigning helplessness in the face of challenge after challenge, Gov. Rosselló hopes to secure a heavily subsidized or free loan via the Trump Administration.
February 7, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) slammed congressional leaders for agreeing to lift budget caps by $300 billion over the next two years. Politico reported that, “Congressional leaders have clinched a two-year deal to lift strict budget caps on defense and domestic spending, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday afternoon. The deal is expected to increase defense and domestic spending by roughly $300 billion over two years, according to administration and congressional sources.”
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February 7, 2018
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Today, TPA joined together with 22 free market groups led by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) to send a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to stop the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) rule against short-term “payday” loans. The rule also deprives citizens and lawmakers in every state from deciding for themselves how to regulate small dollar loans and fails to take into consideration the impact the rule will have on small businesses, the letter explains. Time is running out for Congress to disapprove the rule using the Congressional Review Act, with an estimated deadline of March 5. The letter asks Congress to vote now on House Joint Resolution 122, introduced by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) and co-sponsored by Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Steve Stivers (R-OH), and Tom Graves (R-GA).
January 9, 2018
Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) slammed President Trump and members of Congress who suggested bringing back legislative earmarks. Congress banned earmarks in 2011 after Republicans gained control of the House. Seven years later, with full control of the Legislative and Executive Branches the prospect of earmarks shouldn’t be an issue. Instead, the Administration and Congress are close to re-implementing a destructive policy that would proliferate waste in Washington. TPA President David Williams noted that, “Earmarking is an irresponsible way to allocate funds. In addition to the chaos it causes during the appropriations process, earmarks are behind some of the most wasteful programs and projects taxpayers have been bilked for over the years. Earmarks have served as the bribery currency of Congress for many years, as both parties used them to buy votes." » Read More
December 28, 2017
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This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on December 16, 2017.
Here we go again. On the eve of the next Farm Bill reauthorization, Big Sugar corporations are up to their old tricks. To protect their government handouts, they are once again claiming that a so-called “zero-for-zero” resolution should come before Congress passes meaningful reform of the country’s harmful sugar policy. Large domestic manufacturers argue that, before subsidies and quotas are phased out, foreign governments must first stop bolstering their own producers.
December 21, 2017
This article originally appeared on InsideSources on December 19, 2017.
As any board member or financial officer will readily attest, budgeting is never a walk in the park. But federal lawmakers have it especially tough, managing a multi-trillion-dollar operation and navigating through countless competing interests. » Read More
November 29, 2017
It’s that time of year again! As the NFL embraces the harsh mistress of playoff season, some fans can’t help but to find strange parallels between the performance of their squad and the current Congress. Most franchises will inevitably go through a “rebuilding phase” after the bottom drops out, with uneven performances from rookies and lingering issues from the rank-and-file. Congress is similarly in rebuilding mode, correcting for the gargantuan missteps over the past decade with a mixture of Hail Mary’s and fruitless quarterback sneaks. » Read More
November 13, 2017
This article originally appeared in Real Clear Defense on November 7, 2017
The United States faces a grave and growing threat from North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. With North Korea conducting two ICBM tests in July of 2017, Kim Jong-Un is a pariah intent on putting the United States and allies on the defense. For the first time, North Korea has demonstrated the ballistic missile technology necessary to directly attack the U.S. homeland. And these developments are not unfolding in a vacuum. Ballistic missile threats from Russia and China are ever-present and rapidly evolving. However, these pressing issues are no excuse to hand the Department of Defense a blank check. Only a smart and nimble national defense will prove capable in diffusing these threats and protecting the country. Reforming the military’s purchasing protocol by instituting multi-year procurement can accomplish that goal. » Read More
September 15, 2017
This article appeared in The Hill on September 13, 2017.
Between Hurricane Irma’s path of destruction and the threat of future hurricanes, Puerto Rico stands in Mother Nature’s firing line. The House of Representatives, which passed a bill last week authorizing assistance for Hurricane Harvey, will likely open the spigot of taxpayer funds to Puerto Rico and other areas tormented by recent mega storms. While the federal government is right to come to the financial aid of the oft-forgotten part of the United States after disasters, Congress needs to be especially weary of financial mismanagement. In a place where fiscal dysfunction has already forced the federal government to intervene, adding fuel to the fire would make the lives of Puerto Ricans worse. And taxpayers deserve better than for their money to sink into a black hole of failed expectations. » Read More
September 11, 2017
TPA joined a coalition in writing a letter to congressional leadership. In the letter, we urged lawmakers not to back down from the fiscal priorities that they promised. A debt limit increase – which is effectively another broken promise – risks more frustration in the conservative movement with congressional Republicans at a time when it is critical to gain momentum to pass fundamental, pro-growth tax reform. » Read More
July 21, 2017
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This article appeared in Inside Sources on July 19, 2017.
The $19.8 billion proposed by appropriators for NASA funding represents a $200 million increase from the year before. This is happening in the midst of large spending cuts to virtually all other federal programs and agencies. By constraining NASA’s mission and opening the door to private space exploration, lawmakers can be truly “pro-science” without bilking taxpayers. NASA has enjoyed “sacred cow” status in Washington for decades, despite problems in execution and priorities endemic to any other area of government. The New Horizons mission to Pluto was initially estimated to cost $650 million, but that figure crept up to $720 million by the end of the probe’s journey.
June 27, 2017
Congress has seen more than its fair share of Pentagon budget kurfluffles over the past decade, ranging from sequester showdowns to the dysfunctional (and expensive) F-35 program. But, members of Congress across the ideological spectrum can agree that the string of forlorn, nearly-vacant military bases across the nation ought to be shuttered or consolidated. Talk has increased of another round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), in which a commission studies military bases and recommends closures subject to congressional approval. The notion of taxpayers footing the bill for nearly-abandoned installations is an unpopular one, and for good reason. A letter signed by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance and 44 other groups across the political spectrum reinforced the bipartisan idea of closing more bases. » Read More
June 8, 2017
The iconic American company Boeing seems simultaneously to be for and against intervention. This spring Boeing’s former CEO and other U.S. business leaders convinced President Trump to give a new lease on life to the Export-Import Bank, a trade-distorting relic of crony capitalism’s heyday. Just weeks later, Boeing asserted the sanctity of fair trade in allegations about Bombardier, a Canadian aircraft company. The Export-Import Bank was on life support, but, in April, following a meeting with former Boeing CEO Jim McNerney, President Trump reversed himself and decided the Export-Import Bank should not be shut down after all. The Bank has supported major U.S. corporations for years with taxpayer dollars, with Boeing being its chief beneficiary. In 2014, before Congress moved to curtail its activities, the Bank provided long-term loan guarantees totaling $10.8 billion, of which $7.4 billion went to Boeing. All told, Boeing received about 40 percent of the Bank’s $20.5 billion in programs - hence the moniker “the Boeing Bank.”» Read More
May 25, 2017
With the unveiling of the President’s budget this week, detractors are already jumping to apocalyptic claims about the dismantling of the welfare state. To advocates of a perpetually-expanding welfare state, the budget is a senseless “assault on aid, [and] programs” and “dangerous, reckless and contemptuous of American values.” But in reality, the new Administration’s “skinny budget” is filled with encouraging proposals. Many federal programs do not operate as intended, yet are given a free pass year after year and shielded from scrutiny. The Administration attempts to address this problem by getting mammoth, unaccountable programs back on track, at a significant savings to taxpayers. All told, federal taxpayers can expect to save $3.6 trillion through 2027. In particular, Trump’s budget highlights 66 discretionary programs for termination that would save $26.7 billion. Not all items in the budget are laudable however; with every few steps forward comes one step back. And, with a budget deficit of $560 billion and a debt of $19.8 trillion, the country can’t afford to take any steps back.» Read More
May 8, 2017
This article originally appeared in The Hill on May 4, 2017, it was co-authored with Justin Sykes of Americans for Tax Reform
Washington seems to be getting in its own way on a number of potentially major reform initiatives in the first few months of 2017. But Congress is making progress on smaller pieces of legislation that promote better stewardship of taxpayer money and a more efficient and less intrusive bureaucracy. One area in need of heightened scrutiny and reform is the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan program that was expanded under President Obama. PACE loans allow homeowners to finance solar panels (or other “energy efficient improvements”) through a lien that is then paid back with property tax payments. Homeowners should be able to improve their homes without government intervention. However, when homeowners are making a choice on whether to finance these new additions and are leveraging property tax do so, there has to be truth in advertising.» Read More
May 5, 2017
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) reacted to Congressional action on two major fronts: government spending and healthcare. After a busy week in Washington. Congress was able to pass a spending bill that guranteed government funding through late September and prevented a shutdown. The House was able to pass the American Health Care Act after pulling the legislation from the floor a few months ago. TPA President David Williams reacted to both of these developments yeasterday as dual statements were released.
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May 1, 2017
The year is nearly halfway through, yet Congress still has plenty of work to get done in order to make 2017 a productive one. This week there is expected to be a vote on a spending bill that will miss the mark on any meaningful reductions in spending, but there also may be a vote on repeal and replace of Obamacare. The mixed bag from Congress and the White House so far is a bit disappointing but there are opportunities to cut wasteful programs and save taxpayers money. One such example is the SunShot Initiative. Right now taxpayers, through the Department of Energy (DOE), are paying for the program that spends $270 million per year to “induce companies to lower production and installation costs associated with photovoltaic solar panel systems and reducing the price of solar power.” This is a terrible program and that’s why TPA organized this coalition letter urging House Appropriators to eliminate funding for SunShot.
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