Reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Savings estimated at $30 billion.
Since taking over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government sponsored mortgage-backing companies, taxpayers have injected over $145 billion into the two companies. Yet Congress still has not considered proposals to reform these companies and recoup taxpayer funds. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that absent reform, costs to taxpayer will continue to grow. Taking action to reform these companies now (as opposed to delaying action as some have proposed) by ending their government conservatorship, shrinking their portfolios, establishing minimum capital standards, and bringing transparency to taxpayer exposure could generate savings of up to an estimated $30 billion.
The Bill to Cut this failed.
This Week's Vote:
Sell Excess Federal Property
Potential savings of up to $15 billion
The Office of Management and Budget estimated in 2007 that the federal government is holding $18 billion in real property that it does not need. Rather than selling this property, however, Federal law usually requires that it first be offered, often at no cost, to other government agencies, to state and local governments, to non-profits, and others. The federal government has conveyed at no cost: a building in Las Vegas that is intended to house the “mob museum,” land in Massachusetts for a private high school where tuition is over $29,000 a year, and a building in Florida that the federal government now leases back at a cost of over $100,000 a year. In addition, because of the red tape associated with selling property, federal agencies often hold onto the property (incurring more maintenance costs) because that is easier than selling it. This proposal would amend federal law to require an expedited process for selling unneeded federal property with 80% of the proceeds used to reduce the deficit. It would set an initial goal of disposing of $18 billion worth of property.
Terminate Duplicative Federal Bicycle and Walking Program
Saves $183 million a year or $1.8 billion over ten years
Created in 2005, the Federal "Safe Routes to Schools Program" finances both infrastructure and non-infrastructure (10 to 30% of total funding) projects to "empower communities to make walking and bicycling to school a safe and routine activity once again." The infrastructure components of this program, such as sidewalks and bike paths, have traditionally been viewed as local responsibilities. The non-infrastructure portion includes items such as public awareness campaigns and training volunteers. The program even requires that every state employ a full-time person dedicated to coordinating this federal program despite the fact that the law already requires every state to employ a separate full-time person to coordinate bicycle and pedestrian activities. Returning these responsibilities to state and local officials and removing federal mandates would generate savings for taxpayers.
Terminate New Federal Truck Parking Facilities Program
Saves $6.25 million a year
($62.5 million over ten years)
Created in 2005, the Federal government currently spends $6.25 million for a Truck Parking Facilities program. This program was created to provide government funding for projects that will facilitate long-term truck parking, including the potential construction of long-term truck parking facilities that would compete with private truck stop operators. Given that this program didn’t exist five years ago and given that truck stops and rest areas are more appropriately managed by private enterprise and state governments, terminating this program is a sensible way to generate savings for taxpayers.
Terminate Security Funding for Private Bus Companies
Saves $12 million a year
($120 million over ten years)
Launched in 2003, this program has provided over $83 million in grants mainly to private bus companies to help finance their security initiatives. The Administration has also proposed terminating this program arguing that the grants “"are not based on a risk assessment" and that private companies can make these investments without federal funding. By requiring bus companies to fund their own security initiatives, taxpayers can save $12 million a year.
Terminate the Ready to Learn Television Program
Saves $27 million a year
($270 million over ten years)
Created to subsidize the development of educational television programming targeted at elementary school age students and their parents, the program has failed to demonstrate that it is improving educational attainment. Even the Department of Education has said that many of the shows and projects funded under this Act failed to meet their standards for “high quality.” Perhaps because of these concerns, the Administration has proposed shifting funds from this program into other areas. Simply terminating the program, however, would eliminate the subsidy, generate savings for the taxpayer, and reduce the deficit.
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