Backgrounder posted December 4, 2015
Important Policy Riders for the FY 2016 Appropriations Bills
The Constitution unequivocally grants Congress the exclusive power to appropriate funds for the “necessary and proper” operations of government. James Madison wrote in The Federalist No. 58 that providing budgetary powers to Congress was a critical element in maintaining individual rights: “The power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and…
Issue Brief posted October 28, 2015
Analysis of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015
The federal budget is on a dangerous trajectory and immediate corrective action is required. The U.S. national debt is at $18.1 trillion. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), if the government remains on its currently planned course, it will spend $7 trillion more over the next 10 years than it will receive in taxes, piling on even more debt.
Issue Brief posted September 29, 2015
The Federal Government Should Stop Limiting the Sale of Certain Fruits and Vegetables
In June 2015, the United States Supreme Court decided Horne v. Department of Agriculture, a case regarding the federal government’s authority to fine raisin growers who did not hand over part of their crop to the government. Fortunately, the court held that forcing growers to turn over their raisins was a taking of private property requiring just compensation.
Issue Brief posted July 22, 2015
A Q & A on the Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods
This week, the House of Representatives is expected to consider the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, which would prohibit states from mandating the labeling of genetically engineered foods, also known as genetically modified or bioengineered food. Neither federal, state, nor local governments should block consumers from getting information on food. However,…
Issue Brief posted June 26, 2015
FY 2016 House Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill: Right on Regulations, Wrong on Spending
The new Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2822) will be the seventh discretionary spending bill considered by the House of Representatives this year. The bill would provide $30.17 billion in discretionary budget authority (BA) for fiscal year (FY) 2016, roughly $246 million less than current levels. The bill largely…
Backgrounder posted June 22, 2015
A Decade After Kelo: Time for Congress to Protect American Property Owners
On June 23, 2005, the United States Supreme Court held in Kelo v. City of New London that the government can seize private property and transfer it to another private party for economic development. This type of taking was deemed to be for a “public use” and allowed under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
As a result, if a city claims that a…
Issue Brief posted April 30, 2015
The House Energy and Water Appropriations Bill Misses the Mark
This week, the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill is likely to receive floor consideration. One of 12 appropriations bills providing discretionary funding for the federal government, this bill provides funding for projects under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps); the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation; the Department…
Issue Brief posted April 7, 2015
Congress Should Separate Food Stamps from Agricultural Programs
About every five years, Congress passes a farm bill. Despite its name, the farm bill covers more than just agricultural programs. In reality, food stamps account for about 80 percent of the projected cost of the 2014 farm bill.
Agricultural programs and food stamps should not be combined into one bill. Instead, they should be considered on their own merits in separate…
Backgrounder posted March 31, 2015
Achievable Economic Policy Reforms for Congress
Congress can pass legislation this year that would make a significant difference in the lives of Americans. Despite the perception of partisan gridlock, broad support exists for many important domestic economic policy reforms. These policies are ambitious but achievable, and, if adopted, would promote economic growth, empower individuals, and reduce government waste.…