Testimonies, Speeches and Comments
The NCPA has a highly effective office in Washington, D.C. that sponsors Capitol Hill briefings, conferences and testimony by NCPA experts before congressional committees. The NCPA serves as a source of "outside the Beltway" thinking for Capitol Hill deliberations.
Apr 19, 2016
Chairman Fitzpatrick and members of the Task Force, thank you for the opportunity to submit written comments about the ISIS antiquities trade. I am David Grantham, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis. We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization dedicated to developing and promoting private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector.
Mar 14, 2016
March 14, 2016
The Honorable Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chair
House Republican Conference
203 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Madam Chair,
On behalf of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), I am writing to express our support for your efforts to restrict appropriations for unauthorized programs. The NCPA is a non-profit, nonpartisan public policy research organization dedicated to developing and promoting private alternatives to government regulation and control. We do not endorse specific pieces of legislation. Nevertheless, we strongly support the objectives contained within your Unauthorized Spending Accountability Act.
When Congress appropriates taxpayer dollars for unauthorized programs, it is a failure of Congressional oversight responsibilities. Frankly, we believe that Congress should handle taxpayer dollars more carefully to avoid the type of waste and abuse that we have sadly seen from federal spending programs over the years. Your bill would create incentives for Congress to carefully examine federal spending through the authorization process before an appropriation is made.
The House Armed Services Committee is a good model of frequent oversight as they reauthorize the nation’s military programs every year. Perhaps every federal program doesn’t need to be reauthorized every year, but the same sort of frequent review—whether every year, or every five years, or somewhere in between—is necessary if Congress is going to provide the type of scrutiny and oversight that is needed. It is what Americans expect Congress to do with the hard-earned tax dollars they send to Washington.
As you move forward with this worthwhile idea, allow me to offer two ideas that will improve your efforts:
- The Rules of the House of Representatives (clause 2(a)(1) of rule XXI) already prohibit appropriations for unauthorized programs. In other words, regular order already requires programs to be authorized before they receive appropriations. Yet the House Rules Committee routinely waives that rule for appropriations bills. As part of the House Republican Article I Task Force initiative, and your overall efforts to return to regular order, why not simply enforce rule XXI? This action could be taken immediately, instead of waiting for your legislation to be passed and signed by the President (an unlikely outcome, in spite of the worthwhile objectives). And it has the added benefit of sending an immediate and clear signal to the President that Congress can exercise its Article I appropriation authority without any need for the President to sign a law or otherwise cooperate.
- Your legislation would create a new Spending Accountability Commission to examine unauthorized programs. This is a basic duplication of work that the authorizing committees should already be doing. Instead of allocating new funds for this new commission, I suggest cutting the existing budgets of the authorizing committees and using the savings to fund this new commission. This would create a strong incentive for the authorizing committees to do their work, or risk losing their funding to a commission that will do their work for them.
This is a critical time for our nation. The upcoming elections, like all elections, pose an opportunity for the American people to voice their concerns about the failures of Congress to perform basic duties, like oversight and program authorization. Your leadership is much appreciated.
Steadfast and Loyal,
Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West (US Army, Ret)
Executive Director and Vice Chairman of the Board
National Center for Policy Analysis
Feb 04, 2016
Chairman Chaffetz, Ranking Member Cummings, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to submit written comments about recent prescription drug market developments in general, and recent price increases in particular. I am Devon M. Herrick, a health economist and senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis. We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization dedicated to developing and promoting private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector.
Americans consume nearly $3 trillion of medical care annually, about 10 percent of which is spent on prescription drug therapy. Americans spend twice as much on doctors and three times as much on hospital care as on drugs. More than 60 percent of Americans take a prescription drug in any given year, including 90 percent of all seniors. An estimated 4.3 billion retail prescriptions were filled in 2014 — about a dozen per person in the United States, on average. About three-quarters of physician visits result a prescription. Prescription drugs are a great value; drugs are arguably the most cost-efficient way to treat most health problems. Drugs often eliminate, lessen or delay the need for more expensive treatments such as surgery or
So-called “miracle drugs,” specialty drugs and new drug innovation are often credited with improving Americans health. Often ignored are the immense benefits derived from generic drugs, which costs consumers comparatively little and produces benefits far exceeding costs. Generic drugs account for 88 percent of prescriptions but only 28 percent of drug therapy expenditures. Within a year after a brand drug faces competition from generics, the average price falls 80 percent or more. Intense competition usually holds generic drug prices in check. However, during the past few years, many generic drugs that have been on the market for decades have suddenly become more expensive. For instance, the period from 2013 to 2014 was one characterized by very low consumer inflation (about 2 percent). Yet, 27 percent of generic drugs rose in price by 10 percent or more. About one-in-five generic drugs rose in price more than 25 percent, while 9 percent of generic drugs increased in price more than 100 percent.
Jan 28, 2016
Chairman Hatch, Ranking Member Wyden, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to submit written comments about the challenges facing retirement savers today and how to increase access and participation for all workers. I am Pamela Villarreal, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis. We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization dedicated to developing and promoting private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector.
The Obama Administration has made it a goal to increase access to retirement savings accounts for workers whose employers do not provide 401(k) accounts. Consider:
- According to the Department of Labor March 2015 benefits survey, 69 percent of civilian workers had access to a defined benefit or defined contribution retirement plan. Of those workers 77 percent participated. In March 2012, 68 percent of civilian workers had access to a defined benefit or defined contribution plan, with a participation rate of 79 percent.
- When broken between full-time and part-time workers in the March 2015 survey, however, 80 percent of full-time workers had access to a defined benefit or defined contribution plan, compared to 38 percent of part-time workers. Moreover, only half of part-time workers who had access to plans actually participated.
- But these statistics include only plans offered through employers. According to the Investment Company Institute, in 2013 67 percent of U.S. households had retirement accounts through their employer of through individual IRAs.
While one could argue that the participation rate could be much higher, it does not necessarily mean that access is the problem. Between 401(k) plans, SEP plans, traditional and Roth IRA plans and the new MyRA accounts, anybody who earns at least the amount in wages that they plan on contributing to a retirement account can start and contribute to some type of retirement savings vehicle. But merely increasing access to retirement accounts does not mean that households will contribute to them. The real question is, with the availability of so many types of accounts, why are workers not saving as much as they should, particularly those with lower incomes?
Dec 11, 2015
We at the National Center for Policy Analysis strongly oppose the proposed IRS rule that would have 501(c)3 charitable organizations collect social security numbers of donors who give $250 or more. Issuing this rule right before a presidential election year is not a coincidence.
While the proposed rule is voluntary, that is a weak argument for the rule itself. We are already able to "voluntarily" provide information to the IRS, so why does the IRS need to issue a new "voluntary" rule to allow Americans to do something we can already do? The only reason to issue this "voluntary" rule today is because it is the first step to becoming a mandatory rule in the future.
Requiring individuals to provide their social security numbers along with their charitable donation would violate one of the IRS's own recommendations to protect against identity theft. Why would the IRS want to put individuals at increased risk of identity theft? Why would the IRS want to increase the other risks associated with compromised privacy?
Americans have the right to support charities and causes they believe in. The IRS does not need more regulation in this area. Instead of issuing this rule, the IRS ought to increase regulation of its own unlawful behavior.
The IRS engaged in systematic targeting of organizations and individuals whose beliefs and missions did not align with this current administration's agenda. Then, the IRS spent a considerable amount of energy trying to cover their unlawful behavior, even going as far as lying to Congress. And now the IRS wants NCPA donors to give their social security numbers when they donate? This can only lead to more IRS abuse heaped on law-abiding American citizens.
Not only is the proposed regulation unnecessary, it is dangerous. We strongly urge the IRS to abandon this proposed rule.