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112th Congress Muffled Washington’s Spending Boom, New Study of Fiscal Legislation Reveals
For Immediate Release May 28, 2013
Douglas Kellogg, (703) 683-5700
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700
(Alexandria, VA) – Today, National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) released its complete BillTally report for the 112th Congress. Among a host of key findings from this unique, exclusive project, BillTally discovered that across both parties and both chambers of Congress, the legislative agenda of the 112th took a turn away from big spending, despite significant disagreement.
From trillion-dollar proposals to expand government’s role in health care to plans for a second “stimulus” package, the 112th Congress proposed more than $2.5 trillion worth of budget increases and $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. NTUF’s BillTally report covers all the fiscal facts and figures from lawmakers’ basic bill-writing behavior that shed light on the most important policy challenges of our time.
“Our new BillTally analysis shows the electoral response to Washington’s record spending trends did stem the flow of budget increases over the past two years,” said NTUF Director of Research Demian Brady. “Even though BillTally data can say as much about past Congresses as the most recent one, there’s no denying lawmakers' agendas have shifted toward cuts and more moderate spending agendas.”
BillTally is the most methodical and comprehensive study of Congressional spending legislation. Since 1991, the NTUF project has computed a “net annual agenda” based on each Senator’s or Representative’s individual sponsorship or co-sponsorship of legislation. This unique approach provides an in-depth look at the fiscal behavior of lawmakers, free from the influence of committees, party leaders, and rules surrounding floor votes. All cost estimates for bills are obtained from third-party sources, Congress Members’ offices, or are calculated from neutral data.
Highlights from NTUF’s report on the 112th Congress include:
“We are seeing that most Members of Congress have scaled back the cost of their legislative agendas. However, there is a growing polarity between those calling for more spending and those who are ‘net cutters’. Because of this, a lot of budget cuts were left on the table at the conclusion of the 112th Congress. Without bipartisan agreement to enact some real spending restraint, deficits will flourish and higher tax burdens will likely follow.” Brady concluded.
NTUF is the research affiliate of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union, a non-profit taxpayer advocacy group founded in 1969. Note: For additional analyses of past Presidential budget proposals and State of the Union speeches, visit www.ntu.org.