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Budget-Cutting Legislation Back in Style with Congress, but How Big Is the Trend? New BillTally Analysis Offers Clues
For Immediate Release May 15, 2012
Douglas Kellogg, (703) 683-5700
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700
From the “Super Committee” to the Tea Party Caucus, federal budget reductions remain a hot topic of conversation among Members of Congress, but what is the reality behind the rhetoric? The National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s new BillTally report on the first year of the 112th Congress provides facts and figures on lawmakers’ bill-writing behavior that shed light on the most important policy challenge of our time.
“Many of the newcomers as well as returning veterans to Congress brought with them a stack of campaign-trail pledges to pare back federal spending – pledges they hoped would translate into a genuine shift of policy,” said NTUF Senior Policy Analyst and BillTally Project Director Demian Brady. “The latest BillTally analysis shows that such a shift has indeed taken place in both the number and amount of proposals to trim outlays, even as deficit-conscious Americans await actual enactment of such proposals into law."
Click on the image below or follow the link HERE for the full BillTally report:
BillTally is the most methodical and comprehensive study of Congressional spending legislation. Since 1991, BillTally 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.
Despite a House introducing spending reductions second only to the revolutionary 1995 Congress, and new Caucuses like the “Tea Party” adding to momentum for stricter budgeting; high-cost proposals – particularly related to health care – would still boost the debt and deficit by trillions, while cuts totaled in the hundreds of billions.
Highlights from the First Session of the 112th Congress include:
“Though many budget battles of 2011 ended in a collective deadlock for Congress, behind the scenes many lawmakers were individually pursuing authorship and support for savings rather than spending legislation,” Brady concluded.
“Taxpayers concerned with fiscal discipline will take heart from this trend, but will also take note of Washington’s continuing inability to enact serious budget reform.”
A searchable BillTally database for individual Senators and Representatives is available at ntu.org/ntuf/billtally.html