Government Bytes


Congressional Caucuses by the Numbers

by Michael Tasselmyer / /

On Tuesday, the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) released its latest BillTally report for the complete 112th U.S. Congress. BillTally is a legislative accounting project that tracks the cost of all spending or savings proposals introduced in Congress. By cross-indexing that data with the bills each Member of Congress sponsored or co-sponsored, NTUF is able to generate individual Member reports that show how the legislation they sponsored would affect the federal budget. This gives taxpayers a unique insight into the fiscal policies their Senators and Representatives in Washington are pursuing. The information is provided solely for informational and educational purposes.

Using the latest data, NTUF was able to break down the net spending agendas of some of the fiscal policy-oriented House Congressional caucuses that Members are able to join when they arrive in D.C., including:

  • the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition (BDC);
  • the Republican Main Street Partnership;
  • the Republican Study Committee; and
  • the Tea Party Caucus.

Such groups offer Members an opportunity to share and discuss ideas related to a common political philosophy or goal. These four caucuses, in particular, all stress fiscal restraint to some degree when it comes to their respective policy goals. Their Members' net BillTally spending agendas are shown in the graph below:

As the chart shows, the Tea Party Caucus -- the newest of the four -- offered $234 billion in net budget cuts, more than any of the others and substantially more than the average House Republican agenda of $169 billion in cuts.

The Blue Dog Democrats proposed more spending compared to their Republican counterparts, but over $470 billion less than the average House Democrat. However, the BDC's membership has dwindled significantly -- they lost 26 of 54 Members going into the 112th Congress, and now stand at just 15 Members in the 113th Congress. The Congressional Progressive Caucus, meanwhile, had 76 members in the 112th Congress and a net spending agenda of just under $1.3 trillion, almost twice that of the average House Democrat and almost 12 times as high as the Blue Dogs' net agenda.

To read the full BillTally report, follow the link here. You can look up individual Member reports in both the House and Senate by clicking here.