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December 2011 Supplement of the Taxpayer‘s Tab

by Dan Barrett / /

With 228 House and Senate bills scored by NTUF in December, taxpayers are getting a clearer, more complete picture of what Congress plans to do with Americas’ checkbook. We released a wealth of data in the latest Taxpayer’s Tab -- NTU Foundation’s weekly research update -- including the top spending and savings bills, each agenda’s net proposed spending agenda, the officials who proposed the most bills, and which bills were the most cosponsored. All of the scored legislation was scored but not necessarily introduced in December.

Along with the Tab’s treasure trove of data, I wanted to give followers of Government Bytes some more information NTUF compiled in the past month.

Average Supporters

By using some fantastic raw data from GovTrack, we found that more House members on average supported more spending increase bills than spending cut or savings bills. However, delving into the details reveals a partisan trend. The average Democratic Representative sponsored or cosponsored one cut bill for every nine spending increase bills. In contrast, the average House Republican supported more savings bills versus the cost bills, a difference of 60 percent. This means that Republicans supported a mix of spending and cuts whereas Democrats are almost wholly lending their names to more spending.

House Sponsorships and Cosponsorships Scored by NTUF in December 2011
  Number of Bills Average Democrat Supporters Average Republican Supporters Total Number of Average Supporters
Spending Increase Bills 38 9.1 2.8 11.9
Spending Cut Bills 3 1.0 4.7 5.7
No Net Cost Bills 95 4.7 8.2 12.9
Excluded Bills* 9 3.2 11.1 14.3
Total 145 5.7 6.9 12.6

* Excluded Bills are not applicable under BillTally Methodology
Source: NTUF BillTally System

NTUF found that on average more Senators sponsored or cosponsored spending cut bills (14.8 for five bills). Such a small total number of savings bills does discount some of the significance but it does show that the Senate as a whole is supporting more savings bills, regardless of party. Spending increase bills scored in December were much more likely to be backed by Democrats rather than their Republican colleagues.

Senate Sponsorships and Cosponsorships Scored by NTUF in December 2011
  Number of Bills Average Democrat Supporters Average Republican Supporters Average Independent Supporters Total Number of Average Supporters
Spending Increase Bills 26 4.2 0.7 0.1 5.0
Spending Cut Bills 5 5.0 9.8 0.0 14.8
No Net Cost Bills 50 2.0 1.9 0.0 3.9
Excluded Bills* 2 0.5 4.0 0.5 5.0
Total 83 2.8 2.0 0.1 4.9

* Excluded Bills are not applicable under BillTally Methodology
Source: NTUF BillTally System

Growing Number of Savers

While some taxpayers may not feel cozy with a summary of “spending is still being proposed but in fewer instances,” there is something of a silver lining. Seventeen members of the House and 70 Senators supported at least one of the eight savings proposals. Such a consensus can be built upon in the future to not only ensure tax dollars are being spent effectively but that they are spent sparingly. If you’re wondering about what savings bills have been proposed and scored so far in the 112th Congress, check out NTUF’s spending cut bills spreadsheet here.