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Senate Defeat of Cut, Cap, & Balance Not Surprising Given Fiscal Records
July 22, 2011
Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stated, "The Republicans' so-called Cut, Cap and Balance plan doesn't have one chance in a million to pass the Senate." And, today the measure was killed on a motion to table by a vote of 51 to 46. Three Senators did not vote. While this result might not have been much of a surprise to anyone, a quick look at the fiscal record of Senators from the previous Congress suggests that the outcome was determined before the vote was even taken.
As they say in the financial industry, past performance is not an indication of future behavior, but a review of BillTally data for those Senators who served in the Senate during the 111th Congress shows that they might not have been inclined to support Cut, Cap, and Balance. Eighty-three Senators who served in the previous Congress, and who were included in the BillTally data set for that Congress, are still serving. (NTUF's BillTally program computes a net legislative spending agenda for each Member of Congress by analyzing the costs – and savings – of the bills that Members sponsor and cosponsor.)
Those who voted to consider Cut, Cap, and Balance had, on average, a net spending agenda of $10.3 billion in the previous Congress. Those who voted to kill Cut, Cap, and Balance had, on average, a net spending agenda of $214.9 billion. The chart below breaks out net spending agendas by party.
It seems difficult to believe that Senators would support Cut, Cap, and Balance if their prior fiscal agendas were about growing, expanding, and ballooning the size of the federal government.
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