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Policy Paper


The 108th Congress: Rising Floodwaters or a Change in the Tide?
Policy Paper No. 155 -- BillTally Report 108-3

May 5, 2005
By Demian Brady

The two years of the 108th Congress spanning 2003 and 2004 provided further evidence of a bipartisan consensus in the Capitol. Despite the return of record deficits and the ongoing hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, an examination of the spending agendas proposed by Members of Congress reveals an intent among most Republicans and Democrats to expand the size and scope of the federal government. Underlying the debate of policy details is a widespread agreement to grow the budget, although one remaining point of contention is how quickly it should grow: at merely full-throttle or at light speed?

Although both the quantity and cost of spending initiatives were generally on the rise during the 108th Congress, there were a few signs of hope for taxpayers looking for fiscal discipline from their government. While many Members called for record high levels of spending, some stood apart from their colleagues by offering proposals to actually decrease federal outlays. There are also indications that Members' average net spending agendas, which rose in sync with the budget surpluses, may be beginning a downward trend in a lagging response to concern over forecasts of red ink.

This report summarizes data from NTUF's BillTally accounting software, which studies the cost or savings of all legislation introduced in the 108th Congress that affects federal spending by at least $1 million. Agenda totals for individual lawmakers were developed by cross-indexing their sponsorship and cosponsorship records with cost estimates for 1,406 House bills and 1,075 Senate bills under BillTally accounting rules that prevent the double counting of overlapping proposals. All sponsorship and cost data in this report were reviewed confidentially by each Congressional office prior to publication. Appendix A lists all Members alphabetically, Appendix B lists Members by state delegation, and Appendix C gives a thorough explanation of the BillTally methodology.[1]

I. Key Findings

  • During the 108th Congress, 1,343 House and 1,040 Senate bills to increase spending were introduced – a record since the advent of the BillTally. The number of bills to cut spending climbed from the record low levels in the previous Congress to 63 in the House and 35 in the Senate. This trend helped lower the ratio of spending increase bills to decrease bills from its previous high. In the House, for each bill to lower spending there were over 21 bills to raise spending. In the Senate, there were nearly 30 increase bills for each savings bill introduced.
  • If every bill (including overlapping legislation) before the Senate were passed into law, federal spending would rise by a net of $1.2 trillion each year, or $10,843 per household. Bills before the House would cumulatively cause spending to soar by $5.8 trillion, or $52,223 per household.[2]
  • In the Senate, for each $1 saved from legislation that would reduce spending, $14.54 in new spending was introduced. In the House, each $1 of savings proposed in legislation was outpaced by $44.86 in spending increases
  • In the House, the typical Representative of either party proposed record high net spending agendas during the 108th Congress, breaking the levels set in the previous Congress. The average Republican called for $35 billion in new spending and the average Democrat called for $521.0 billion. While the cost of the increase bills sponsored by the average Republican actually decreased by nearly $7 billion from the level in the 107th Congress, the total savings from spending cuts shrunk by an even greater amount from $13.9 billion previously to $4.2 billion. Democrats proposed cuts averaging $171 million.
  • The amount of savings called for by the typical Democrat would offset just 0.03 percent of the spending hikes that Democrats, on average, advocated. In comparison, Republicans proposed average savings that would offset 11 percent of their proposed spending hikes.
  • Unlike their House colleagues, the typical Senator of either party proposed more savings than he or she did in the previous Congress. But for the average Democrat Senator, this rise in savings did not keep pace with the increase of new spending proposals. The amount of savings that were sponsored ($465 million), would only offset 0.3 percent of the proposed increases ($158.0 billion).
  • The net agenda of the average Republican Senator shrunk by $525 million (or 1.5 percent) from the record high set in the 107th Congress. This decline reverses the trend in place since the 103rd Congress whereby more spending was proposed in each successive Congress. The drop in the net agenda can be attributed to a rise in the total of proposed cuts to $2.5 billion, which would offset 6.9 percent of the total of proposed spending increases ($36.2 billion).
  • Nine Representatives and three Senators sponsored legislation whose net effect would be to reduce spending. On the other hand, 190 Representatives (over 40 percent of the House) and 30 Senators proposed legislation that would result in outlay increases greater than $100 billion annually.
  • All Senate freshmen and House Democrat newcomers proposed less spending than their longer serving colleagues while House Republican freshmen proposed spending that was one percent higher than returning Republicans.
  • Representatives who belong to either the "Blue Dog" Democrats or Republican Study Committee – caucuses which identify themselves as "fiscally conservative" – proposed, on average, less spending and more savings than their colleagues.

  • Regardless of party, Senators and Representatives from so-called "blue" states proposed, on average, more spending than Senators and Representatives elected from "red" states.

II. Analysis of Findings

A. Members' Wish Lists

A Senator's or Representative's record of authored and sponsored bills can be viewed as his or her legislative wish list. By tabulating the cost and/or savings of all of the bills which a Member has officially endorsed, taxpayers and constituents can gain a better understanding of the policy interests as well as the guiding budgetary philosophies of their elected representatives.

Table 1. Bill Introduction Rates and Number of Scored Bills in the Past Seven Congresses

Congress

Scored Bills

Spending Increase Bills

Spending Decrease Bills

Ratio of Increase Bills to Decrease Bills

House

102nd

1304

1087

217

5.00

103rd

1399

941

458

2.05

104th

796

496

300

1.65

105th

855

657

198

3.32

106th

810

734

76

9.66

107th

1186

1138

48

23.71

108th

1406

1343

63

21.32

Senate

102nd

756

641

115

5.57

103rd

729

548

181

3.03

104th

410

278

132

2.10

105th

548

481

67

7.18

106th

643

593

50

11.86

107th

851

828

23

36.00

108th

1075

1040

35

29.71

Among the 10,670 bills and resolutions introduced during the 108th Congress,[3] NTUF analysts identified 1,343 House and 1,040 Senate measures to increase spending (See Table 1).[4] This is the highest number of spending bills introduced in a Congress since the advent of the BillTally tracking program. The lowest number introduced in each Chamber occurred in the historic 104th Congress. In each Congress since then, the number of spending bills has steadily increased: In the House, there were nearly three times as many spending bills proposed in the 108th than there were in the 104th Congress while in the Senate, there were close to four times as many spending increase bills.

Despite the sharp rise in new spending initiatives, the ratio of increase bills to decrease bills actually declined slightly from the peak levels reached during the 107th. This ratio grew in each successive Congress between 1996 and 2003 as Member advocacy of new expenditures climbed and advocacy of savings dropped off. For example, during the 104th Congress

house-bills

senate-bills

(1995-96) Representatives and Senators drafted 432 bills to save taxpayers money, and for each of these savings proposals there were approximately two bills to increase outlays. In contrast, during the 108th, all Members combined introduced a total of 95 savings bills. Even though total federal outlays have increased by 25 percent from 1996 to 2004 (in constant dollars),[5] the number of savings bills declined by 78 percent.

While the 95 proposals introduced over the 2003-04 period did mark a turnabout from the record low number of cuts offered in 2001-02 (48 in the House and 23 in the Senate), these savings bills were nonetheless crowded out by the quantity of spending proposals. For every bill in the House to reduce outlays, there were over 21 to increase spending. In the Senate, there were nearly 30 spending bills for each savings bill. Although taxpayers may find some solace in the fact that these ratios dropped from their record highs in the 107th Congress (see Figures 1 and 2), most Representatives and Senators will have to work a lot harder at seeking savings and reining in their will to spend before this ratio becomes more balanced.

B. Adding It Up

1. In the House of Representatives

Tables 2 and 3 (below) show how the cost of the legislative wish lists drafted by the typical Republican or Democrat would affect the federal budget. In the House, the typical Representative of either party proposed record high net spending agendas during the 108th Congress, breaking the levels set in the previous Congress.

    Table 2. Average House Sponsorship of Legislation in the Past Seven Congresses by Party (in Millions)

    Congress

    Proposed Increases

    Proposed Cuts

    Net Agenda

    Democrats

    102nd

    $123,982

    ($5,786)

    $118,195

    103rd

    $293,367

    ($23,393)

    $269,973

    104th

    $175,208

    ($10,123)

    $165,085

    105th

    $115,024

    ($2,871)

    $112,152

    106th

    $60,544

    ($1,171)

    $58,833

    107th

    $418,428

    ($864)

    $417,564

    108th

    $521,158

    ($171)

    $520,987

    Republicans

    102nd

    $19,917

    ($9,602)

    $10,314

    103rd

    $39,523

    ($62,394)

    ($22,871)

    104th

    $8,162

    ($26,638)

    ($18,476)

    105th

    $14,297

    ($16,366)

    ($2,069)

    106th

    $25,110

    ($20,470)

    $4,620

    107th

    $46,175

    ($13,887)

    $32,287

    108th

    $39,245

    ($4,245)

    $35,000

    Note: Totals may not add due to rounding. Averages exclude Members who are Independents.

    While the cost of the increase bills sponsored by the average Republican actually decreased by nearly $7 billion since the 107th Congress, the total savings from proposed spending cuts shrunk by an even greater amount (nearly $10 billion).

    Across the aisle, the average Democrat proposed to increase spending by over a half trillion dollars – nearly 15 times as much spending as the typical Republican. The 24.7 percent growth in the Democrat's net agenda was fueled by both a rise in spending increases and a decline of savings proposals, from $864 million in the 107th to $171 million. The amount of savings called for by the typical Democrat would offset just 0.03 percent of the spending hikes that Democrats, on average, advocated. In comparison, Republicans on average proposed savings that would offset 11 percent of sponsored spending hikes.

    The average savings resulting from the cut bills sponsored by Democrats and Republicans declined from the previous Congress even though there were more savings bills introduced. This occurred because sponsorship of savings bills by all House Members decreased by 21 percent since the last Congress: The 48 savings bills in the 107th Congress had a combined total of 1,457 overlapping sponsors. But the 63 cut bills introduced in the 108th Congress had 1,151 overlapping sponsorships. Similarly, there were 41 Members in the 108th without any savings bills on their legislative wish list (compared to 15 Representatives in the 107th), 101 Members with one savings bill (compared to 48 Members in the 107th), and 110 with two savings bills (compared to 95 in the 107th). Although there were fewer Members seeking savings, those who did were more active by introducing more bills. Still, in the final analysis, only one Representative sponsored more than ten measures to reduce spending (Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) sponsored 11 cut bills).

    2. In the Senate

    Unlike their House colleagues, the typical Senator of either party proposed more savings than they did in the previous Congress (see Table 3 below). But for the average Democratic Senator, this rise in savings did not keep pace with the increase of new spending proposals. The amount of savings that were sponsored ($465 million), would only offset 0.3 percent of the proposed increases ($157.6 billion). On average, Senate Democrats proposed net spending at levels 135 times higher than they did during the 104th Congress when they advocated a net of $1.2 billion in increases.

    The net agenda of the average Republican Senator shrank by $525 million (or 1.5 percent) from the record high set in the 107th Congress. This decline reverses the trend in motion since the 103rd Congress for higher net agendas in each subsequent Congress. The drop last year can be attributed to a rise in the total of proposed cuts to $2.5 billion, which would offset 6.9 percent of the total of proposed spending increases ($36.2 billion).

    Table 3. Average Senate Sponsorship of Legislation in the Past Seven Congresses by Party (in Millions)

    Congress

    Proposed Increases

    Proposed Cuts

    Net Agenda

    Democrats

    102nd

    $77,149

    ($5,449)

    $71,700

    103rd

    $212,869

    ($16,375)

    $196,494

    104th

    $6,399

    ($5,227)

    $1,171

    105th

    $39,301

    ($1,730)

    $37,571

    106th

    $57,395

    ($863)

    $56,531

    107th

    $151,158

    ($270)

    $150,887

    108th

    $158,052

    ($465)

    $157,588

    Republicans

    102nd

    $26,329

    ($9,847)

    $16,482

    103rd

    $45,343

    ($68,452)

    ($23,110)

    104th

    $8,233

    ($23,826)

    ($15,592)

    105th

    $17,196

    ($8,204)

    $8,992

    106th

    $21,681

    ($10,500)

    $11,181

    107th

    $34,371

    ($179)

    $34,192

    108th

    $36,175

    ($2,509)

    $33,667

    Note: Totals may not add due to rounding. Averages exclude Senators who are Independents.

    3. What Is Driving the Trend for More Spending Advocacy?

    As Table 4 (below) shows, the number of Representatives with net agendas to reduce federal spending has declined over the past several years from 92 to nine in the most recent Congress. Conversely, as the number of Members seeking to shrink the size of the government has contracted, the ranks of those who would raise spending by over $100 billion has grown. In the 106th there was one Member who proposed increasing spending over this level. In the most recent Congress there were 190 such Members – over 40 percent of the entire House, including five Republicans, one Independent, and 184 Democrats. Among this group were 40 Members who would increase spending by over a trillion dollars, including two with net agendas exceeding $2 trillion. An increase in the federal budget of this size would nearly double total federal outlays, which are estimated to exceed $2.48 trillion in fiscal year 2005.[6]

    A similar phenomenon occurred in the Senate as well, except that the number of Senators with net agendas to reduce spending rose from zero in the previous Congress to three in the 108th. The number of Senators with net spending agendas greater than $100 billion rose from zero in the 106th to nearly one-third of the Senate in the 108th (including 27 Democrats, two Republicans, and one Independent).

    In the House, Democrats' net agendas ranged from $33.6 billion (Rep. John Spratt (SC)) to over $2 trillion (Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (OH) and Del. Eleanor Norton (DC)). Republicans' ranged from a net agenda to lower spending by nearly $43 billion (Rep. Sue Myrick (NC)) to $150 billion in new spending (Rep. Steve LaTourette (OH)).

    Table 4. Total Number of Members with Net Agendas to Reduce Spending and Number of Members with Spending Agendas Greater than $100 Billion

    Congress

    Members with Net Agendas to Reduce Spending

    Members with Net Spending Agendas Greater than $100 Billion

    House

    106th

    92

    1

    107th

    26

    97

    108th

    9

    190

    Senate

    106th

    15

    0

    107th

    0

    27

    108th

    3

    30

    In the Senate, Republican spending agendas ranged from a net savings of nearly $25 billion (Sen. Larry Craig (ID)) to $112 billion in new spending (Sen. Olympia Snowe (ME)). The net spending agendas of Democrats in the upper chamber ranged from savings of $295 million (Sen. Russell Feingold (WI)) to new spending of $441 billion (Sen. Jon Corzine (NJ)).

    What is driving the general rise in net averages? One major factor is the cost of creating a universal health care entitlement, which several House Members have sponsored. Another is the ratio of spending bills to savings bills that Members are sponsoring. As Table 1 showed, in the space of nearly a decade this ratio has grown from roughly 2 to 1 for both chambers to 21 to 1 in the House and nearly 30 to 1 in the Senate. However, for Members in the 108th Congress with net agendas to increase outlays, the ratio of spending to savings bills is even higher: for every savings bill sponsored by Representatives with agendas greater than $100 billion there were 63 bills to increase spending. For those Members whose net agendas would cut spending, there were five spending bills per savings bill. Given such massive differences between a growing class of lawmakers with large spending agendas and a shrinking class of those with cost-saving agendas, it is only natural that the overall ratios would shift so dramatically.

    Table 5. Senators with Net Agendas to Reduce Spending in the 108th Congress (in Millions)

    Senator

    Net Agenda

    Craig (R-ID)

    ($24,956)

    Shelby (R-AL)

    ($22,805)

    Feingold (D-WI)

    ($295)


    Table 6. House Members with Net Agendas to Reduce Spending in the 108th Congress
    (in Millions)

    Representative

    Net Agenda

    Myrick (R-NC)

    ($42,968)

    Hensarling (R-TX)

    ($23,205)

    Hefley (R-CO)

    ($21,813)

    Crane (R-IL)

    ($16,465)

    Smith, N. (R-MI)

    ($10,387)

    Linder (R-GA)

    ($6,014)

    Lewis, J. (R-CA)

    ($4,917)

    Hostettler (R-IN)

    ($3,103)

    Chabot (R-OH)

    ($126)


    Table 7. Average Number of Sponsored Bills, by Party and Net Agenda

    Party/Net Agenda

    Average # of Bills to Increase Spending

    Average # of Bills to Decrease Spending

    Ratio of Increase Bills to Decrease Bills

    House

    Democrats

    119

    2

    59.5

    Republicans

    47

    3

    15.7

    Net Agenda Over $100 Billion

    127

    2

    63.5

    Net Agenda Between $0 and $100 Billion

    48

    3

    16.0

    Net Agenda Less Than $0

    26

    5

    5.2

    Senate

    Democrats

    104

    2

    52.0

    Republicans

    50

    1

    50.0

    Net Agenda Over $100 Billion

    130

    3

    43.3

    Net Agenda Between $0 and $100 Billion

    54

    1

    54.0

    Net Agenda Less Than $0

    36

    4

    9.0

    C. Length of Service and Net Agenda Levels

    During the 103rd and 104th Congresses, the House's record supported the contention of term limits proponents that taxpayers were better served by a regular rotation in office of elected officials. House net spending agendas were influenced by length of service: i.e., the longer a Representative served in office, the more net spending he or she proposed. Senate results, however, were generally inconclusive. The most recent data (see Table 8) shows that the newcomers to Congress, except Republican Representatives, produced, on average, lower spending agendas.

    For the House as a whole, returning Representatives proposed to increase spending by twice as much as their freshmen colleagues but this resulted because of the difference between new and returning Democrats. Republican newcomers proposed, on average, one percent more in spending than longer serving Republicans. One reason for this divergence from the general trend is that of the nine Republicans who produced net agendas to shrink federal outlays (see Table 5 above), only one was a freshman.

    In the Senate, the average net agenda of non-freshmen was over three times greater than newcomers. This difference held true regardless of party, however, the difference between the freshman Democrat ($289 billion, on average, of new spending) and returning Democrats ($547 billion) was greater than the difference between new and returning Republicans ($24 billion and $35 billion, respectively). All told, the net agenda of Republican freshmen was two-thirds the size of returning Republicans, while the net agenda of the sole Democrat non-returning freshman was half as much as the agenda of his colleagues.

    Table 8. Average Net Spending Agendas of Freshmen and Non-Freshmen in the 108th Congress, by Party (in Millions)

    All

    Democrats

    Republicans

    House

    Freshmen

    $133,899

    $288,810

    $35,320

    Non-Freshmen

    $290,543

    $546,785

    $34,946

    All

    $271,275

    $520,987

    $35,000

    Senate

    Freshmen

    $30,798

    $72,182

    $23,900

    Non-Freshmen

    $98,822

    $159,405

    $34,969

    All

    $94,060

    $157,588

    $33,667

    Note: Senate includes only first-term freshmen. Sen. Lautenberg (D-NJ), who has prior service in the Senate, was included with the non-freshmen. Sen. Pryor (AR) was the only freshman Democrat.

    As Figures 5 and 6 (below) indicate, during the first decade of a Congress Member's service, length of service corresponds with net agenda: more experience in office equates with higher spending agendas. After this time period, the average spending agenda of all but House Democrats drop off. This could be occurring because Members increase their areas of issue specialization or use their accrued clout and prestige to enact or influence policy through appropriations, amendments, or other methods besides bill sponsorship.

    house-sponsorship

    senate-sponsorship

    D. Comparing House Caucuses

    Once elected to Congress, a Representative has the option to join any of several Member caucuses that organize around a particular issue area and/or political philosophy. In these caucuses, Members can share ideas and coordinate strategy to promote or oppose particular legislation. Two such caucuses, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) and the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition (BDC), both claim to promote fiscal discipline within their respective parties. RSC states that it "organized for the purpose of advancing a conservative social and economic agenda in the House of Representatives,"[7] and Representative Baron Hill (D-IN), the former Communications Co-Chair for the BDC, stated that the Coalition is composed of "moderate-to-conservative Democrats who offer common-sense solutions and strongly advocate fiscal discipline."[8]

    While the average RSC and Blue Dog Member produced – in a finding that some taxpayers may consider contradictory to the espoused principles of the two caucuses – net agendas that would increase spending; nonetheless, their agendas did display relative constraint. The typical RSC Member proposed less spending and more savings than the average non-RSC Republican, and the same holds true when Blue Dogs are compared to other Democrats.

    Table 9. Average Spending Agendas by Caucuses and Member Organizations in the 108th Congress (in Millions)

    Caucus

    Proposed Cuts

    Proposed Increases

    Net Agenda

    Republican Study Committee

    ($6,811)

    $37,914

    $31,102

    All Other Republicans

    ($2,632)

    $40,082

    $37,450

    Blue Dog Democrats

    ($438)

    $147,489

    $147,050

    Non-Blue Dog Democrats

    ($113)

    $601,076

    $600,962

    Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)

    ($110)

    $1,146,188

    $1,146,078

    Non CBC-Democrats

    ($184)

    $383,070

    $382,886

    Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC)

    ($42)

    $567,932

    $567,890

    Non CHC-Democrats

    ($184)

    $516,234

    $516,050

    Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues

    ($1,767)

    $575,311

    $573,545

    All Other Representatives

    ($2,356)

    $233,899

    $231,543

    Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.

    If being "fiscally conservative" means that a Representative or Senator has a smaller net spending agenda than his or her peers and having a larger agenda is "fiscally liberal," then the 38 Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) – all of whom are Democrats – compiled some of the most "fiscally liberal" net spending agendas within the Democratic party. The typical CBC Democrat had a net annual spending agenda that was nearly three times larger than all other Democrats.[9] Meanwhile, the typical Representative in the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues, which is comprised of Members from both parties, had a net spending agenda that was nearly two and one-half times larger than the average agenda

    E. Blue States vs. Red States

    The Presidential elections in 2000 and 2004 were closely fought races that each came down to a handful of battleground states. In examining the state-by-state results, analysts divided the nation into "red" states which supported President Bush and were deemed to lean conservative, and "blue" states which voted for the Democratic challenger in 2004 (Senator John Kerry) and were deemed to lean liberal. Much was made of a recent Tax Foundation study tracking the distribution of federal outlays among the states. The data runs counter to the expected results: in general red states are beneficiaries of federal outlays, whereas blue states are net contributors of federal taxes.[11] However, an examination of the net spending agendas in the 108th Congress shows that Representatives and Senators from the blue states called for more new federal spending than members from red states (see Figures 7 and 8 below). Blue state Representatives advocated over twice as much spending as their red state counterparts. Senators from blue states sought nearly three times as much spending as those from red states.

    This distinction also held true within the parties, as blue state Democrats proposed more spending than red state Democrats and blue state Republicans tended to advocate more new spending than red state Republicans. Of the nine Representatives whose agenda would trim the federal budget (as shown in Table 6 above), six were from red states. Of the three budget-cutters in the Senate (see Table 5 above), two were from red states. Conversely, among the Representatives with the ten largest net spending agendas, seven were from blue states. Nine of the ten Senators with the largest net spending agendas were from blue states.

    house-red-blue

    senate-red-blue

    F. How Members Would Spend and Save Your Tax Dollars

    As seen in Table 10 (below), on average each House bill (at $4.4 billion) cost more than a given Senate bill ($1.2 billion). This is mostly due to several universal health care proposals with several sponsors in the House. When the "Public Health Services/Research" category is excluded from the tabulation, the averages are not as far apart ($1.6 billion in the House compared to $1.3 billion in the Senate). In both chambers, entitlement and social spending categories have a total cost greater than proposals included in either national defense or homeland security. The three categories with the largest total cost in the House were public health services and research ($3.99 trillion), entitlement spending for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security ($483 billion), and child related programs ($233 billion, excludes education). National defense spending ranked seventh, (excluding miscellaneous spending) at $131 billion and homeland security spending ranked ninth at $74 billion. In the Senate, proposals for child care spending had the highest total cost ($207 billion) followed by economic stimulus packages (mainly state bailout plans and other bills designed to expand the economy) at $202 billion, followed by spending for welfare and "unemployment compensation" at $167 billion. Proposals for national defense totaled $80 billion and homeland security totaled $62 billion (fifth and sixth place).

    The categories for the savings bills of the 108th Congress are detailed in Table 11. The largest savings bills in both chambers included in this study were proposals to scrap the current Tax Code and replace it with either a flat tax or a national sales tax. The savings would result from the elimination of the chapter of the Internal Revenue Code that contains so-called refundable tax credits. If the level of a refundable credit exceeds the amount of taxes owed, the tax filer will receive a check from the Internal Revenue Service for the difference.[12] Due to successive changes in the tax law passed over the last several years, the payment of refundable credits (which are accounted for as budget outlays) has grown from $19 billion in the 106th Congress to over $40 billion in 2004.[13]

    Table 10. Cost and Count of All Spending Increase Bills by Category in the House and Senate (Dollar Figures in Millions)

    House

    Senate

    Category

    Total Cost

    # of Measures

    Average Cost Per Measure

    Total Cost

    # of Measures

    Average Cost Per Measure

    Agriculture

    $40,031

    28

    $1,430

    $25,006

    15

    $1,667

    Child Health Care/Child Related Programs

    $232,741

    46

    $5,060

    $207,186

    39

    $5,312

    Economic Stimulus

    $168,399

    18

    $9,356

    $201,948

    15

    $13,463

    Education

    $119,404

    91

    $1,312

    $77,311

    76

    $1,017

    Energy

    $33,348

    30

    $1,112

    $26,594

    22

    $1,209

    Environment/ Conservation

    $20,548

    126

    $163

    $23,808

    105

    $227

    Foreign Affairs/Foreign Aid

    $29,007

    55

    $527

    $55,384

    45

    $1,231

    Homeland Security

    $74,049

    66

    $1,122

    $61,892

    59

    $1,049

    Housing

    $10,374

    17

    $610

    $6,247

    13

    $481

    Infrastructure/ Transportation

    $136,055

    53

    $2,567

    $35,860

    26

    $1,379

    Interior/Land Management

    $3,263

    95

    $34

    $1,228

    73

    $17

    Law Enforcement/ Courts

    $10,878

    87

    $125

    $4,779

    80

    $60

    Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security

    $483,485

    87

    $5,557

    $166,630

    58

    $2,873

    Miscellaneous

    $219,693

    280

    $785

    $53,618

    222

    $242

    National Defense

    $130,940

    39

    $3,357

    $79,742

    26

    $3,067

    Public Health Services/Research

    $3,985,315

    124

    $32,140

    $57,869

    101

    $573

    Veterans

    $59,921

    74

    $810

    $43,413

    44

    $987

    Welfare

    $186,313

    41

    $4,544

    $167,226

    36

    $4,645

    Grand Total

    $5,943,764

    1,357

    $4,380

    $1,295,741

    1,055

    $1,228

    Note: 1) Overlapping measures are not offset against each other. 2) A few large bills containing spending in multiple categories were split up and included in the relevant spending category for this chart. 3) Totals may not add due to rounding.


    Table 11. Cost and Count of All Savings Bills by Category in the House and Senate (Dollar Figures in Millions)

    House

    Senate

    Category

    Total Savings

    # of Bills

    Average Savings Per Bill

    Total Savings

    # of Bills

    Average Savings Per Bill

    Agriculture

    ($348)

    5

    ($70)

    ($1,312)

    5

    ($262)

    Child Health Care/Child Related Programs

    ($47)

    1

    ($47)

    ($47)

    1

    ($47)

    Education

    ($71)

    3

    ($24)

    ($4)

    1

    ($4)

    Energy

    ($3)

    1

    ($3)

    $0

    0

    $0

    Foreign Affairs/Foreign Aid

    ($1,575)

    3

    ($525)

    $0

    0

    $0

    Homeland Security

    ($102)

    1

    ($102)

    ($137)

    1

    ($137)

    Housing

    ($2)

    1

    ($2)

    $0

    0

    $0

    Infrastructure/
    Transportation

    ($545)

    2

    ($273)

    $0

    0

    $0

    Interior/ Parks/Land Management

    ($457)

    4

    ($114)

    ($104)

    2

    ($52)

    Internal Revenue Code Reform

    ($91,052)

    4

    ($22,763)

    ($81,912)

    3

    ($27,304)

    Law Enforcement/Courts

    $0

    0

    $0

    ($66)

    3

    ($22)

    Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security

    ($320)

    3

    ($107)

    ($4,135)

    5

    ($827)

    Miscellaneous

    ($32,857)

    19

    ($1,729)

    ($542)

    7

    ($77)

    National Defense

    ($1,516)

    5

    ($303)

    ($425)

    2

    ($213)

    Public Health Services/Research

    ($3,419)

    5

    ($684)

    ($360)

    3

    ($120)

    Veterans

    ($180)

    4

    ($45)

    ($41)

    1

    ($41)

    Welfare

    ($14)

    2

    ($7)

    ($10)

    1

    ($10)

    Grand Total

    ($132,508)

    63

    ($2,103)

    ($89,095)

    35

    ($2,546)

    Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.

    III. Conclusion

    "The budget situation of the United States is becoming surreal...red ink as far as the eye can see."
    Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND)[14]

    "I look forward to working with Congress on fiscal restraint. And it's not going to be easy."
    President George W. Bush[15]

    One major factor behind the growth of the deficits is the amount of new spending being called for in the halls of Congress. The steady rise in the cost of the agendas proposed by Members since the 104th Congress happened because of a general decline of the will to control spending, as lawmakers sought to convert the then existing surpluses into new federal programs. There are some lagging signs that total agenda levels may have peaked and that Members are beginning to adjust their spending and savings priorities to the new fiscal environment. Thus far the changes have only been small ripples in a sea of red ink; only the future will show whether the tide is truly turning.

    Demian S. Brady


    Senior Policy Analyst

    Research information was compiled with the assistance of Policy Analyst Elizabeth Terrell, former Policy Analyst Drew Johnson and Associate Policy Analysts Tim Agan, Matthew Bailey, Arzu Cerrahoglu, Charles Clarke, Steve Chapman, Evan Faulkner, Ryan Kool, Kathryn Landuyt, Peter Lattin, Kristin Lynch, Alex Pagon, Aaron Peterson, Tim Reilly, Richard Reinhart, Scott Robinson, Joseph Smalls, and Jim Tyrell.

    End Notes

      [1] Members who resigned or did not serve at least a complete Session were excluded from the study. Those Representatives include Representatives William Janklow (R-SD), Larry Combest (R-TX), Stephanie Herseth (D-SD), Ernest Fletcher (R-KY), and George Butterfield (R-NC). Rep. Ralph Hall (TX) switched to the Republican Party in January 2004, after the conclusion of the First Session. For this study, his comprehensive record is included with the Republicans. Also, Rep. Rodney Alexander (LA) switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican on August 9, 2004. For this report, he is included with the Democrats.

      [2] "No. 57: Households and Persons per Household by Type of Household: 1990 to 2003," Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2004-2005 (124th Edition), (Washington: U.S. Census Bureau, 2004). Pg. 50.

      [3] "Resume of Congressional Activity: First Session of the One Hundred Eighth Congress," Congressional Record-Daily Digest. (15 Feb. 2005). D96. "Resume of Congressional Activity: Second Session of the One Hundred Eighth Congress," Congressional Record-Daily Digest. (15 Feb. 2005). D97.

      [4] The number of spending items excludes the regular Appropriations bills. For more information on the methodology, see Appendix C.

      [5] "Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits in Current Dollars, Constant (FY 2000) Dollars, and as Percentages of GDP: 1940-2010," Historical Tables – Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2006 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2005). Pg. 26.

      [6] "Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits: 1789-2010," Historical Tables – Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2006 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2005). Pg. 22.

      [9] For more information on the caucus and its Members, see its 108th Congress web site home at http://www.house.gov/cummings/cbc/cbchome.htm.

      [10] See http://www.womenspolicy.org/caucus/. Member list was obtained from Leadership Directories, Inc. and by contacting Member offices.

      [11] Sumeet Sagoo, "Federal Tax Burdens and Expenditures by State: Which States Gain Most from Federal Fiscal Operations?," Tax Foundation, Special Report #132, December 2004.

      [12] For our estimates of refundable credits, we only count the portion of the credit that is "refunded."

      [13] Budget of the U.S. Government Fiscal Year 2005, (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2004). Pg. 279.

      [14] Sheryl Gay Stolberg and David D. Kirkpatrick, "G.O.P. Senators Balk at Tax Cuts in Bush's Budget," The New York Times, March 10, 2005.

      [15] "Bush Mulls Spending Freeze," Associated Press, December 17, 2004.