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Republican Majority Brings Axe to 112th Congress, But Do They Need a Chainsaw? NTUF Study of Bill-Writing Has Clues
For Immediate Release
(Alexandria, VA) – Have hard-charging Members of the new House of Representatives brought a big enough axe to chop the federal deficit and debt down to size? The National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s (NTUF’s) BillTally report on legislation proposed during the first 100 days of the 112th Congress has some surprising answers.
“BillTally data so far confirms that after being let out of the woodshed by the electorate, the new House majority remembered to bring an axe to the budget debate,” said NTUF Senior Policy Analyst and BillTally Project Director Demian Brady. “However, the proportions of the task facing them may in fact warrant a chainsaw.”
Since 1991, the BillTally cost accounting system 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.
According to Brady, NTUF’s special 100-Day BillTally report shows that indeed the GOP-controlled House of Representatives has proposed even more spending reductions (in total dollars adjusted for inflation) than the “revolutionary” 104th Congress led by Newt Gingrich. Yet, these cuts would only erase less than one-fifth of this year’s budget shortfall, compared to roughly three-fourths of the 1995 deficit that legislation introduced in the 104th Congress would have slashed.
Other key findings include:
“Americans who hoped to see Congress address budget shortfalls through spending reductions rather than tax increases can take some encouragement in the BillTally findings, yet they are left to wonder if lawmakers have brought sufficient tools for the job,” Brady concluded. “In a fiscal landscape crowded with towering deficits as far as the eye can see, neither scalpels nor even axes seem adequate.”
NTUF Policy Paper 169, Out of the Woodshed – But Did They Bring Their Axe? The House of Representatives Under the Republican Majority Through the First 100 Days is available at www.ntu.org. Updates on BillTally data for the current Congress are provided through a weekly e-newsletter, The Taxpayer’s Tab. Click here to subscribe. NTUF is the research affiliate of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union, a non-profit taxpayer advocacy group founded in 1969. Click here for more information on the BillTally system.