|Dedicated to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax and spending policies affect them.||Home | Donate | RSS | Log in|
Study: Congress's Deluge of New Spending Bills Receding, But Fiscal Floodwaters Remain High
For Immediate Release July 30, 2007
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700
(Alexandria, VA) -- Will federal lawmakers follow the pattern of the past three Congresses by advocating more spending cut legislation to pay for their wish lists? This and other budget policy questions are explored in the latest BillTally report from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF). Even though the number of spending reduction proposals introduced in the House and Senate during 2005 and 2006 rose by 15 percent, spending hikes continued to dwarf cuts by a ratio of 20 to 1.
"After years of plowing forward at flank speed, sponsorship of new spending bills from most Members of Congress seems to be slowly reversing course," said NTUF Senior Policy Analyst and BillTally director Demian Brady. "Yet, the fiscal ship of state is still far away from making the 180-degree turn that would balance budget-hike proposals with offsetting budget cuts elsewhere."
Since 1991, BillTally has computed a "net annual agenda" for each Congress Member based on individual sponsorships or cosponsorships of legislation. The study 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 or are calculated from neutral data. In the 109th Congress, NTUF identified 2,433 House and Senate bills with a budget impact of plus or minus $1 million (2,317 proposed increases while 116 proposed cuts). Highlights include:
Brady noted that BillTally results offer clues for taxpayers to use in evaluating whether the new majority in Congress will follow through on promises of fiscal discipline - by reducing spending, as opposed to raising taxes or adding to the deficit. For example, far from being solely a Republican concern, the average Member of either major party supported nearly the same number of savings bills. Brady believes that an often overlooked measurement is on the other side of the ledger -- Democrats typically sponsored roughly twice as many bills to increase spending in both Chambers, compared to Republicans.
"Even though the course of federal spending agendas seems to be turning toward a brighter horizon, lawmakers have yet to take full control of the rudder on America's fiscal ship of state," Brady concluded. "Taxpayers are wondering whether this critical vessel is headed 'three sheets to the wind,' and whether lawmakers will look for more ways to trim the budget rather than add to it."
NTUF is the non-partisan research arm of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union, a citizen group founded in 1969. Note: NTU Foundation BillTally Report 109-3, along with data for individual lawmakers, is available at www.ntu.org.