Has the New House Majority Backed Bigger Spending Cuts?

Jun 13, 2011, 16:09 ET from National Taxpayers Union Foundation

NTUF Study of Bill-Writing Has Clues

ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Have Members of the new House of Representatives brought a big enough axe to chop the federal deficit 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.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101022/NTULOGO)

Since 1991, the BillTally cost accounting system has computed a "net annual agenda" based on each lawmaker's individual sponsorship or co-sponsorship of legislation.  This provides a unique look at the fiscal behavior of Congress Members, free from the influence of committees, party leaders, and rules surrounding floor votes. Cost estimates for bills are obtained from third-party sources or are calculated from neutral data.

Findings include:

  • The new House of Representatives has proposed more spending reductions (in total dollars adjusted for inflation) than the "revolutionary" 104th Congress. 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 in the 104th Congress would have slashed.
  • In the first 100 days, House Members drafted roughly five bills to boost expenditures for every bill that would shrink them. This is drastically smaller than the 27 to 1 margin in the 111th Congress but still does not equal the 2 to 1 ratio reached in the 104th.
  • The average Republican sought $63 billion in net savings. In early 2009, the GOP agenda was $1.6 billion in net increases.
  • The House's Tea Party Caucus stands out averaging $99.1 billion in spending reductions.
  • The typical Democrat sought $6.3 billion in net expenditure hikes, much less than the $44.7 billion proposed during the same period in the 111th.

"BillTally data 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 Demian Brady. "However, the proportions of the task facing them may in fact warrant a chainsaw."

NTUF is the research affiliate of the National Taxpayers Union, a non-profit taxpayer advocacy group founded in 1969. The full 100-day analysis is available at www.ntu.org/ntuf.

SOURCE National Taxpayers Union Foundation