NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 4, 2006

Fewer than 1 in 10 Congress Members sponsored legislation last year whose overall effect would reduce federal spending -- just one of many unique insights provided by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation's (NTUF's) latest BillTally report.

Other highlights include:

  • Last year House Members introduced 17 bills to raise spending for every bill to cut it; meanwhile, in the Senate, the ratio was 31 to 1 -- this represents an improvement in fiscal discipline from the last Congress (2003), when the House and Senate ratios were 23 to 1 and 32 to 1, respectively.
  • A total of 49 Representatives and Senators sponsored bills whose cumulative effect would actually reduce federal outlays, many more than the 16 lawmakers who did so in 2003; meanwhile, the number of Congress Members backing increases in federal spending of $100 billion or more has gone down, from over 150 in 2003, to 90 last year.
  • The typical House Republican proposed to boost the federal budget by a net of $11.6 billion, while the average for a Democrat was $547.4 billion (the highest BillTally has ever recorded for either Chamber); on the Senate side, the partisan gap was smaller -- $11.4 billion per Republican and $52.1 billion per Democrat.
  • If every one of the House's spending bills introduced in 2005 -- excluding overlapping proposals -- became law, federal outlays would increase by $2.55 trillion, roughly doubling the current federal budget; in the Senate, the sum total adds up to $394.4 billion.

"As incumbents prepare to hit the campaign trail this fall, taxpayers will no doubt be treated to a litany of reasons why Washington is still mired in red ink," concludes Demian Brady, an NTUF Senior Policy Analyst and BillTally director.  "But as these numbers show, a flow of costly ideas from lawmakers' own pens is partially to blame."

Source: Peter J. Sepp and Sam Batkins, "Study: Most Lawmakers Push Fewer Bills to Boost Federal Budget, But Congress Members Who'd Pull Back Spending Remain Rare,"

National Taxpayers Union and National Taxpayers Union Foundation, August 3, 2006; and Demian Brady, "The First Session of the 109th Congress: Unbalanced Agendas, Unbalanced Budgets," National Taxpayers Union and National Taxpayers Union Foundation, Policy Paper No. 160, BillTally Report 109-2, August 3, 2006.

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