NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Federal Spending Rises

March 3, 2000

When the GOP took over Congress in 1995, it forced dramatic cuts in discretionary spending. Agency after agency was impelled to tighten its belt. But by 1996, the strategy changed and Congress threw more money -- not less -- at the agencies.

  • Between 1996 and 2000, spending at the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education rose by almost 30 percent.
  • Appropriations for the Veterans Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development declined 10 percent between 1994 and 1996, but then increased 10 percent by 2000.
  • Spending at the Department of Agriculture remained relatively stable until 1998, but then increased a whopping 47 percent.
  • Overall, discretionary spending for fiscal 2000 rose to $586 billion, a 5 percent increase.

As Congress begins discussing the fiscal 2001 budget, the leadership is reported to be considering increasing that spending to about $600 billion. Political observers say that if Congress holds to $586 billion in discretionary spending, it could pass a tax cut.

Source: Editorial, "Big Spending Republicans," Investor's Business Daily, March 3, 2000.


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