NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

On Federal Spending, Republicans Can't Blame the Democrats Anymore

February 21, 2003

Critics of Big Government are dismayed at how quickly the GOP has assumed the mantle of the Big Spending party -- and they blame President Bush for this dubious distinction.

  • Discretionary federal spending for defense, foreign aid and domestic programs has been on a steady rise since 1998 -- in contrast with tight limits set by Republicans in the first years following their takeover of Congress in 1995.
  • Total discretionary spending on domestic and defense programs for fiscal year 2003, which ends Sept. 30, will be nearly $100 billion above levels set just two years ago.
  • The White House budget proposal for the coming fiscal year promises Medicare $400 billion more -- not less -- over the next 10 years, and the omnibus spending bill for this year makes a $54 billion commitment by raising payments to physicians over the same period.
  • Education spending this year will be at least $53 billion -- 145 percent more than the first year of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's reign.

The new bill also provides an 18 percent increase for the U.S. Agency for International Development -- including $403 million more than last year for child survival and health programs overseas.

In Senate floor debate on the omnibus bill last month, Democrats offered only amendments adding money -- without any offsetting subtractions.

Source: David Rogers, "Republicans Play 'Hey, Big Spender' Now," Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2003.

For text (WSJ subscription required),,SB1045778481713252023-search,00.html


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