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Rep. Jim Moran, Virginia's 2nd Biggest Spender

Our friends at the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF), and specifically Demian Braidy, Director of Research, have completed their annual BillTally report for the 112th Congress, which met "from January 3, 2011 until January 3, 2013, according to Wikipedia.

Here's how they describe the report in the policy paper (No. 171, May 28, 2013; .pdf version; press release):

"This report summarizes data from NTUF’s BillTally accounting software, which studies the cost or savings of all legislation introduced in the 112th Congress that affects federal spending by at least $1 million. Agenda totals for individual lawmakers were developed by cross-indexing their sponsorship and cosponsorship records with cost estimates for 1,076 House bills and 712 Senate bills under BillTally accounting rules that prevent the double-counting of overlapping proposals.[1] Each Congressional office was given the opportunity to review all sponsorship and cost data in this report confidentially prior to publication. Appendix A lists all Members alphabetically, Appendix B lists Members by state delegation, and Appendix C provides a thorough explanation of the BillTally methodology.[2]."

The BillTally report identifies 10 separate "key findings." Here are just the first four:

  • The 112th Congress saw a sharp rise in the number of bills to reduce federal spending, with 221 introduced in the House and 127 in the Senate. This is the highest number of spending-cut bills NTUF has recorded since the 105th Congress (1997-1998) when there were 265.
  • Legislation to boost spending, while still more numerous, is being introduced at a much slower pace than in the previous Congress. Representatives authored 855 increase bills – four bills for each savings bill. Senators offered 584 bills that would increase budgetary outlays, nearly five for each savings bill.  This is the first time in over a decade that the ratio of increases to cuts was not in double digits.
  • Excluding overlapping legislation, if each of the House increase bills became law, annual spending would rise by $2.2 trillion. The passage of all the House savings bills would subtract $861.1 billion, for a net rise of $1.3 trillion. This amounts to additional federal outlays of $11,402 per household. The Senate’s spending bills would add $1.4 trillion to federal outlays, saving $1.0 trillion – for a net cost of $344 billion ($2,930 per household).
  • For the first time, NTUF calculated the net cost of all non-overlapping legislation introduced in the entire Congress. NTUF identified 1,141 unique measures to increase spending between the House and Senate. If all of these proposals were enacted into law, spending would climb by nearly $2.5 trillion. Out of all of the savings bills offered by each Chamber, 198 were non-overlapping. In total, these would cut outlays by $1.2 trillion, leaving a net budgetary cost of $1.3 trillion. Therefore, enactment of this legislation all at once would boost the budget by nearly one-third.

Below are Figures 1 and 2 from the report, showing net spending agendas of Representatives and Senators over the past six Congresses:

The BillTally webpage includes a number of tools that enable readers to review whether their legislators are big spenders, plain spenders, or budget cutters. You can download information for individual legislators or for the entire state delegation. As a result, we learn the following (three biggest spenders highlighted):

  • Sen. Mark Warner (D): net budget cutter of $11.5 billion.
  • Sen. Jim Webb (D): net spending of $1.0 billion.
  • Rep. Eric Cantor (R): net budget cutter of $64.8 billion.
  • Rep. Gerald Connolly (D): net spending of $50.6 billion.
  • Rep. Randy Forbes (R): net budget cutter of $150.1 billion.
  • Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R): net budget cutter of $163.2 billion.
  • Rep. Morgan Griffith (R): net budget cutter of $73.0 billion.
  • Rep. Robert Hurt (R): net budget cutter of $63.1 billion.
  • Rep. James Moran (D): net spending of $154.1 billion.
  • Rep. Scott Rigell (R): net budget cutter of $228.0 billion.
  • Rep. Robert Scott (D): net spending of $1.23 trillion.
  • Rep. Rob Wittman (R): net budget cutter of $68.5 billion.
  • Rep. Frank Wolf (R): net spending of $1.3 billion.

In an e-mail, I learned from Demian that "Virginia's House delegation had the 29th largest average spending agenda."

Finally, Michael Tasselmyer provides some numbers for a few of the Congressional caucuses at NTU's blog, Government Bytes, last Wednesday, including the net spending agendas for the Blue Dog Democrats, the Republican Main Street Partnership, the Republican Study Committee, and the Tea Party Caucus. Here's the graphic:

Spend a few minutes researching the spending or budget cutting behavior of your legislator. Then use the links below to hold your elected representatives in Congress accountable for their legislation. If you live in Arlington County, here is the contact information for Arlington’s two Senators and Representative on Capitol Hill so you can either call them or e-mail them (Sen. Jim Webb has retired, but I've included contact information for Sen. Tim Kaine):

  • Senator Mark Warner (D) -  write to him or call (202) 224-2023
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-4024
  • Representative Jim Moran (D) -- write to him or call (202) 225-4376

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