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DeMint to colleagues: Want to pass feel-good resolutions? Then you pay for it

June 29, 2011: Sen. Jim DeMint speaks to the media on Capitol Hill.AP

A bipartisan group of senators led by South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint introduced the Pay for Printing Act Thursday, which would require senators to pay for celebratory “simple resolutions” with money from their own budgets.

During the 112th Congress, the Senate has already passed over 350 simple resolutions, and introduced over a 100 more. They have mostly been symbolic, feel-good declarations including, as The Daily Caller reported in June: “National Chess Day,” “National Safe Digging Month,” “Year of Water,” “National Inventors Month,” “Collector Car Appreciation Day,” and “The Year of the Family Caregiver.”

DeMint’s office points out that each resolution page costs an estimated $1,200. A Daily Caller investigation in June revealed that the 318 simple resolutions passed since January 2011 cost taxpayers $381,600. Dozens of additional simple resolutions have been passed since then, and their total price tag in this Congress now amounts to more than $400,000.

“The printing of symbolic, nonbinding resolutions has gotten out of hand and it’s costing taxpayers more of their hard-earned dollars,” DeMint said in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation simply requires senators to take responsibility for paying for the cost of printing these symbolic resolutions out of their own office budgets. This will require senators to be more judicious with taxpayer dollars and hopefully cut down on many of these unnecessary resolutions.”

According to a figure released by the Legislative Information System of Congress and highlighted by DeMint’s office, the number of passed simple resolutions has doubled over the last ten years. The Senate of the 107th Congress passed 247 simple resolutions in 2001-2002 compared to the 493 passed during the 111th Congress’ Senate from 2009-2010.

The legislation introduced Thursday requires the printing costs for such celebratory simple resolutions to come out of Members’ Representative Allowance (MRA), unless the resolution enjoys more than two-thirds of the Senate as sponsors.

Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, Idaho Republican Sen. Jim Risch, Alabama Republican Sen, Jeff Sessions, and Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey are co-sponsors.

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