Report Shows Congress Proposed Cutting Costs but Spending Even More in 111th Session

A new report by a taxpayer advocacy group shows the number of proposed bills to trim federal spending rose dramatically in the last Congress, but the amount those bills would cut was still outmatched by new proposed spending.

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation released its "BillTally Report" showing 122 bills that would reduce spending were introduced in the House while 54 were introduced in the Senate during the session in 2009 and 2010. But that increased willingness to decrease spending didn't come close to lowering proposed deficits. In fact, if every proposed bill had passed during the session, spending would have risen sharply as bills to add spending far outnumbered those to reduce it.

Each day in the House, members introduced an average of five bills that would increase spending while bills to cut spending were only introduced once every two days. The report says proposed spending bills would have cost taxpayers $2.68 trillion while suggested cuts came in at just over $480 billion, meaning even though lawmakers submitted more bills to slice spending, the House still proposed $2.2 trillion in additional expenses during the session.

For the first time in 12 years, the average House Republican proposed cutting more than spending. The report says House Republicans' legislative agendas during the session would slice $78 billion from the budget. The same calculation for House Democrats shows a proposed spending increase of almost $539 million.

Senate Democrats didn't spend as much as their counterparts on the other side of the Hill during the 111th Congress but their spending still outweighed proposed cuts. The report says Dems in the upper house averaged $199 billion in new spending with just $3.4 billion in cuts.

But the average Senate Republican offered more spending than cuts as well, advocating over $76 billion in new costs. But their $51 billion in proposed cuts made up for almost two-thirds of costs.

A couple of California representatives split the spending spectrum in the House. Democratic Rep. Bob Filner was the top spender, offering $1.7 trillion in new expenses, while Republican Rep. John Campbell put forth bills that would cut just over $308 billion in spending.

On the Senate side, the report says Texas Republican John Cornyn cut the most, offering almost $99 billion in reduced spending. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont was most willing to part with the nation's money, proposing bills that added $963 billion in costs.