The Capital News Connection reports today that the cost of running Congress itself has skyrocketed by 89 percent over the last ten years, three times the rate of inflation!
In the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, taxpayers are spending $5.42 billion to run the Second Branch of government. In fiscal year 2000, the same bill came in at $2.87 billion.
Spending increases of 70 percent, 80 percent, 100 percent and even 868 percent took hold across major parts of the institution over the past 10 years. Even those that saw the smallest increases went up by almost 40 percent or more.
In contrast, inflation from 2000 to 2010 was 26 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The spending increases are outlined in annual legislative branch appropriations bills and documents from the Office of Management and Budget.
“If you compare it to other legislatures around the world, it’s pretty expensive,” John Hibbing, congressional scholar at the University of Nebraska, said in a telephone interview.
The timing is interesting; GOP House leadership is announcing that it might cut White House and Congressional budgets in the next Congress:
Cantor, the second-ranking House Republican who would likely become majority leader under a GOP-controlled House, said that a new majority might axe White House and congressional salaries and budgets as part of cost-saving reforms.
“We’re also looking at cutting into, seriously, the budgets in the White House and Congress,” Cantor said Monday evening on CNBC. “The executive wing of the White House, the West Wing, the salaries there, over the the last year, have gone up just $4 million.”469 employees of the White House were paid approximately $38.7 million in combined salary, according to figures released to Congress back in July. Top administration figures like outgoing Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and senior adviser David Axelrod earn a maximum $172,200 per year.
Congress spends about $4.4 billion a year on its own operations, part of which goes to salary. If the new GOP majority were to cut staffs, it could also cost jobs for Republican staffers who hope to benefit from the party’s increased control of Capitol Hill, with its increased office positions and committee jobs.
A move to cut the White House budget, though, might be seen as a particularly direct shot by a newfound GOP majority against the Obama administration.
Jim Geraghty at National Review has still more, this is specifically about Sen. Chuck Schumer and his very expensive travels…