There is no denying that Conservative Review has been critical of GOP, but today there is good reason to report that House Republican leadership has actually passed a strong spending bill.
On Tuesday, the House passed the annual spending bill (FY 2016) appropriating funds for the legislative branch of government, and they have once again kept the level of spending flat. The bill would appropriate $3.3 billion for the House of Representatives and all of the legislative agencies. When coupled with the Senate’s own budget bill expected to pass later this year, the House bill will bring the total budget for the entire legislative branch of government to roughly $4.3 billion.
Accordingly, the entire cost of the legislative branch of government represents just .001% of total federal spending, projected to top $3.9 trillion next year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
It’s important to note this budget is not only paying for the members of Congress and their staff; it includes all of the investigative and research agencies as well as other positions, such as the Capitol Police. Here is a breakdown of the legislative branch’s budget for some key offices:
House of Representatives: $1.81 Billion
Senate: $1 billion
Capitol Police: $369 million
Congressional Budget Office: $47 million
Architect of Capitol: $494 million
Library of Congress: $591 million
Congressional Research Service: $107 million
Government Accountability Office: $522 million
While there is always wasteful spending to root out in any budget, most seem to agree that this is close to the minimum budget required to operate the legislative branch. Which leads to the real salient question: how is it that the most constitutionally grounded branch of government – the one that represents the people – commands just .001% of the federal budget? The Executive Branch dwarfs the legislative branch in spending by a ratio of 907:1. Even the Judiciary Branch has a bigger budget than Congress, at $6.9 billion.
Consider this: the budget for the Department of Agriculture was $141 billion in 2014, which is 33 times the size of the entire legislative branch; the budget for the Department of Education was $59.6 billion, which is 14 times the size of Congress. And remember, the entirety of Article I in the Constitution is dedicated to the legislative branch, while some of these executive departments and agencies are, shall we say, post-constitutional. The Department of Commerce is slated to receive $8.1 billion for the next fiscal year. The DOC was without a cabinet-level secretary at its helm for an entire year (June 2012- June2013) and nobody even noticed. The EPA, which is just an independent agency (not a full department), costs twice as much as the entire legislative branch of government.
There is something wrong with this picture. How can members of Congress ever have the time and resources to properly engage in oversight over this leviathan?
It is no wonder then Congress has abdicated so much authority to the executive branch over the past few decades. The legislative branch lacks the expertise and resources to keep up with the daily unconstitutional power grabs of the executive agencies.
When the executive branch grows so large that the people’s representatives can no longer exercise proper oversight, that in itself is a sign that the recent model of governance has gone off the rails. The only solution is to downsize the scope of the executive branch to its constitutional mandates, freeing up the people’s representatives to focus on the core missions of government. (Read more from “1 Chart Shows Why Congress Can’t Control Government” HERE)