Did You Get Your Money’s Worth From Congress Last Week?

Money's Worth | June 25, 2012

Both the House and Senate were in session last week.

The Senate concluded work on its version of the farm bill reauthorization. The legislation is expected to cost $1 trillion over the next 10 years. Still, that is an estimated savings of $23 billion over what would have been spent under the farm programs as previously written. As part of debate on the bill, the chamber agreed to an amendment that ends taxpayer funding of political party conventions and provides for the return of previously distributed funds for deficit reduction. The Senate rejected an amendment to reform the sugar subsidy program. The House has not yet passed its version of the farm bill; it is likely to take it up after the July Fourth recess.

The House passed the Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012, which is also referred to as the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act. The bill, which is aimed at increasing domestic energy production and reducing energy costs, would require a study of how EPA regulations affect energy prices and require the Administration increase production on federal lands if it decides to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the legislation would cost $189 million over five years.

What you paid

Last week taxpayers spent roughly $100 million on Congress.

Salaries of Members of Congress and their allowances/week:

Speaker of the House: $223,500/52 = $4,299

House and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders: ($193,400/52) x 4 = $14,877

Other Representatives and Senators: ($174,000/52) x 530 = $1,773,462

Average weekly budget for all House offices: ($1,446,009/52) x 435 = $2,096,421

Average weekly budget for all Senate offices: ($3,409,093/52) x 100 = $6,555,958

Non-salary money allocated for Congress: $4.656 billion/52 = $89,538,462

What you got

In addition to the activity above, the House voted to pass four bills that will costs taxpayers about $77 million over 10 years:

  • H.R. 2938, Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Clarification Act. COST: None
  • H.R. 2578, To amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act related to a segment of the Lower Merced River in California. COST: $77 million over 5 years
  • S. 404, To modify a land grant patent issued by the Secretary of the Interior. COST: “No effect on the federal budget
  • S. 684, To provide for the conveyance of certain parcels of land to the town of Alta, Utah.  COST: Less than $200,000 over 10 years

In addition to passing the farm bill, the Senate confirmed Mary Geiger Lewis to be a U.S. District Court judge.


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