A new way to confront spending

Writing today in The Hill, Jonathan Bydlak discusses a new bill that would make it easier for elected officials to know the true cost of their votes.

Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) recently filed a bill that would make ignoring growing deficits a little bit harder.

H.R. 638, the Cost Estimates Improvement Act, would amend the 1974 Budget Act to stipulate that the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation “include costs relating to servicing the public debt” in their estimates of legislation.
It would also require the agency to report when proposed spending is duplicative, something the Government Accountability Office also tracks after the fact.

Read the full piece here.

With SpendingTracker.org, we work every day to ensure politicians are held accountable for the impact of their votes. Bills like Rep. Cloud’s would help to ensure politicians themselves know what that impact will be. We hope Congress will take action on this critical issue.

Rep. Morgan Griffith cites Coalition data in new op-ed

Writing Monday for NRV News, Virginia rep Morgan Griffith, one of only a handful of Representatives to end the 115th Congress voting for a net spending cut, cited SpendingTracker.org in highlighting his fiscal record.

While the Federal Government needs to spend on some things, it ought to be frugal with your hard-earned tax dollars.

It was nice to be recognized in a recent Blaze TV story and Washington Examiner article as one of the few Members of Congress whose votes in the 115th Congress (2017-18) would have resulted in a net spending cut. This data came from the Coalition to Reduce Spending, which tracks bills affecting spending in Congress.

Read the full piece here, and visit SpendingTracker.org today to find out how your Member of Congress stacks up on the cause of our generation.

Sen. Rand Paul cites SpendingTracker.org in new-op-ed

In an op-ed published Monday in the Bowling Green Daily News, US Senator Rand Paul cites Coalition project SpendingTracker.org to highlight his record on spending and the need for better votes in Congress.

Exposing wasteful spending is just part of my commitment to being a good steward of your money. As your senator, I’ve. been a lone, yet determined, voice pushing back against the “Spend, spend, spend! Who cares how we pay for it!” mantra of today’s Washington.

Last week, the Coalition to Reduce Spending, a nonpartisan fiscal watchdog organization, highlighted how much each member of Congress votes to spend each year. And for those already taking cover behind their party talking points to blame the other side, here’s a spoiler: both Republicans and Democrats fared poorly.

According to their report, in the 115th Congress, the average member of Congress in both parties voted to spend approximately $1.58 trillion. That is absurd. We don’t have that kind of money, and we certainly didn’t cut enough to balance our budget and account for those expenditures.

Read the full piece here, and stay tuned as we continue our work to hold everyone accountable.

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NEWS RELEASE: A Decade of Accountability

CONTACT: Rebekah Bydlak
Email: media@reducespending.org

SpendingTracker.org tallies over 4 million individual score and vote records

January 23, 2019 – The Coalition to Reduce Spending, a nonpartisan fiscal watchdog announced the newest expansion of SpendingTracker.org on Wednesday. The group has collected legislative spending records dating back to 2009, creating the largest such database in existence.

The Coalition digitizes Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores for every bill affecting spending, cross-referencing them with voting records to assign every Member of Congress an individual score.

Key takeaways include:

  • In the 115th Congress, the average elected official – in both parties – voted to spend roughly $1.58 trillion.
  • The lowest-spending Representative during his time in office is Michigan’s Justin Amash, who voted to cut spending by roughly $165 billion in the most recent Congress; nearly tied with Amash is the second-most frugal, Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie.
  • Amash and Massie are the only Representatives who have voted for a net spending decrease during their overall time in office.
  • While much has been written about its profligate spending, the 115th Congress also represents the first time that multiple elected officials have ended a session voting for a net spending cut (Amash, Massie, Tennessee’s Jimmy Duncan, Idaho’s Raúl Labrador, and Virginia’s Morgan Griffith in the House; Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Utah’s Mike Lee in the Senate).

Coalition founder & president Jonathan Bydlak says that there was a good reason for creating the tool, which launched in 2017. “Our generation is increasingly burdened with unsustainable spending and debt, while the vast majority of politicians claim to be doing the right thing. Transparency into actual voting records is the missing piece.”

SpendingTracker.org now contains data going back to 2009, the 111th Congress. In a time when political memories have never been shorter, the tool contains roughly a decade of votes and impacts for anyone to easily access.


The Coalition to Reduce Spending is a non-partisan advocacy organization dedicated to reducing spending and debt. More information on the spending tracker, including full explanations of methodology and dataset, can be found at SpendingTracker.org

Shutdown drags on, but is it saving money?

Note: This post originally appeared at the Institute for Spending Reform.

The United States has now entered its longest-ever government shutdown. With government employees across the country officially receiving $0 paychecks, it’s likely that Members of Congress will get even more pressure to find a solution. Meanwhile, competing stories of standoffs and storming out of meetings do not offer much optimism that compromise is on the horizon.

It can be tempting to celebrate government shutting down for any reason. After all, most of us are not affected, and for fiscal conservatives, reminders that life goes on without federal funding are welcome. We should not be tempted, however, to think the shutdown is saving us money. For one, most federal employees will eventually be paid (for work they mostly weren’t allowed to do). For another, some taxes and fees like national park entrance fees won’t be collected.

The sky may not be falling over a partial shutdown — in fact, it rather clearly is not. But this latest impasse is just another reminder that government by crisis does not work, and politicians should not be allowed to let the status quo continue for the next generation.

On that, everyone should agree.

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