New analysis from the nonpartisan SpendingTracker.org reveals that Arkansas representatives are significant significant contributors to federal government overspending. Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-4) is the most fiscally conservative of the Arkansas delegation this session, voting for $524 billion in new spending.
By comparison, Rep. French Hill (AR-2) has supported $872 billion, and Reps. Steve Womack (AR-3) and Rick Crawford (AR-1) have each voted in favor of $922 billion.
Westerman’s record comes from his votes against massive spending packages recently pushed through Congress. He was the only member of Arkansas’s delegation to vote against H.R. 1892, the Bipartisan Budget Act, which raised federal spending caps back in February. He also voted against the subsequent $40 billion appropriations package.
Compared to Congress overall, Westerman’s score is ranked “Average,” whereas French, Womack, and Crawford each rate as “Very High” relative to all Members. Under President Trump, spending scores for Arkansas’s delegation are also down across the board. In the 114th Congress, the last two years of President Obama’s term, all Arkansas congressmen voted for roughly $2 trillion in new federal spending.
On the Senate side, things are no better. Senator Tom Cotton voted for $839 billion in new spending, ranked a “high spender” and a “very high spender” compared to his party and delegation. Sen. John Boozman voted for $922 billion in new spending and is rated similarly.
Much of the total spending is contained within large, “must-pass” pieces of legislation. When considering all votes that have been taken, not just those for bills that became law, Westerman’s score drops to $190 billion (a score ranked “very low”), while Hill drops to $538 billion (“low”) and Womack and Crawford each to $588 billion.
Jonathan Bydlak, founder of SpendingTracker.org, says that Members should not fall back on this excuse, however. “The fact that most spending is enacted in enormous pass-fail bills should be reason for Members of Congress to redouble efforts at process reform,” he said, “not accept the status quo of sky-high deficits and debt.”
SpendingTracker.org is a joint project of the nonpartisan Coalition to Reduce Spending and Institute for Spending Reform. The site tracks official government estimates in real-time to determine how much spending each member of Congress has voted for. Learn more at SpendingTracker.org.
Download a PDF version here.