The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY JENNIFER HARPER

Old habits die hard. Dur­ing the first ses­sion of the 113th Congress, mem­bers of the U.S. House au­thored 496 spend­ing bills com­pared to 112 bills that would save money. U.S. Sen­a­tors, mean­while, drafted 332 in­crease bills and 56 sav­ings bills — all this ac­cord­ing to “Bill Tally”, an anal­y­sis re­leased Wed­nes­day by the Na­tional Tax­pay­ers Union Foun­da­tion. But wait. Had all 828 of those big spender wish lists been passed, it would have in­creased the fed­eral bud­get by $1.09 tril­lion. So we need to be care­ful not to tell our lav­ish law­mak­ers what comes af­ter a tril­lion, so they don’t get any ideas. That goes for the White House too. Amaz­ingly enough, the study also re­ports that the num­ber of pro­posed spend­ing bills is ac­tu­ally the low­est in eight years.

There are some fru­gal folk on Capi­tol Hill how­ever, both Repub­li­cans. Rep. Trent Franks of Ari­zona pro­posed spend­ing cuts that would have re­sulted in $269 bil­lion in sav­ings. Sen. Rand Paul of Ken­tucky wins the prize: he of­fered leg­is­la­tion that would re­duce the fed­eral bud­get the most, the study found — by $317 bil­lion.

“Congress’ agenda still ex­ceeds $1 tril­lion, as it did dur­ing 2011-2012. For con­cerned tax­pay­ers and fis­cal hawks that bot­tom line may stand out as a sign that leg­is­la­tors are still of­fer­ing ma­jor govern­ment–ex­pand­ing agen­das even with a noted cool­ing of ac­tiv­ity , and de­spite the grim long-term fore­cast for the fed­eral bud­get,” says Demian Brady, who led the re­search. Find it here: to their high­est points in the past decade. Even with in­creas­ing diplomatic iso­la­tion and a pos­si­ble weak­en­ing econ­omy with tougher sanc­tions, the vast ma­jor­ity of Rus­sians will likely give their govern­ment full sup­port in what­ever course of ac­tion it chooses,” write an­a­lysts Julie Ray and Neli Esipova.

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