Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The real cost of Congress

You know by now Eric Cantor's Congress undertook the serious business of the people today, addressing the very critical issue of keeping our motto safe by bringing to the floor a non-binding resolution that “reaffirms ‘In God We Trust’ as the official motto of the United States and supports and encourages the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions.”

Presumably a matter of vital national security because, the President said E Pluribus Unum. Out loud. In public. But I'm linking to this because it has a breakdown on the costs of running Congress I've been looking for forever. How much are we paying for this sorry excuse for governance, you ask?
... According to a June Congressional Research Service report, when the House is in session it costs the public $53,534 per day — or $8,360 per hour — in House floor costs. But, as CRS notes, that estimate is extremely conservative, because it does not include “leadership and member salaries, member and committee staff salaries, staff employment benefits, utilities, Architect of the Capitol support staff, and costs associated with the media galleries,” which CRS calls “substantial.”

With a base salary for lawmakers of $174,000 and slightly higher pay for Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), Cantor and Pelosi, the public spends more than $77 million every year on Congressional salaries. If the House stays on schedule to be in session a total of 128 days this year, taxpayers spend roughly $592,000 per legislative day on Members’ salaries.

With three items scheduled to be voted on Tuesday, the total cost of just Members’ salaries and CRS’ estimated floor operating costs means the resolution will cost at least $215,183.
That's still a bare minimum price for the one little time waster of a vote. No word on what the other two measures were, but guessing they were of equal unimportance. And why would they do it any differently?. They have no incentive to address difficult issues and every incentive, not to.

Wondering. If we took them off salary and paid them only for the binding legislation they actually pass, if it could speed up the process enormously.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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