Big spending era of Congress since Reagan owned by the democrats, but the GOP is in hot pursuit

Who is responsible for all this spending that has created this debt bubble monstrosity? Obama? Bush? The wars? The democrats? The republicans? The President? The answer would technically be both chambers of Congress and the President as they must all sign off on the legislation to authorize the spending, but I’m going to focus on the House of Representatives since that is where all spending bills must originate.

In this post, I wanted to point out the difference in spending by Congress depending on which party controls the House. Here are the tabulations by each session of Congress since Reagan took office as he is recognized as the first truly big government spender. You’ll see the numbered session of Congress along with the party make-up for that session and the total new debt racked up. Remember, this is all debt spending over and above the budget (if they even had one). Of the 15 sessions of Congress examined, 9 were controlled by the democrats (in red) and 6 by the republicans. The beginning and ending date with debt levels along with the accumulated totals are shown. Scroll to the bottom for the totals.

111th Congress  (D)257 (R)158

Jan. 6, 2009                            $10,638,425,746,293.80

Dec. 22, 2010                         $13,858,529,371,601.09

111th debt spending:       $3,220,103,625,307.29

110th Congress  (D)233(R)202

Jan. 4, 2007                             $8,670,596,242,973.04

Jan. 3, 2009                             $10,627,961,295,930.67

110th debt spending:       $1,957,365,052,957.63

109th Congress  (D)202(R)232

Jan. 4, 2005                            $ 7,601,016,892,663.19

Dec. 8, 2006                            $8,655,403,967,590.98

109th debt spending:      $ 1,054,387,074,927.79

108th Congress  (D)205(R)229

Jan. 7, 2003                             $6,387,381,983,103.35

Dec. 9, 2004                           $ 7,546,778,677,941.37

108th debt spending:      $1,159,396,694,838.02

107th Congress  (D)212(R)221

Jan. 3, 2001                             $5,723,237,439,563.59

Nov. 22, 2002                         $6,332,715,758,032.33

107th debt spending:       $609,478,318,468.74

106th Congress  (D)211(R)223

Jan. 6, 1999                            $5,615,428,551,461.33

Dec. 15, 2000                         $5,706,990,981,165.37

106th debt spending:      $91,562,429,704.04

105th Congress  (D)206(R)228

Jan. 7, 1997                            $5,312,781,237,956.91

Dec. 19, 1998                          $5,583,950,306,972.53

105th debt spending:      $271,169,069,015.62

104th Congress  (D)204(R)230

Jan. 4, 1995                             $4,801,793,426,032.89

Oct. 4, 1996                             $5,222,049,625,819.53

104th debt spending:       $420,256,199,786.64

103rd Congress  (D)258(R)176

Jan.5, 1993                              $4,169,232,407,244.75

Dec. 1, 1994                             $4,774,851,353,596.54

103rd debt spending:      $605,618,946,351.79

102nd Congress  (D)267(R)167

Jan. 3, 1991                               $3,364,820,000,000.00

Oct. 9, 1992                               $4,064,621,000,000.00

102nd debt spending:       $699,801,000,000.00

101st Congress  (D)260(R)175

Jan. 3, 1989                                $2,684,392,000,000.00

Oct. 28, 1990                              $3,274,950,000.000.00

101st debt spending:          $590,558,000,000.00

100th Congress  (D)258(R)177

Jan. 6,1987                                  9/30/86 thru 9/30/87  $224,974,274,294.58

Jan. 25,1988                                9/30/87 thru 9/30/88  $252,060,821,088.16

100th debt spending:          $477,035,095,382.74

(Note that Treasury doesn’t publish daily debt totals this far back so annual totals must be utilized)

99th Congress  (D)253(R)182

Jan. 3,1985                                   9/30/84 thru 9/30/85  $250,837,000,000.00

Jan. 21,1986                                 9/30/85 thru 9/30/86  $302,199,616,158.42

99th debt spending:             $553,036,616,658.42

98th Congress  (D)269(R)166

Jan. 3,1983                                   9/30/82 thru 9/30/83  $235,176,000,000.00

Jan. 23,1984                                 9/30/83 thru 9/30/84  $195,056,000,000.00

98th debt spending:             $430,232,000,000.00

97th Congress  (D)242(R)192

Jan. 5,1981                                    9/30/80 thru 9/30/81  $90,154,000,000.00

Jan. 25,1982                                 9/30/81 thru 9/30/82  $144,179,000,000.00

97th debt spending:             $234,333,000,000.00

Total democrat controlled               $8,768,083,336,657.87

Average per session                                   $974,231,481,850.87

Total republican controlled            $3,606,249,786,740.85

Average per session                                   $601,041,631,123.47

Combined total debt spending       $12,374,333,123,398.72

Average per session                                   $824,955,541,559.91

Note that the 112th session of Congress will soon close and the gap will significantly decrease as the GOP has been spending more than twice its average. The first year of House majority leader John Boehner’s rule saw debt spending of $1,214,690,760,756.48. As of this date the current year debt spending is $1,086,541,202,114.09. That would raise the republican total by $2,301,231,962,870.57. That’s a 7 session total of $5,907,481,749,611.42 and an average of $843,925,964,230.20. Just goes to show what happens when you don’t walk the talk, right GOP?

The democrats were spending over 62% more than their republican counterparts in this era of big spending prior to the 112th session of Congress. Assuming the next two years will see deficit spending similar to the last two of close to $2.5 trillion, than the GOP will nearly eclipse the democrat total and will pass them with a higher average.

It means that the national debt exists because of bi-partisanship. Yes, that’s correct. The only way we get to these astronomical numbers is by Congress crossing party lines and coming to an agreement to work for the American people. Isn’t that what they tell us they’re doing? Not bickering and playing partisan politics but compromising and getting something done? Well that getting something done has mortgaged away your children’s future. A whole lot more standing on principle and not compromising just for the sake of passing legislation and giving the appearance of bi-partisanship would have gone a long way toward not allowing the debt problem to get where it is today. Remember that when we get our latest bi-partisan compromise over the fiscal cliff.

There may be stark differences between the parties in claimed ideology, but the results in the bottom line meaning spending of your tax dollars shows they are one and the same. At least they will be by the end of 2014. The numbers don’t lie.


session dates for Congress –

member makeup for Congress –

Treasury historical debt outstanding –

Treasury debt to the penny daily search –

8 thoughts on “Big spending era of Congress since Reagan owned by the democrats, but the GOP is in hot pursuit”

  1. I don’t know, 5e. Every time I see one of these comparisons like you have put together, I take them with a grain of salt. The problem is it can be very difficult to determine what policies are driving the increased costs, when they were implemented and which party controlled the House when the bills were passed. It works both ways. The Dem controlled House in 2009 and 2010 inherited two wars from Bush. Then since 20011, the GOP controlled House inherited Obama’s $800 billion stimulus package that never went awy; in fact, due to the 1974 Budget Control Act, that $800 billion became part of the base line budget and increased automatically 6% each year there after unless Congress specifically acts to not allow the automatic increase. So, in fiscal 2013, that original $800 billion will be about $1 trillion. Should the GOP controled House be charged with that on-going spending? Anyway, that is why I am uncomfortable with these kinds of comparisons.

  2. Should the GOP controled House be charged with that on-going spending?

    I’ll answer your question with a question. Why wouldn’t we charge the GOP with the decision they made to fund all of Obama’s goodies the last two years? That’s the key. The GOP could defund any program they wish when they are in charge. Sure, Obama could whip out his veto pen but we could have had the debate over spending we should have had rather than running trillion dollar deficits. Baseline budgeting is a political football but is by no means locked in.

    The whole point of this post was to illustrate that the House holds the purse strings so the GOP cannot use the excuse of a democrat President in charge. We’ve always got our trusty continuing resolutions to fund necessary government programs while we hash out all of the discretionary spending. I refuse to give either party a pass for a strawman argument against the other side. So to answer your question more directly, absolutely the GOP is complicit for Obama’s spending. Otherwise, what is the point of checks and balances? The Administrative branch should be checked by the Legislative, shouldn’t it?

    Votes, and a legislators voting record, should have consequences. I think by giving these guys a pass with the same argument Obama uses about inheriting problems is a mistake.

  3. So much for bipartisanship. We can see where that has gotten us.

    I agree that the GOP needs to have their feet held to the fire on spending. For all of their talk about fiscal conservatism, they haven’t provided the evidence to convince me they hold that as a political belief. It’s hard to take them serious when they don’t.

  4. An excellent rebutal, my friend. It just goes to show how even a atanch conservative like ne can forget what we stand for. I can’t recall un my life time when the checks and bakaces have been applied except for forcing a veto and the impeachment of Nixon. Housee of the purse-strings? Not that I can recall. How many times could the Dems have stopped a war that they didn’t agree with and which was unpopular; but didb’t?

    All of which takes back to what we’ve known for a long time, our government does not function as designed and the politicians of both parties like it that way.

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