What was the cost to taxpayers for Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearings? What about the Benghazi investigation and efforts to obtain the votes required to repeal Obamacare while failing to consider Zika virus funding bills? What is the true cost of earmarks? Why do Congress members continue to get paid during government shutdowns?
Congress’s increasing use of continuing resolutions and agencies’ almost semi-annual preparations for government shutdowns come at a significant cost. Combining extensive documentary research with interviews of current and former members and staffers, The Cost of Congress assesses not only how Congress spends tax dollars on its operations but also what Americans receive for those dollars.
Kunz and Atsas assign dollar values, using federal data, to congressional practices and policies. They examine the costs of producing legislation, court challenges, and Supreme Court reversals. They also look at the costs of committee and special investigations, committee assignments, staffing and facilities, and such perks as the gym, meals, and franking. Readers—taxpayers from all walks of life—will come away with a comprehensive view of the costs of operating Congress.
- Sheds light on the public costs of congressional lawmaking and operations as Congress becomes increasingly polarized and perceived as unable to govern
- Reveals the significant cost of Congress’ increasing use of continuing resolutions and agencies’ almost semi-annual preparations for government shutdowns
- Supplements conclusions developed through data analysis and statistical modeling with in-depth interviews with former and current members and staff that provide personal stories
- Provides insight into controversial events and decisions, such as the 1995 and 2013 government shutdowns, the closure of the Office of Science and Technology, and the reallocation of some legislator salaries from discretionary to mandatory spending