WHILE THE DEBATE rages over where to cut the budget, one portion of the budget that grows as fast or faster than any other escapes the glare of the budget cutters. The size of Congress has grown astronomically since World War II. It can be cut.
DURING THAT TIME, the personal staffs of Congressmen and Senators have grown fivefold and sixfold, respectively. The size of Committee staffs has increased fourfold in the Senate over that same time span and an obscene twelvefold in the House.
CONGRESS EMPLOYS over 31,000 people. That is nearly ten times as large as the next most heavily staffed legislative branch in the world. A good many of these people are employed in "critical" capacities like barbers, elevator operators for automatic elevators, and other "vital" positions. Congressmen make over $75,000 a ·year, they don't need subsidized haircuts.
I HAVE PROPOSED a 25% reduction in Congress' budget over the next three years. This would be accomplished by a 7% reduction during fiscal year 1986, an 8% reduction during fiscal year 1987 and a 10% reduction in fiscal year 1988. The three-year savings from such a measure would be over $600 million. Congress spends over $1 billion a year. In a time when every other government function is being scrutinized, that is too much.
This Article was Originally Published in Roll Call