As we consider ways to cut costs, perhaps the congress should consider eliminating itself. At least some of itself. It is expensive to keep a congressman in office.
How much does it cost to have a man or woman in the House of Representatives? The house publishes a Statement of Disbursements, which you can access by going to this site; http://disbursements.house.gov/. This document is over 3000 pages and covers the expenses incurred in running the offices of the members of the house. The office expense does not include the $174,000 salary or the cost of benefits. It also does not include the costs of maintaining the several buildings that house the offices of the members nor does it include the cost of facilities and general support staff. Some of those costs are shown seperately in the documents first few pages.
For the first six months of 2011 the Colorado delegation spent the following amounts.
Diana DeGette — $676,574
Jared Polis — $682,184
Scott Tipton — $655, 417
Cory Gardner — $561,269
Doug Lamborn — $579,534
Mike Coffman — $587,327
Ed Perlmutter — $637, 777
Extending these figures to one year would indicate approximately $1.2 to $1.3 million in office expenses for each representative. When you add in their salary and benefits and the ancillary costs that come under the general fund, the cost of maintaining a congressmen is $1.5 to $2 million per year.
The document shows that the Speaker of the House spent slightly over 3 million dollars in the first half of 2011.
If half of the 435 elected members of the house were eliminated, the cost saving would be in the neighborhood of $325 to $434 million per year.
It certainly is one way to cut down on the size of government and save money at the same time. There might even be more unanticipated benefits of a smaller house. We think that Will Rogers would have approved.
Below are the six pages of Cory Gardner’s expenses extracted from the house document. His expenses are typical and he has the lowest expenses in the Colorado delegation.