Senate Democrats

FACT CHECK: The Bush-Republican Record on Spending

WHITE HOUSE FICTION: White House Press Secretary Dana Perino: “…The President, even in a Republican Congress, would issue veto threats on legislation. He did not veto a bill in the first six years of his presidency. Part of that was because we were able to help try to hold down the line on spending.” [White House Press Briefing, 9/18/07]

The Bush-Republican record: exploding spending, soaring deficits and debt:

President Bush and the Republican Congress Increased Federal Spending by 50 Percent.  Federal outlays in Fiscal Year 2001 totaled $1.86 trillion.  The Administration estimated in July that outlays in Fiscal Year 2007 will total $2.78 trillion.  This amounts to an increase of more than 49 percent. [Mid-Session Review, Office of Management and Budget, July 2007]

On President Bush’s Watch, Record Surpluses Turned into Record Deficits. President Bush inherited a unified budget surplus of $236 billion, the largest surplus in American history. The Bush Administration took these surpluses, and turned them into the three largest deficits in US history, including reaching a record of $413 billion in 2004. [President Bush’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2002, A Blueprint for New Beginnings, 2/28/01; Office of Management and Budget]

President Bush and the Republican Congress Increased Debt by More Than $3 Trillion. Under President Bush and the Republican Congress, our national debt has risen by $3 trillion to $8.9 trillion, or about $30,000 for every man, woman and child in America. [US Department of the Treasury] 

  • President Bush and the Republican Congress Doubled Foreign-Held Debt. President Bush and the Republican Congress have doubled our foreign debt to more than $2 trillion. It took 42 presidents 224 years to build up the same level of foreign debt. [Senate Budget Committee] 

Republican Congress Failed to Adopt a Budget.  Last year, as in 2004, the Republican Congress failed to approve a budget resolution.  [CQ Budget Tracker]

CBO Found Cost of Bush Tax Cuts Exceeds Budget Deficits. According to a letter from the CBO to the House Budget Chairman, the cost of the Bush tax cuts exceed projected deficits. “On that basis, CBO estimates that the revenue loss in JCT’s projections would lead to additional debt-service costs of $46 billion in 2007, for a total budgetary cost of $211 billion. On the same basis, the agency estimates the total budgetary costs, including interest, for 2008 through 2011 to be $233 billion, $245 billion, $269 billion, and $215 billion, respectively.” CBO expected budget deficits of between $150 billion and $200 billion in 2007 and $113 billion, $134 billion, $157 billion, and $35 billion for 2008 through 2011 respectively. [CBO, Letter to Chairman Spratt, 7/20/07]

The Bush-Republican record: appropriations bill non-existent or over-budget:

President Bush Never Vetoed a Spending Bill from the Republican Congress. “Before Democrats took control of Congress from Republicans in January, Bush never vetoed any of these regular spending bills, even though they created record deficits and ran up the federal debt by about $3 trillion.” [Associated Press, 7/26/07]

President Bush Signed Legislation that Exceeded His Request. In each of the past five years, President Bush signed appropriations levels that exceeded his requests. [Congressional Research Service]

  • President Bush Has Been Willing to Accept Higher Levels of Total Appropriations. The difference between actual appropriations and the Bush request was nearly $16 billion in FY 2002, $9.5 billion in FY03, $10.5 billion in FY04, $4.7 billion in FY05, and $53 billion in FY06 (more than twice the increase proposed in this year’s congressional budget resolution).[Congressional Research Service]

President Bush Has Signed Just 7 Appropriations Bills Before the Start of the Fiscal Year. In his six years in office, President Bush has signed just seven appropriations bills before the start of the fiscal year. [Congressional Research Service]

Republican Congress Failed to Pass Almost Half of Appropriations Bills. During Bush’s first six years in office, 38 appropriations bills were enacted individually while 36 were covered through omnibus spending bills, minibus spending bills or continuing resolutions. [Congressional Research Service]