A new report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that supplemental spending bills — legislation allowing the government to spend billions of dollars beyond what is normally appropriated, often for issues deemed as emergencies — dropped dramatically after Republicans took over the House in the 2010 mid-term election.
CBO's report shows a steadily increasing amount of spending through supplemental appropriations bills over the last 15 years. In 2000, Congress passed a few of these bills totaling just $17 billion.
Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio presides over a House that approved no supplemental spending bills in 2011 and 2012, reversing a trend of escalating emergency funding proposals. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
But that number increased throughout the last decade, and averaged nearly $100 billion per year under President George W. Bush.
During President Barack Obama's first year in office, 2009, the Democratic-led Congress passed $191 billion worth of supplemental spending bills, a figure that does not count the giant economic stimulus bill that would spend roughly $800 billion over the next few years.
In 2010, the addition of new spending through supplemental bills dropped to $56 billion. But in 2011, when Republicans took charge of the House again, it dried up completely — according to CBO, no supplemental sending bills were passed at all.
No additional money was added in 2012, either.
In 2013, Congress approved a $50.5 billion supplemental spending bill to deal with Hurricane Sandy. And so far in 2014, Congress has approved just supplemental spending bill, which provides $225 million for Israel's "Iron Dome" missile defense system.
Since 2000, Congress has authorized more than $1 trillion in supplemental spending bills, again not counting the 2009 stimulus program.