Earlier this week, the Republicans in Congress (including NV2′s Mark Amodei) voted for passage of yet another bill limiting a woman’s reproductive rights. It not only would shorten the time frame during which a woman could choose to end a pregnancy, but would also require rape/incest victims to report that assault to authorities to be able to exercise that choice. That bill would be HR1797. That’s right, despite not having passed a single jobs bill, the REPUBLIBAN brethren in Congress would rather waste time and our taxpayer dollars on a bill the President has already promised to veto. Their actions are shameful and out of touch with what our country needs.
Available legislative time on the agenda is finite. That means if the folks in charge of the House of Representatives, that would be the REPUBLIBAN brethren, choose to use their time to debate and process crap bills like this, the alternative cost is that there is NO TIME to devote to meaningful actions necessary to say, pass a jobs bill, pass comprehensive immigration reform, fix the still lingering foreclosure problems still facing many families, or ensure that students will be able to secure reasonable loan interest rates such that they don’t become mere indentured servants to the mighty megabanks.
Just looking at the time wasted on HR1797, here’s what’s shown on Thomas:
4/26/2013: Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
4/26/2013: Referred to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (41 members)
4/26/2013: Referred to House Judiciary Committee (40 members)
5/23/2013: Referred to the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. (15 members)
5/23/2013: Referred to the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. (12 members)
5/23/2013: Subcommittee Hearings Held.
6/04/2013: Subcommittee Consideration and Mark-up Session Held.
6/04/2013: Forwarded by Subcommittee to Full Committee (Amended) by the Yeas and Nays: 6 – 4 .
6/12/2013: Committee Consideration and Mark-up Session Held.
6/12/2013: Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by the Yeas and Nays: 20 – 12.
6/14/2013 10:09pm: Reported (Amended) by the Committee on Judiciary. H. Rept. 113-109, Part I.
6/14/2013 10:09pm: Committee on Oversight and Government discharged.
6/14/2013 10:10pm: Placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 77.
6/17/2013 7:32pm: Rules Committee Resolution H. Res. 266 Reported to House. The resolution provides for one hour of debate on H.R. 1947 and provides for consideration of H.R. 1797 with one hour of debate and one motion to recommit with or without instructions.
6/18/2013 4:41pm: Considered under the provisions of rule H. Res. 266. (consideration: CR H3730-3743)
6/18/2013 4:41pm: The resolution provides for one hour of debate on H.R. 1947 and provides for consideration of H.R. 1797 with one hour of debate and one motion to recommit with or without instructions.
6/18/2013 4:41pm: DEBATE – The House proceeded with one hour of debate on H.R. 1797.
6/18/2013 6:01pm: The previous question was ordered pursuant to the rule. (consideration: CR H3743)
6/18/2013 6:01pm: POSTPONED PROCEEDINGS – At the conclusion of debate on H.R. 1797, the Chair put the question on passage and, by voice vote, announced that the ayes had prevailed. Ms. Ros-Lehtinen demanded the yeas and nays and the Chair postponed further proceedings on the question of passage until later in the legislative day.
6/18/2013 6:15pm: Considered as unfinished business. (consideration: CR H3743-3744)
6/18/2013 6:45pm: On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 228 – 196 (Roll no. 251). (text: CR H3730-3731)
6/18/2013 6:45pm: Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.
6/18/2013 6:45pm: The title of the measure was amended. Agreed to without objection.
6/19/2013: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
So, what kind of alternative costs are we talking about? Well, let’s start with the annual salary of a U.S. Representative to Congress. That would be $174,000/yr. Now, let’s look at the number of legislative days each of our Representatives will work this year. That would be 126 days (out of 365 calendar days). Given that they’re only scheduled to be in DC for 4 consecutive days in any calendar week, I’ll give them the benefit of a doubt and say they work 10 hour days. That means available legislative hours = 126 days x 10 hrs/day =1260 hrs. That means that the cost for each legislative hour for each representative = $174,000 /1260 hrs =$138.10/hr.
So, for each subcommittee and each committee, and then the House as a whole spent only an hour dealing with this bill what did that cost us as taxpayers (you know, the folks who pay their salaries)?
Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations
Hearing/Markup: 15 members x 3 hr x $138.10/hr = $6214.50
Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice
Hearing/Markup:12 members x 3 hr x $138.10/hr = $4971.60
Full Judiciary Committee
Amendment/Vote of Yeas & Nays: 40 mbrs x 2 hrs x $138.10 = $11,048.00
Full House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
Vote of Yeas & Nays: 41 mbrs x 1 hr x $138.10 = $5662.10
Full House of Representatives (424 Voting/10 Not Voting)
Debate & Votes: 424 Mbrs x 2 hrs x 138.10/hr = $117,108.80
And none of these figures include the monies paid to that folks in the background, the clerks on the floor of the house, any payments made to those who testified for their travel (etc.), the webmasters who need to post information about the hearings, markups, debates, and votes. But as you can see, the nominal cost of just the Representatives themselves for consideration of this onerous bill amounts to:
$6214.50 + $4971.60 + 11,048.00 + $5662.10 + $117,108.80 = $145,005.00
Just for reference sake, the average U.S. per capita personal income in 2012 was $42,693. Thus, the alternative costs the Speaker Boehner and his REPUBLIBAN brethren chose to waste would have basically employed 3.4 individuals (3 full time jobs + 1 part-time job) for a year! In Nevada, the 2012 per capita Income was only $37, 361 … so in Nevada, that same wasted money, on just that one bill, could have employed 3.9 individuals!