I’ve lived in Washington a long time, and worked in and around Congress for most of that time but I don’t think I ever knew what it costs to run it. Now thanks to a terrific website — This Week In Congress — I know: $1.137 billion to operate the House, $259 million for the Capitol Police, $36 million for the Congressional Budget Office, $363 million for the Architect, $570 million for the Library of Congress, $131 million for the Government Printing Office and $488 million for the Government Accountability Office — Congress’s investigative arm. (Interesting priorities, eh?) Expenses for running the Senate arenot included in the appropriations bill that was just passed, and, perhaps, predictably, they are hard to come by. (We’ll update later if we can find them.) You can drill down on these numbers for details, such as costs for salaries and expenses for leadership offices, committee employees, etc. It’s really, really interesting stuff.
And here’s the kicker: Thus far the House has been in session for only 49 days this year! ABC News estimates that the House is expected to meet only 71 days this year. USA Today says that the House is on pace to spend 97 days in session this year! I was going to ask you to do the math of what it costs to run Congress per day but I couldn’t resist! (I was generous assuming that they might in session for 100 days. In any case, the math was easier.)