Today, the House approved language in the FY 2013 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill offered by Congressman Mike Turner (OH-3) which would require unspent Congressional office funds to be returned to the Treasury Department and allocated towards debt reduction. Without this provision, these funds could have instead be "reprogrammed" for other budget purposes.
Turner has teamed up with Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp on the issue. In a February 23rd letter, Turner and Camp requested that the language of H.R. 297 be included in the annual bill approving funds for Congressional operations. H.R. 297 would require that any unspent funds in Members' Representational Allowances (MRA) be used for deficit reduction or to reduce the federal debt. Turner is a co-sponsor of H.R. 297.
"When this nation is $15.4 trillion in debt, we should be using every unspent dollar to close the deficit and pay down the debt. When families are budgeting, they pay their bills, not add new ones. Congress would do well to take a lesson from them," said Turner.
Turner earlier this year had announced that his office saved roughly $165,000 of his 2011 MRA and that he would be returning those funds to the U.S. Treasury. Turner's office MRA as designated by the U.S. House of Representatives for 2011 was just over $1.4 Million. This means that Turner did not spend all of the funds allotted to his office and has returned 11.6% of his MRA.
"These leftover dollars don't need to be turned into additional government spending. With another trillion dollar deficit on the horizon, the last thing we need is for saved dollars, to be turned into spent dollars," added Turner.