Frank Guinta is one of the thriftiest members of Congress.
A study released last week by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation ranked the first-term Congressman from New Hampshire 432nd out of 438 in the entire House for "net" spending, that is the amount his bills would cut spending versus increasing it.
His bills cut spending more than $374 million. Guinta regularly bemoans federal spending.
"Thoughtful Americans agree that spending has spiraled out of control in recent years. They want Congress to slam on the fiscal brakes and stop the red ink from flowing," Guinta wrote in his "Frankly Speaking" memo to constituents earlier this year.
Congressman Charlie Bass, the other member of the all-Republican New Hampshire House delegation, ranked 228th, with cuts amounting to $31.7 million — one-tenth the amount from Guinta.
Bass has criticized his colleagues for failing to come together to solve the government's fiscal trouble.
"The American people have heard the debate on both sides, and they are crying for solutions, not squabbling, not posturing, nor policy brinkmanship," Bass said this spring. "We all have principles. Compromise is not a capitulation of principle."
The New Hampshire delegation was among the thriftiest in the nation. Together, Guinta and Bass had the state ranked 53 out of 56 states and territories that send representatives to Congress.
The Democrat-controlled Massachusetts House delegation ranked sixth in terms of spending the most.
Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, with spending of $16.8 million, ranked 163rd in the House. Congressman John Tierney, with $31.1 million in spending, was 135th.
The District of Columbia ranked first among House delegations for spending. Kansas was last, or first in savings.
Congressman John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan, led the House with $1.45 billion for increased spending. Congressman Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, was best for savings at $428.7 million.
Other House notables included New Hampshire presidential primary contestants Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, ranked 265, and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota at 384. Both are Republicans.
The House budget reformer, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, came in at 250.
And in the Senate ...
Over in the Senate, the New Hampshire delegation was 29th among the 50 states. Massachusetts was 20th.
Vermont was at the top of the Senate in spending. Kentucky ranked last, which put the state first in savings.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who picked up a "taxpayers' friend" award from the taxpayer group, was 87th in the Senate, with savings of $278.9 million.
Ayotte, a Republican, was just behind Sen. John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who was 88th.
Ayotte last week criticized the Democrat-controlled Senate for failing for three years to pass a budget.
"It's past time for the Senate to debate and vote on a spending plan that addresses our nation's staggering debt and deficits, preserves our entitlement programs, and secures America's economic future," she said.
She has co-sponsored a "no budget, no pay" act that would dock pay for members of Congress for failing to pass a budget resolution by the start of the federal fiscal year in October.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was ranked 13th, with a net spending increase of $23.2 million.
Shaheen has been the most outspoken member of New Hampshire's Congressional delegation for highway funding, expressing frustration over the failure of Congress to reach bipartisan accord.
"All around the country there are projects like I-93 that would create jobs and spur economic development, but are stalled as companies and local governments wait to see what funding they can expect," she said this spring.
Shaheen was just ahead of Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who was 12th with $23.8 million in increased spending. Both are Democrats.
Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts was 58th at $50.5 million in cuts.
Sen. Bernard Sanders, independent of Vermont, led the Senate with $1.04 billion in spending. Sen. Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and Ron Paul's son, was last, or best for savings.
Study shows Tea Party influence
The National Taxpayers Union bills itself as the oldest and largest grassroots national taxpayer organization. It reports more than 360,000 members.
The study by its foundation, released May 15, looked at spending trends in the first year of the 112th session, 2011.
"The data in this report (shows) that the Congressional Tea Party Caucus has changed business as usual in Washington: Members are introducing more savings bills than they have in recent years and sponsoring larger agendas to cut spending," the study said.
But the study also found what it called "a sizable contingent" of members of Congress advocating higher spending or another round of economic stimulus.
The study looked at legislation that affects spending by at least $1 million.
"Those members whose net spending agendas would reduce budgetary outlays spiked to levels not seen since the 104th Congress," the study said.
That session was in 1995 and 1996, when Bill Clinton was president, Newt Gingrich was speaker of the House pushing his "Contract With America," and Bob Dole and Trent Lott split time as Senate Majority Leader.
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