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Sen. Tom Coburn wants to put office costs online

CHRIS CASTEEL, Washington Bureau Published: July 7, 2009
WASHINGTON — The Senate approved a proposal by Sen. Tom Coburn on Monday that would require senators to post their office expenses online. Currently, the expenses are printed only in books available in a few places on Capitol Hill.

Coburn, R-Muskogee, made the proposal after criticizing lawmakers for raising their own budgets while many Americans are struggling.

"Why aren’t we setting an example?” he asked.

"If we’re not going to do it, we’re not going to have the various federal agencies do it.”

Coburn’s amendment came on the annual spending bill that funds Congress and its various agencies. The Senate bill would spend more than $3.1 billion next year, about $100 million more than this year.

The increase for the Senate is $39 million, which includes "annual salary and operating increases for Senate offices.”

Each senator’s office is allotted about $2.7 million a year for expenses. Those include salaries of their staff members, travel, office rent in their home states and office supplies.

Senators are required to report the expenditures twice a year.