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A Steep Incline or a Camel's Hump?
During Monday's installment of our Summer Recess series, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) said, "The spending on all these agencies and these programs has grown by 83 percent in two and a half years." She was referring to discretionary spending by the federal government. A commenter urged us to check her claim. So, we did.
It turns out that in November of last year, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) made a very similar claim. He said that federal discretionary spending had increased by 84 percent in the last two years (FY 2008 - FY 2010). PolitiFact checked the claim and deemed it "Mostly False." (PolitiFact recently changed the name of their "Barely True" rating to "Mostly False," so if you looked at the claim when it was originally rated you would've seen it as "Barely True.") Herrera Beutler said federal spending had increased by 83 percent (versus Ryan's claim of 84 percent), and she said "in two and a half years" (which roughly matches up with the fact that she's making the claim 10 months after Ryan).
The reason PolitiFact rates the claim as "Mostly False" is because Ryan said that $259 billion worth of stimulus money was approved in 2010 even though it was actually approved in 2009. Placing the stimulus spending on the calendar in the correct spot shows a 24 percent increase in federal spending from FY 2008 to FY 2010. Instead of a steep incline, a graph showing federal discretionary spending from FY 2008 to FY 2010 looks more like a camel's hump.
Thanks to commenter Sue Abrams, who also noticed that PolitiFact had rated the claim.