Reportedly, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office leaked the proposed budget of the House Select Committee to Investigate Benghazi to illustrate how extravagant the committee’s request was.
Instead, it did the opposite. The Benghazi committee’s budget is quite modest compared to most standing House committees.
Moreover, if the Obama administration had cooperated with any of the five congressional committees that have attempted to get to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, there would be no need for a select committee. But foot-dragging, obfuscation and witness intimidation have characterized the administration’s response to congressional investigators, and the White House has only itself to blame for facing yet another investigation – this time by a powerful select committee.
The 12-member Benghazi Select Committee’s proposed $3.3 million budget is, according to its chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., a high-end number. He expects the committee, which is still hiring staff, to spend less.
Even so, $3.3 million is pretty reasonable—by the measure of the House of Representative’s standing committees. Admittedly, select committees have fewer responsibilities than standing committees, but the table below shows the Benghazi committee’s budget stacks up favorable against others when it comes to spending in the 113th Congress. The funding is presented on an annual and bi-annual basis (i.e. for the duration of this Congress):
Energy and Commerce $9,520,516 — $19,041,032
Oversight and Government Reform $8,940,437 — $17,880,874
Ways and Means $8,423,411 — $16,846,822
Transportation and Infrastructure $8,182,307 — $16,364,614
Financial Services $7,394,482 — $14,788,964
Foreign Affairs $7,388,112 — $14,776,224
Judiciary $7,077,016 — $14,154,032
Homeland Security $7,033,588 — $14,067,176
Education and the Workforce $6,952,763 — $13,905,526
Armed Services $6,563,535 — $13,127,070
Natural Resources $6,555,829 — $13,111,658
Science, Space, and Technology $5,282,755 — $10,565,510
Budget $5,138,824 — $10,277,648
Agriculture $5,036,187 — $10,072,374
House Administration $4,600,560 — $9,201,120
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence $4,389,758 — $8,779,516
Benghazi Select Committee $3,300,000 — $6,600,000
Veterans’ Affairs $3,048,546 — $6,097,092
Ethics $3,020,459 — $6,040,918
Small Business $2,992,688 — $5,985,376
Rules $2,857,408 — $5,714,816
If the Obama administration and congressional Democrats cooperate so Congress and the American people can get the facts about what happened in Benghazi, the select committee will go away, along with its budgetary outlays. It is therefore in everybody’s interest that the select committee get on with its work. Getting to the truth will be well worth it.
The author would like to thank Heritage Intern Travis Klein for his assistance in compiling the budget numbers for the congressional committees.