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Clockwatchers: Capitol Hill Republicans Showcase 'Debt Clocks' on Websites

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Twenty percent of Republicans on the Hill incorporate "debt clocks" on their official congressional websites, compared to just one Democrat; GOPers also feature clocks related to the Keystone Pipeline, gas prices, and Raúl Castro

debt10.pngThe sequester date has come and gone, but the issues of the unbalanced federal budget and the rising national debt is here to stay.

And nearly five-dozen Republicans on Capitol Hill are determined to keep fiscal issues and the debt front and center in the minds of their constituents.

Or at least those who visit their web sites.

A Smart Politics review of the official websites of all 532 current voting members of the U.S. House and Senate finds that 20 percent of Republican members (55) embed real time "debt clocks" on their home page - compared to only one Democrat (Oregon's Peter DeFazio).

Overall, 47 of the 232 Republicans in the U.S. House (20.3 percent) and eight of the 45 GOPers in the U.S. Senate (17.8 percent) choose to shine a light on the issue of the rising national debt by including a 'clock' that changes in real time as the debt continues to grow every second.

The clocks on these Republican sites come in different shapes and sizes, with the most important feature that they are active - with the debt skyrocketing every second:

Some debt clocks are simple - highlighting just the numbers, which, at over $16,000,000,000,000 is still something to behold.

Especially when calculated down to the penny.

Some clocks come with fancy 3D graphics.

Some highlight the Capitol - where debt problems are created...and seemingly never fixed.

Others highlight both the Capitol and images of the money being spent there.

While some clocks show money just flying away.

Others clocks include the amount of debt incurred per citizen, down to fractions of a penny.

While others include the value calculated per household.

It should be noted, however, that not all Republicans can agree on just how much national debt the country has at the moment.

For not only do the debt clocks come in different shapes and sizes, they also vary as to the actual amount of debt that is spinning out of control before a clockwatcher's very eyes.

As of 11 am EST on Sunday, the debt clocks running on these 56 websites revealed 16 different national debt tallies.

The debt clocks ranged from a low of $16.548 trillion (New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte) to a high of $17.306 trillion (Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn).

That's a difference of 758 billion - or approximately 5 percent of the national debt.

(Note: Ron Paulite and North Carolina U.S. Representative Walter Jones' debt clock actually gives two numbers. The first is the 'official' debt, calculated to be $16.589 trillion. The second is "the truth," which states the actual debt is $72.781 trillion.

Overall, the average reading of the debt clocks across all 56 Senators and Representatives was $16.716 trillion.

The Senators' debt clocks averaged $16.799 trillion - or about 100 billion higher than the representatives ($16.703 trillion). No two Senators shared the same debt clock reading.

The debt clock readings at 11 am EST Sunday were the following:

· $16.548 trillion (1 Senator): New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte.

· $16.589 trillion (10 representatives): Republicans Scott Tipton (CO-03), Kevin Yoder (KS-03), Michele Bachmann (MN-06), Scott Garrett (NJ-05), Walter Jones (NC-03), George Holding (NC-13), Bob Gibbs (OH-07), James Lankford (OK-05), Jeff Duncan (SC-03), John Duncan (TN-02).

· $16.642 trillion (1 Senator): Idaho Republican Jim Rische.

· $16.657 trillion (1 Senator): Indiana Republican Dan Coats.

· $16.681 trillion (3 representatives): Republicans Mike Rogers (MI-08), Bill Johnson (OH-06), Doc Hastings (WA-04).

· $16.694 trillion (3 representatives): Republicans Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Vern Buchanan (FL-16), Randy Neugebauer (TX-19).

· $16.704 trillion (6 representatives): Republicans Todd Rokita (IN-04), Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), Mike Kelly (PA-03), Ted Poe (TX-02), Pete Olson (TX-22), Robert Wittman (VA-01).

· $16.710 trillion (15 representatives): Democrat Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Republicans Tim Griffin (AR-02), Steve Womack (AR-03), Marlin Stutzman (IN-03), Fred Upton (MI-06), Tim Walbert (MI-07), Adrian Smith (NE-03), Jim Renacci (OH-16), Scott DesJarlais (TN-04), John Culberson (TX-07), Kevin Brady (TX-08), Randy Weber (TX-14), Bob Goodlatte (VA-06), Morgan Griffith (VA-09), Sean Duffy (WI-07).

· $16.712 trillion (3 representatives): Republicans Ed Whitfield (KY-01), Bill Flores (TX-17), David McKinley (WV-01).

· $16.730 trillion (1 Senator): Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions.

· $16.736 trillion (1 Senator): Tennessee Republican Bob Corker.

· $16.825 trillion (1 Senator): Nebraska Republican Mike Johanns.

· $16.828 trillion (1 representative): Republican Bob Latta (OH-05).

· $16.842 trillion (7 representatives): Republicans Mo Brooks (AL-05), Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Raul Labrador (KD-01), Renee Elmers (NC-02), David Joyce (OH-14), Lou Barletta (PA-11), Michael McCaul (TX-10).

· $16.948 trillion (1 Senator): North Carolina Republican Richard Burr.

· $17.306 trillion (1 Senator): Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn.

But while the issue of the national debt - in the form of a debt clock - takes center stage on the websites among a significant portion of the Republican caucus, the same cannot be said for the Democrats.

Only one of the 200 Democratic members of the House includes a debt clock on their home page: 14-term U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio from Oregon.

DeFazio, who serves on the Natural Resources and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees (but not the Budget Committee), prominently displays the debt clock right below his header on the upper right corner of his website.

DeFazio is the lone Democrat on Capitol Hill to display the clock as none of the 53 Democratic U.S. Senators embed such a clock on their websites.

But it is not simply debt clocks Republicans are implementing on their websites to graphically highlight the ails they view as facing the country today.

Ten Republican House members also have a Keystone XL Pipeline clock, which counts the number of days, hours, minutes, and seconds they say the nation has been forced to wait for "jobs and energy security."

Most of these Representatives serve districts located in the geographic center of the country: Tim Griffin (AK-02), Tim Huelskamp (KS-01), Billy Long (MO-07), Lee Terry (NE-02), Renee Elmers (NC-02), Bob Latta (OH-05), Bill Johnson (OH-06), Marsha Blackburn (TN-07), Kevin Brady (TX-08), Randy Weber (TX-14), and Bill Flores (TX-17).

Another 10 GOP U.S. Representatives post a gas clock that depicts the change each week in the cost of an average gallon of gasoline compared to when Barack Obama first took office.

The cost of gas is currently just shy of $2 more per gallon ($3.76) than when Obama became president, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Those watching the "gas clock" are Republicans Jo Bonner (AL-01), Jeff Denham (CA-10), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Renee Elmers (NC-02), Tom Marino (PA-10), Steve Chabot (OH-01), Bob Latta (OH-05), Bob Gibbs (OH-07), Morgan Griffith (VA-09), and Bill Flores (TX-17).

Diaz-Balart is the lone member of Congress to include a "Castro clock" on the home page of his official U.S. House site in which he counts the number of days, hours, minutes, and seconds a U.S. Citizen has been held hostage in Cuba.

Another clock that hasn't quite taken off like that of the debt appears on the website of Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania's 3rd CD, which highlights the number of "Days without a budget" , which recently eclipsed the 1,400 mark:

Note: Expect more debt clocks to pop up over the coming months as freshman members of the House and Senate tailor their official websites to their specific preferences (most are still using one of a handful of site 'templates' that were available upon taking office on January 3rd).

National Debt Clocks of U.S. Senators and Representatives (11 AM EST March 10th)

State
District
Senator/Rep
Party
Debt (trillions)
Oklahoma
---
Tom Coburn
Republican
$17.306
North Carolina
---
Richard Burr
Republican
$16.948
Alabama
5
Mo Brooks
Republican
$16.842
Arizona
4
Paul Gosar
Republican
$16.842
Idaho
1
Raul Labrador
Republican
$16.842
North Carolina
2
Renee Elmers
Republican
$16.842
Ohio
14
David Joyce
Republican
$16.842
Pennsylvania
11
Lou Barletta
Republican
$16.842
Texas
10
Michael McCaul
Republican
$16.842
Ohio
5
Bob Latta
Republican
$16.828
Nebraska
---
Mike Johanns
Republican
$16.825
Tennessee
---
Bob Corker
Republican
$16.736
Alabama
---
Jeff Sessions
Republican
$16.730
Kentucky
1
Ed Whitfield
Republican
$16.712
Texas
17
Bill Flores
Republican
$16.712
West Virginia
1
David McKinley
Republican
$16.712
Arkansas
2
Tim Griffin
Republican
$16.710
Arkansas
3
Steve Womack
Republican
$16.710
Indiana
3
Marlin Stutzman
Republican
$16.710
Michigan
6
Fred Upton
Republican
$16.710
Michigan
7
Tim Walberg
Republican
$16.710
Nebraska
3
Adrian Smith
Republican
$16.710
Ohio
16
Jim Renacci
Republican
$16.710
Oregon
4
Peter DeFazio
Democrat
$16.710
Tennessee
4
Scott DesJarlais
Republican
$16.710
Texas
7
John Culberson
Republican
$16.710
Texas
8
Kevin Brady
Republican
$16.710
Texas
14
Randy Weber
Republican
$16.710
Virginia
6
Bob Goodlatte
Republican
$16.710
Virginia
9
Morgan Griffith
Republican
$16.710
Wisconsin
7
Sean Duffy
Republican
$16.710
Indiana
4
Todd Rokita
Republican
$16.704
Missouri
4
Vicky Hartzler
Republican
$16.704
Pennsylvania
3
Mike Kelly
Republican
$16.704
Texas
2
Ted Poe
Republican
$16.704
Texas
22
Pete Olson
Republican
$16.704
Virginia
1
Robert Wittman
Republican
$16.704
Colorado
5
Doug Lamborn
Republican
$16.694
Florida
16
Vern Buchanan
Republican
$16.694
Texas
19
Randy Neugebauer
Republican
$16.694
Michigan
8
Mike Rogers
Republican
$16.681
Ohio
6
Bill Johnson
Republican
$16.681
Washington
4
Doc Hastings
Republican
$16.681
Indiana
---
Dan Coats
Republican
$16.657
Idaho
---
Jim Rische
Republican
$16.642
Colorado
3
Scott Tipton
Republican
$16.589
Kansas
3
Kevin Yoder
Republican
$16.589
Minnesota
6
Michele Bachmann
Republican
$16.589
New Jersey
5
Scott Garrett
Republican
$16.589
North Carolina
3
Walter Jones
Republican
$16.589
North Carolina
13
George Holding
Republican
$16.589
Ohio
7
Bob Gibbs
Republican
$16.589
Oklahoma
5
James Lankford
Republican
$16.589
South Carolina
3
Jeff Duncan
Republican
$16.589
Tennessee
2
John Duncan
Republican
$16.589
New Hampshire
---
Kelly Ayotte
Republican
$16.548
Note: Far right column denotes the national debt as expressed on the 'debt clock' on the home page of the respective Senator or Representative's official website (in trillions) as of 11 AM EST, March 10, 2013. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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2 Comments



  • Very interesting.

    My memory is not always the best, but I believe that Chairman Issa's Government Oversight Committee on Postal Reform had a countdown clock set to the September 30th default deadline ... the clock's gone ... the legislation never enacted ... and now the House passed Continueing Resolution requires the Post Office to deliver mail on Saturdays.

    Considering that some clocks are tied to the same data point suggests that they used the same website design service ... hopefully, they got a group rate ... after all the taxpayers are paying for the house.gov websites.

  • This is a very detailed and insightful analysis. Sometimes those time clocks can be good, if they are in fact accurate, which your analysis goes a very long way toward demonstrating that they are not. Even if some part of the reason for the different numbers on the different clocks at the same exact time of day is because of slight differences in defining some technical debt terms, it presumably does not appear to present a good view of them, having such a range of contradictions and lack of agreement.

  • Leave a comment


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