Wow, where to start with the logical fallacies in this one.
"In fact, had the Republicans’ desired language passed, congressional personnel would have become the only employees in America whose employer (in their case, the federal government) was explicitly forbidden from contributing to their health care"
Which ... doesn't matter in the slightest, because health care contributions are simply a part of a pay package, which could be adjusted to compensate. And, more to the point, this was a failed effort - it didn't work.
"The Gingrich Revolutionaries of 1995 and the Tea Partiers of 2011 share the same basic dream: to defund and dismantle the vast complex of agencies and programs that have been created by bipartisan majorities since the New Deal."
Really? And how is that working out for them?
"Of course, all of this slashing and cutting has done nothing to actually help shrink the federal government. Real federal spending has increased 50 percent since 1995, in line with the growth of the U.S. population and economy."
So ... what they did had the opposite effect - or was completely ineffective at achieving their supposed goal. Noted.
And wait a minute - a 50% increase in spending was in line with U.S. population growth? Ummm ... in 1990, the U.S. population was ... 248 million. In 2010, the U.S. population was 308 million. My math might be rusty, but that would seem to be a 25% increase. And in 1995 the federal budget was about $2.1 trillion, while in 2013 the federal budget was $3.4 trillion, which is more like ... a 61% increase. And economic growth? That's the only thing that he's even close on, $10.27 trillion in 1995 to $15.94 trillion in 2013, for an increase of 55%. But neither of those numbers is "in-line" with federal budget growth ... even if you accept the unspoken assumption that government spending should be in-line with population growth and economic growth, and if you ignore that much of the way this "in-line" spending was achieved was two unnecessary wars and a massive bipartisan bailout of banks during the financial crisis.
"That, in turn, has made the jobs of congressional staffers, of keeping an eye on government and sorting through the ever-growing amount of information coming at them from lobbyists and constituents, far more difficult, even as their numbers have not remotely kept pace with the growth of government and K Street."
Okay - congressional staffers are the honest, upright, stalwart guardians of good government, their numbers cruelly slashed in 1995 by the stupid Republicans. They, and they alone, take the responsibility for monitoring the leviathan, ensuring that government is running efficiently and ... sorry, I can't even say it with a straight face.
In reality land, congressional staff positions are highly partisan, high turnover positions that serve as the fast track to well-paid lobbying gigs. Most of them are hired by the majority party in that branch of Congress, and when leadership changes hands, staffers are routinely dismissed and replaced along partisan lines - as the author of this article admits. Most congressional staffers are either young and willing to work for the low pay in exchange for access to the halls of power, or veteran lobbyists serving a tour in the staff when their patrons were in power. The idea that congressional staff were somehow long-term unbiased experts, serving selflessly for low pay year after year, is simply laughable.
And all that ignores the fact that Democrats have been in charge of both branches of Congress many times since 1995 - and from 2008 to 2010, they were in charge of the entire government, with an almost filibuster-proof majority. And yet, nothing was done about staffing levels, the OTA, or any of the other things changed by the Republicans in 1995. That should be a clue that this is an issue that is simply irrelevant.
And finally, the real kicker:
"in the last year we’ve witnessed two appalling government fiascoes that better congressional oversight might have avoided: the botched rollout of the health insurance exchanges and the uncontrolled expansion of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs."
So let me get this straight. The author believes that a shortage of congressional staff was the cause of the botched rollout of the health insurance exchanges? A program proposed by a Democratic President, passed by a Democratic Congress, and executed by a Democratic administration over the course of six years, during a time when the Republicans were largely powerless to do anything about it - and who failed to do anything about it even when they tried? And that a lack of congressional staff was the problem with the uncontrolled expansion of the NSA, who to this day are defended by both a Democratic President and virtually every Democrat in the House and Senate, except for a handful of stalwarts ... who are working with a similar handful of Republicans to try to bring down the NSA leviathan? Does the author believe that extra congressional staff would have also stopped the march to war in Iraq, which was also nearly unanimously supported by Democrats?
The logical leaps this article requires in order to remain plausible are mind-boggling. I mean, let's be honest - most of the Republicans in Congress are definite bad actors. But the supposed lack of congressional staff is not anywhere near the core problem, nor would increasing staffing levels change a damn thing in Congress.