12.09.2014 1

If omnibus is a bridge too far, go short-term

U.S. CapitolBy Robert Romano

Talks on the more than $1 trillion omnibus bill were stalled Monday evening as House and Senate negotiators were “finishing out final details,” House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said leaving the House floor.

On spending, action is required by December 11 in order to avert a partial government shutdown.

Slowing things down reportedly were policy riders from both House Republicans and Senate Democrats. Which, if both sides have irreconcilable differences, perhaps they are better off left that way.

No deal is better than a bad deal.

If a grand bargain on omnibus right before Christmas is a bridge too far for this Congress, and requires too much compromise on both sides, the solution is to kick 2015 spending questions into next year for the incoming 114th Congress to decide.

If anything, the fact that both chambers of Congress will be controlled by Republicans next year should give House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) the upper hand against Democrats who would like to see some of their policies included in the mix.

That raises the bar of expectations. If Republicans accept a bad deal, they will be viewed as having allowed a fading Democrat Party to write the funding bill for the upcoming fiscal year — when they didn’t have to.

The Democrat-led Senate has not brought a single appropriations bill to the floor for a vote all year long. This contrasts with the House, which for its part has passed 7 spending bills this year, including 215 spending amendments.

Why should Democrats be rewarded now for doing nothing?

Robert Romano is senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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