12.18.2015 1

Congress passes $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill


By Rick Manning

The House has passed the omnibus spending bill 316 to 113. It hit cloture in the Senate by a vote of 72 to 26.

The $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill effectively funds 9 of the last 12 months of the Obama agenda at higher spending levels in exchange for very little. The bill includes by virtue of not defunding it, funds for the implementation of Obamacare, executive amnesty for illegal immigrants with U.S.-born children, Planned Parenthood, the resettlement of refugees from the war in Syria and Iraq, the EPA’s war on coal and so forth.

They even managed to inexcusably reinstate the wind turbine tax credit through 2020 that had previously expired this year.

Failure to defund some of these big ticket items could have been somewhat offset by achieving smaller policy victories to limit the size and scope of government, but frankly these are very few and far between, and do not advise a yes vote for those representatives committed to reducing government’s role in the lives of the American people.

Sadly, there simply is very little in here for conservative members of Congress to hang their hats on, and Americans for Limited Government strongly opposed the bill.

Notably, this was Speaker Paul Ryan’s first and likely his only real chance to demonstrate that he was going to use the power of the purse to rein in President Obama’s rogue initiatives.

Rather than roaring like a lion by leveraging Democrats to accept provisions that tied Obama’s regulatory hands, Ryan meekly rolled over on his back and waved a white flag, making any pronouncements in the coming year about his vision for restoring Congress’ Article One constitutional authority meaningless.

Making matters worse, at a time of heightened security concerns over terrorism and immigration in the wake of Paris and San Bernardino, Congress is considering an omnibus spending bill that includes as a provision quadrupling the number of H2-B visas for low-skilled workers.

This is as irresponsible on the security front as it is politically deaf, dumb, and blind. House Republicans cannot possibly vote to keep the gates wide open, in the process making America less secure, while also throwing Americans workers under the bus. Now is the time for House members to stand up for sanity, and reject the special interests who are selling America’s future down the river.

Instead, the House has bailed out President Obama by funding the remainder of his radical agenda.

Republican leaders in both houses of Congress could have opted to instead pass a six-week continuing resolution, and work with Republican rank and file members to put a government funding bill on the President’s desk that reflects the majority’s priorities.

A continuing resolution that extended well past Christmas could have provided the time necessary to have a sober and honest conversation about the direction of our nation.

Instead by rushing ahead, Speaker Ryan, who has made a big deal out of talking up restoring Congress’ Article One prerogatives, makes Congress’ power of the purse that much less relevant.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

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