Category Archive 'Omnibus Spending Bill'

28 Mar 2018

Trump: Photographed With Prostitutes!

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24 Mar 2018

Trump Signed the Omnibus Spending Bill

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The talk is that Trump signed it because he believed that funding a military build is, at this point in time, a completely over-arching priority. That does not, of course, excuse Republicans who run conservative and then vote liberal, or the total and complete absence of GOP Party discipline.

Politico explains just how disgraceful the bill was.

The omnibus—Capitol Hill jargon for a single spending bill that funds most government functions—does not kill any of the programs or agencies Trump’s budget proposed to kill; it triples funding for TIGER, nearly doubles CDBG, and boosts ARPA-E’s budget by 16 percent. Trump wanted to slash the Energy Department’s renewables budget 65 percent; instead, Congress boosted it 14 percent. Trump proposed to keep nonmilitary spending $54 billion below the congressional budget cap; the omnibus spends right up to the cap, a $63 billion increase from last year.

This is why the conservative National Review denounced the omnibus as “the sort of legislation that would have been right at home in the Obama administration,” while Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer gloated in a statement that its “job-creating, life-saving investments stand in sharp contrast to the Trump budget.” It basically extends the fiscal status quo that has prevailed since the start of Obama’s second term—plus a sizable chunk of new deficit spending—even though Republicans now control the legislative and executive branches.

“Throughout the Obama presidency, the Republican Party at least gave lip service to the need to restore fiscal sanity in Washington,” says Michael Needham, head of the conservative policy group Heritage Action. “It is now clear just how many in the GOP are willing to engage in profligate spending when they control the levels of power.”

Republicans are pleased that the omnibus hikes defense spending 10 percent, even more than Trump requested, including a 2.6 percent military pay raise Trump has already bragged about on Twitter. The White House also got $1.6 billion for border security, although the bill specifies it cannot be spent on the concrete wall the president wants. There’s a 6 percent cut in foreign aid and other State Department programs, less than the 25 percent cut in the Trump budget written by Office of Management and Budget chief Mick Mulvaney but still a significant rollback. And the omnibus did not include a specific line item for the Gateway rail tunnel project in New York City that Trump had called a deal-breaker, although Democrats are confident that Gateway will still get plenty of cash from the bill. …

Trump has periodically threatened to shut down the government if Democrats wouldn’t meet his demands, but Republican leaders were clearly desperate for the Democratic votes they needed to keep the government open. The omnibus doesn’t even cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, a GOP priority that inspired a government shutdown under Obama.

Pelosi and Schumer’s gloating aside, Democrats did not get everything they wanted. The omnibus did not include the new protections they are seeking for undocumented Dreamers who came to America as kids, or new funding they want for stabilizing the Obamacare exchanges. But considering the balance of power in Congress, they got quite a lot they wanted that Trump didn’t want—including full funding for the 2020 census, money for states to bolster their election security and the FBI to fight Russian cyberattacks, and language blocking a proposed Trump administration rule that would have allowed employers to pocket tips earned by their workers. They insisted on expanding a tax credit for low-income housing development in exchange for allowing Republicans to fix a technical glitch in the recent tax bill. And they won a modest strengthening of gun background checks and a rollback of a ban on gun violence research by the CDC without having to accept a provision requiring states to honor concealed carry permits; conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus claimed GOP leaders had promised that provision would be part of the deal.

Presidential budgets are always dead on arrival on Capitol Hill, but the omnibus feels more like a product of Obama-era divided government than Trump-era Republican monopoly. …

he bill was crafted behind closed doors by congressional leaders—most back-benchers had less than a day to read its 2,232 pages—so it’s hard to say how much of it reflects genuine Republican enthusiasm for big government and how much reflects a political decision to cave to Democrats to avoid a shutdown on Trump’s watch. For years, limited-government conservatives have been frustrated by the compromises GOP leaders have made to avoid budgetary train wrecks, and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows complained that “this omnibus doesn’t just forget the promises we made to voters—it flatly rejects them.”

RTWT


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