Omnibus Abomination

December 16, 2010

It is little wonder that Congress’s current approval rating is at the lowest point (13 percent) in the 30+ years Gallup has been asking that question. Consider the 1,924 page, $1.1 trillion pork-laden omnibus appropriations bill that Senate Democrats (and some establishment Republicans) want to pass along with an additional $160 billion in “emergency” spending. 

Congress basically has two budget choices right now: fund fiscal 2011 with an omnibus bill or pass a continuing resolution that would simply continue spending at fiscal 2010 levels. A continuing resolution would allow members in the next Congress, which will have a Republican-controlled House, to tackle spending with the message they received from voters in November. Locking in fiscal 2011 spending now by ramming through a bloated omnibus would be a slap to voters who just indicated that they want a change in Washington’s spending culture.    

Unfortunately, if Congress does pass an omnibus, President Obama will apparently sign it. And yet in 2009 the president stated that “I expect future spending bills to be debated and voted on in an orderly way, and sent to my desk without delay or obstruction, so that we don’t face another massive, last-minute omnibus bill like this again.” Congress proceeded to send zero spending bills to the president, which is why an omnibus or continuing resolution is now required.
If the president signs an omnibus, he will have broken his promises on dramatically reducing earmarks and he will have abetted the business as usual behavior in Washington that voters rejected. 
The omnibus contains an estimated $8 billion in earmarks for Democrats and Republicans alike. Here’s what the president had to say about the porky omnibus bill he signed last year: 
“This piece of legislation must mark an end to the old way of doing business and the beginning of a new era of responsibility and accountability that the American people have every right to expect and demand.” 
Although, the exclusion of earmarks in the omnibus wouldn’t make the bill much more palatable, their inclusion is symbolic of how completely addicted Congress is to spending. The omnibus would provide over a $1 billion for implementing Obamacare, and singles out one of the failed Head Start program for an $840 million boost. As we’ve repeatedly discussed, not only is Head Start riddled with fraud, it has patently failed in its mission to help children from low-income families succeed later in life.  
Appropriations Committee chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) said that an omnibus “is in the interest of the American people.” Sorry, Senator Inouye, but the American people told you and your colleagues in November that legislation like this omnibus abomination is not in their best interest. 



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