Free Markets, Free People

The return of the monster 2,000 page debt-fueled bill


nyone who remembers the recent passage of ObamaCare remembers the size of the bill – over 2,000 pages – and the fact that almost no one knew what was included in its pages.  Nancy Pelosi infamously said, “we’ll have to pass the bill to find out what’s in the bill”.

There was very little if any debate on the bill and it ended up being rammed through Congress under the reconciliation process.   We’re still finding out all of the little poison nuggets in that mess of a law.

Then November shows up and the American pubic spanks the Democrats for doing business the way they did, taking away 63 seats and a majority in the House in a bloodbath of an election.  Quit spending like drunken sailors and focus on jobs and the economy the people said.

And the Democrats learned what?  Nary a freakin’ thing.  They’ve never passed a budget for government this year in Congress – one of its main functions – but instead have passed a series of continuing resolutions to keep it funded.  That last continuing resolution is about to run out and – back up to their old tricks — Congressional Democrats have advanced a 2,000 page, 1.1 trillion dollar omnibus spending bill that is designed to fund government (and lard out the pork) through 2011.

Instead of bringing up a straight spending bill that funds government at its current levels (or, here’s an idea, maybe 2008 levels so they could show the American people they’re serious about cutting spending?  Nah.), we get 1.1 trillion in pork, payoffs and profligacy.

Same old Democrats doing the same old thing as though November never happened.

And they’re not alone:

Despite strong opposition from Thune and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), several Senate Republicans are considering voting for the bill.

“That’s my intention,” said retiring Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) when asked if he would support the package.

Bennett said earmarks in the bill might give some of his GOP colleagues reason to hesitate but wouldn’t affect his vote.

“It will be tough for some, but not for me,” he said.

GOP Sens. Kit Bond (Mo.), George Voinovich (Ohio) and Susan Collins (Maine) also told The Hill on Tuesday they would consider voting for the omnibus but want to review it before making a final decision.

And there you have it.  If Bennett wonders why he’s soon to be unemployed, it couldn’t be more plainly obvious than his remarks about this.  And as for the other “usual suspects”, apparently they don’t much care about the November message either (and if you happen to have one of those people as your Senator, you might want to remind them of that message).

This is the “business as usual” nonsense that has to stop and stop now.  This Congress has all but abrogated its budget responsibilities for the entire year and now, on the eve of a government shutdown and the end of their session, they decide to act. But not with a continuing resolution to keep essential government services funded until the new Congress can meet to take up the budget, but with a 2,000 page pork laden, 1.1 trillion debt-fueled monstrosity that will be allowed little debate and passed without most knowing what the hell they’re voting for.  On that principle alone, I’d vote “no”.  “No” until I can read and consider the bill, debate it, amend it and do what is supposed to be done before passing legislation.

There are a few things that have leaked out concerning what is in the bill:

The 1,924-page bill includes funding to implement the sweeping healthcare reform bill Congress passed earlier this year as well as additional funds for Internal Revenue Service agents, according to a senior GOP aide familiar with the legislation.

Obviously that doesn’t cost “1.1 trillion”, so there’s an awful lot more (I wonder if the IRS agents mentioned are those whose job it will be to enforce health insurance compliance through the tax system?).

So here we are again, faced with a debt-fueled, pork laden 1.1 trillion dollar last spending fling by Democrats and you have 4 Republican Senators thinking about supporting this nonsense in contravention of the will of the people.  For those like Bennett, Bond and Voinovich (both of the latter  I believe are retiring) there’s probably nothing that can be done to punish them or change their mind.  That’s the problem with the lame duck session of a Congress.  And it is, as I’ve pointed out before, a major problem.  There is no accountability mechanism for those who’ve been defeated or are retiring so they can do pretty much what they wish.  This is their last fling and they’re going to go out as they’ve always been – earmark addicts and debt spending fanatics who really don’t give a rip about what Americans have said they want. 

Collins, of course, is always ready to side with those who spend like fools and have gotten us in the shape we’re in.  And unfortunately Maine GOP voters have yet to ensure Collins understands their new priorities.  She’s not up for re-election again until 2014.  With that cushion and no apparent pressure from her constituency, she appears to feel free to proceed as usual.  However, we can’t afford “as usual” anymore.

Many think that stopping this bill and insisting that it be a clean, clear continuing resolution to fund government is a priority.  I’d be one of those.  But the GOP worries that if it does so, and government gets shut down right before the holidays, they’ll be blamed and suffer for it as they did when Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton went toe-to-toe one year over spending and shutting down government.

I’m not so sure, given the current conditions, that Democrats would enjoy the same wide-spread support now that they did then.  Not given the midterms, not given the message very forcefully sent by the electorate and certainly not given this deficit building monstrosity of a bill being considered.



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13 Responses to The return of the monster 2,000 page debt-fueled bill

  • McConnell doesn’t have a big enough whip to stop this bill. As noted above, he’s got no influence over any Republican Senator who is retiring. And Susan Collins is always willing to go along to get along. Assuming that he can’t stop it, the best thing to do is keep all the other Republican Senators united in voting against the bill. Sometimes you just can’t win.
    The smart political play for the President would be to declare he would veto the bill. He won’t. He doesn’t have enough foresight or courage. Remember, what really matters here is headlines at the top of the news. He could state a preference for the House bill, cheaper by billions of dollars and look like he’s fiscally responsible. He won’t. Primarily because given the make up of the 112th Congress, he will be more dependent on Harry Reid and the Democratic Senate.
    Really, at this point all the Republicans can do is make the case. Government shut down? Nobody is willing to go there.

    • I don’t disagree, Steve. But it illustrates two points – one) Democrats continue to ignore the message of the midterms and two) lame duck Congressional sessions are sessions with unaccountable legislators who will do whatever they please and such sessions are thus unrepresentative, unaccountable, dangerous and should be stopped. Seat the newly elected immediately.

  • Stop the car or drive it off a cliff?
    You mean we really have to debate this?

  • I don’t think this is like 1994. Its a lame duck Congress that’s passing another 2,000 page bill – not the GOP stopping government during good times.
    No more 2,000 page bills and wild appropriations. I would guess more people who are skittish about the Tea Party are changing their minds. I figure it will be the folks who think the Tea Party is a little too flyover and grass roots for them, until they see the so-called “adults” acting like its an open bar on prom night.

  • I am a bit confused about this bill. IIRC, the last “Bush” budget (actually the first Pelosi budget) was $3.7T, which included a $400B deficit. If this bill is actually the full 2011 budget, and it totals only $1.1T, won’t we be about $2.2T in the black? I know that’s not right, because there is no way Dingy Harry wouldcome up with such a thing.

    So what’s the answer? Is this really a $1.1T deficit bill? Or only a partial spending bill?

    • This is just the back end of all the continuing resolutions (partial spending) they’ve passed and funded to this point. It’s an attempt to keep the GOP from defunding ObamaCare among other things. So they’re trying to push this thing out there beyond a date where a GOP House would have say in what would go into more continuing resolutions (next year) until the 2012 budget was offered.

      Another lame duck problem. At best they should be limited to a continuing resolution which funds government until the 1st of Feb or something. They never offered a budget this year and they ought to be prevented from trying this nonsense now at the 11th hour.

      • OK, now it makes sense.

        And yeah, these freaks have given up any pretense of coming up with a real budget, so it is insane to let them f*ck up the 2011 budget.

  • On the other hand, this is a headline on Yahoo! today:

    Reid to Republicans: Quit whining about working this holiday!

    Curse those lazy teabaggers!  First they just say “no” to everything, then they hold unemployed people hostage to get MORE tax breaks for the rich, and now they don’t even want to show up for work just because it’s Christmas.

    / sarc

    Where is Preston Brooks when we need him?

    McQNovember shows up and the American pubic spanks the Democrats for doing business the way they did, taking away 63 seats and a majority in the House in a bloodbath of an election.  Quit spending like drunken sailors and focus on jobs and the economy the people said.

    And Congress said, “SCREW YOU!” I recall speculation before the election that the dems would go “kamikaze” if they got shellacked; seems like that speculation was well-founded.

    Maybe we need to tar and feather a few of them to get the point across.  Or decorate a few lamp posts.

    • Just for the record, I only support decorating lamp posts with decorations you can make yourself or buy at stores.  If you have to go all the way to K street to buy them, I don’t approve.

    Are they serious?  (Sign here, everything will be fine….)

  • The Domesday Book is a complete list of everything of value in the possession of England’s 2 million people in 1086.  It is only 1456 pages long.  Approximately 2 million people work for the federal government.  You’d think it’d take fewer than 2000 pages to describe in Domesday-level detail everything they have to spend our money on.