The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.3 Trillion dollar Omnibus spending bill on Thursday by a vote count of 256 to 167. Members were only given 24 hours to read a bill that was approximately 2300 pages.
This bill, the Consolidated Omnibus Act of 2018 should be called “Omnibust” as it busts the federal budget by jacking up spending (not to mention the total lack of transparency). Any member, in particular, Republican members who campaigned on limited government, should be ashamed for voting for it.
This bill includes little *gems* like:
- Record spending levels. For example, not only does it not include the budget cuts to the U.S Department of Education proposed by the Trump Administration, but it increases spending by over $2.6 Billion raising the total to $70.9 Billion which is record funding for that department.
- Obamacare is still left intact (though they did strip out the stability package and released that in a separate bill).
- There is no funding for increased border security.
- Funding for sanctuary cities.
- This bill still funds Planned Parenthood.
But hey, it included some boosts in defense spending! That makes it all better right? Right?
Republican leadership in the House and Senate has continually abandoned the principles they have campaigned on with some members sheepishly going along to get along. Both Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) need to be replaced for foisting this crap on their members. Those who voted for this need to face their constituents.
Here’s how Iowa’s members of the House of Representatives voted: Congressmen Rod Blum (R-Iowa) and Steve King (R-Iowa) voted against Omnibust. Congressmen David Young (R-Iowa) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) voted in favor of it.
Update: Congressman Blum released the following statement explaining why he voted no.
As a fiscal watchdog elected to Congress on the promise to rein in Washington’s out of control spending habits, this omnibus bill represents politics as usual in Washington.
The text was not released until last night, effectively giving Members of Congress seven hours to read the 2,232 page bill — the equivalent length of two Bibles. It is problematic voting on any legislation that I cannot study first in its entirety.
The omnibus is not an effective way to run a government, and we must return to regular order and appropriations budgeting process to restore fiscal sanity. The House passed all 12 appropriations bills 189 days ago – we did our job. However, the Senate did not take up even one of those bills.
Bad process usually leads to bad policy. With any 2,232 page bill, there are bound to be some things that I like; in fact, many that I have voted for in the past as stand-alone bills, and would vote for again in the future are in the Omnibus bill. However, by and large, this bill fails to deliver on the promises we made to the American people. This bill will not secure our southern border, continues funding Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities, and infringes upon the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans to name but a few problems in the bill.
And the most problematic part of the bill is the overall spending levels. Aside from former President Obama’s stimulus package in 2009, this is the largest discretionary spending increase in U.S. history. This bill will lead to a 1 trillion dollar deficit next year – this is unacceptable, unsustainable and not what the voters in Iowa sent me to Washington to do. That is why I joined 167 of my colleagues to vote NO on the omnibus bill.
2nd Update: Congressman Young explained why he voted yes.
This bill includes a number of provisions which will help Iowans by rebuilding our military, securing our homeland, combating the opioid crisis, and securing our schools.
After years of neglect, our soldiers are getting a pay raise and the resources they need to train, fight, win, and return to their families. We help secure our border and stem the flow of illegal goods into our country.
The bill also helps communities secure their schools with new funding for mental health, training, facility upgrades, and life-saving technologies. It has provisions to invest in treatment, prevention, and law enforcement efforts to combat the opiod crisis.
As the only Iowan in Congress on the Appropriations Committee, I am pleased we got our job done in the House by following regular order in an open and transparent process and getting our funding bills through the committee and through the full House in a responsible and timely manner. I urge the Senate to follow suit in the future. Until then, this unfortunate process may become the norm but my focus is on the substance and merit of the policy.