Tag Archives: Omnibus bill

Senator Rubio Rips Pork-Laden Omnibus Bill

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl) voted against H.R. 2055, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, which passed the U.S. Senate on Saturday, Dec. 18th, 2011 in an attempt to avoid a government shutdown once again. The last minute deal was necessary due to the gridlock in the U.S. Senate where Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to allow votes on the numerous spending bills sitting on his desk for months. Senator Rubio joins Senator John McCain who took to the Senate floor to voice his strong objections as to how this bill was rammed through without following proper authorizations procedures. Senator Rubio released the following statement explaining why he voted against H.R. 2055:

“This massive 1,200-plus page bill represents everything that is wrong with Washington. Our country faces major economic challenges, but Congress wasted the whole year stuck in partisan gridlock only to pass a funding bill that solves none of our problems, just to avoid a government shutdown. This plan spends too much, wastes precious taxpayer dollars to fund a menu of job-killing regulations, anti-life provisions and earmarks, and has been ushered through Congress in a highly secretive and non-transparent manner that didn’t allow for consideration of even a single amendment. I cannot support it.”

In the following Marco Rubio constituent mailbox video we see just how fed up Americans truly are with the current state of DC and the big government debt-spending that continues unabated.

Almost all House Republican measures to reign in spending that were included in H.R. 2055 as it passed through the House were somehow craved out by the Senate. The Senate did leave the Republican light bulb ban stoppage measure in the final bill. Senator Jim DeMint came out with a scathing letter about just what has transipred in the U.S. senate once again, titled, A Shameful End to the Year.In it we see the following truths exposed:

The hard choice Democrats have given Republicans has paid off for the big-spenders again.

Refusing to work together to cut spending, Democrats demanded that Republicans compromise with them to increase spending, or shut down the government.

As a result, Congress rammed through a 1,000-page, trillion-dollar omnibus spending bill that lumped 9 different appropriations bills in a single package at the very last minute rather than debating, amending, and voting on these bills in a transparent manner.

As was reported here, this last-minute spending spree to supposedly avoid a government shut-down is beng done by design by Senate Democrats, and Senator Jim DeMint appears to agree with that assessment:

It’s become a cynical yearly tradition in Washington to delay the big-spending votes until just before Christmas. After all, it’s how Democrats in the Senate passed ObamaCare. Members of Congress are now hurrying home after the vote without much talk, but it should not be forgotten. It represents a shameful end to a year that began with many bold assurances.

Conservatives must win a majority in the U.S. Senate in the 2012 elections if we are ever to reverse the course of big government debt-spending that threatens to throw America off of the debt-cliff she is standing on the edge of. It is blatantly obvious that Democrats refuse to curb their debt-spending addiction, to the detriment of our great nation.

Senator John McCain Blasts Big Government Grifters Taxpayer Abuse

Obama creates debt commission, then ignores their solutions

A grifter is defined by urbandictionary.com as a: someone who swindles you through deception or fraud, and b: a grifter is an expert in illicit acquisition of goods or services through various methods of over confident flim-flammery and fast talking. Apparently several members of Congress today fit both definitions of the term grifter, as outlined above. Senator John McCain took to the floor of the United States Senate today to call out the unauthorized spending, waste, and pay-for-play disservice to the American taxpayer that was slid into the current 2012 defense spending bill. This is where the term Big Government Grifter comes into play.

The Maverick Really Gets Fired Up! Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was livid about the wasteful spending he discovered that was tucked into the defense spending bill, and repeatedly slammed his fist down on the podium in an expression of utter disgust as he gave his floor speech today. The text of the entire speech is available here, and the following are just a few examples of exactly what was also mentioned in this article on the current omnibus spending bill also being rammed through Congress this week:

Mr. President, I come to the floor today to discuss the Fiscal Year 2012 Omnibus Appropriations bill that the House just passed this afternoon and the Senate will vote on tomorrow. Once again, the Senate is faced with a thousand-plus page behemoth of an appropriations bill and very little in the way of authorizations to support it. So here we are, at the end of another calendar year, cramming what should be months of actual debate and legislating into hours of reckless appropriating.

As was detailed in this CDN article, this points to a pattern of being done by design to avoid any forms of Congressional accountability and transparency. In a statement that backs that theory up, Senator McCain called upon Senator Coburn today to bring to light the fact that Congress is currently severely cutting funding to the Government Accountability Office in 2012. The GAO is the non-partisan watchdog that helps the government weed out waste and fraud to protect the taxpayers. The current planned cuts for the 2012 budget will result in a total of 400 less employees at the GAO.

Here are some bullet points from Mr. McCain’s Senate floor speech today:

So let’s compare last years omnibus debacle to this years:

• “Last year – 1,924 pages. This year – 1,221 pages.
• “Last year – all 12 annual appropriations bills. This year – nine of the annual appropriations bills.
• “Last year – over $1.1 trillion in spending. This year – over $915 billion in spending or $1.043 trillion if you include the three bills we’ve already passed. That works out to be a reduction of 5% from last year to this year. Taxpayers get a better deal at a Macy’s Christmas sale.
• “Last year – 6,488 earmarks totaling nearly $8.3 billion. This year – no traditional “earmarks” but over $3.5 billion in unauthorized spending in DoD alone.
“So should we consider this progress? Are we doing anything differently? The national debt is now at the record level of over $15 trillion, which is more than $48,000 per citizen, yet we have failed to make any significant, meaningful spending cuts and we continue with business as usual.

Senator McCain went on to outline how the whole appropriations process is fundamentally flawed today. “We have a fundamental problem in the Senate, Mr. President, of being unable to engage in the process of authorizing prior to regular appropriations. And what is the outcome? A handful of appropriators and unelected staffs disburse hundreds of billions of dollars, often in a manner that directly contravenes the will of the authorizers. Consequently, at the 11th hour of the process, we ram through an omnibus measure so that we can get out of town for the holidays. It’s disgraceful Mr. President.”

Mr. McCain goes on to show us how unauthorized spending has been injected into the defense spending bill through this rushed-through omnibus bill they are now being forced to pass.
This omnibus contains a number of objectionable provisions: (shortened versions)

Guam is getting earmarks of $33 million U.S. taxpayer dollars for 53 civilian school buses,and a cultural artifacts depository. (museum) Sen. McCain added, “I can only say that the many citizens of Arizona who are out of work, whose homes have been lost due to the economic downturn, who would benefit from any sort of action by the Federal Government to create jobs and ease their burdens, feel nothing but outrage when they see this kind of blatant waste and abuse of the political system that has gone on for years and years and years. But that’s not the end of this sad story. Within this initial funding grant to Guam of $33 million is $9.6 million for the first phase of a mental health facility that advocates claim is somehow related to the proposed military buildup on Guam. I’m still trying to sort this argument out, but I have that odd feeling that to do so I must go down the rabbit hole to Alice in Wonderland.

And Senator McCain was just getting wound up in the first 10 minutes of today’s floor speech, to which he added about the Guam mental health facility to be built with U.S. Taxpayer dollars: “And, of course, this $9.6 million dollars of pork in the FY12 Defense Appropriations bill is only the down payment, the ‘nose of the camel under the tent’ you might say, because to complete the facility as required to satisfy the already existing federal injunction against Guam, another $33 million will be required next year in 2013 to finish out the project as well as building a new public health laboratory. Wonderful!”
Senator McCain went on to mention the Tea Party and how fed-up Americans are with these kinds of Big Government Grifters that are doing this kind of wasteful, reckless spending:

The American people have seen this kind of abuse and waste for far too often, and they have had enough of it. They are convinced Congress never learns. And by this example, it’s hard to say they are wrong. In fact, this sort of complete waste and abuse of the taxpayers’ money proves they are exactly right.”

To which he added: “If you don’t understand the rise of the Tea Party, you can start by looking right here.”

The second half of Senator McCain’s Senate floor speech was just as informative as the first half as he laid out such things as other provisions. “The Defense portion of the Omnibus contains some $3.5 billion in unrequested, unauthorized spending for items that are not core, high-priority Defense requirements. As you will see, Mr. President, many old favorites appear on the list.” Again, I urge all concerned citizens to check the complete list of waste, fraud, and taxpayer abuse found in the latest omnibus bill, brought to you by the Big Government Grifters of Congress, and outlined on Senator McCain’s website.

Footnote: How ironic is this fact? Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) Is on the House floor giving a speech right now, saying how wonderful the tireless staff on the House Appropriations Committee have been while working on this omnibus bill. Mr. Rogers is the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Maybe he should give Senator John McCain a call and have a discussion about just how wonderful this pork-laden, fraud-upon-the-taxpayers omnibus truly is for the U.S. Taxpayer.

Congress Smashes Light Bulb Law .. For Now

Americans of all political bents have been stockpiling traditional, incandescent  light bulbs ahead of the planned enforcement of the so-called Light Bulb Law which was signed by former President Bush. It now appears they have more time before having CFLs shoved down their throats.

In an attempt to pull government from yet another facet of American life, GOP lawmakers reached a deal and were able to include a postponement of the law in the Omnibus spending bill. The spending bill that will fund the government through the end of September of 2012 passed the House last Friday.

Republicans removed any funding for the enforcement of the Light Bulb Law. Without finding, the Energy Department will have no way to make sure that Americans no longer use the wildly popular and very inexpensive bulbs to which they have become accustomed.

The funding cut will have no effect on those that choose Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) or LED lights which require less electricity to run, but are hugely more expensive to purchase. 6 100-watt equivalent CFLs cost about $20.00 – more than $3 per bulb – while the standard 100 watt incandescent bulbs can be purchased for less than $0.80  per bulb.

The CFLs at the the $3.25/bulb end of the spectrum also contain mercury – a serious toxin that makes bulb breakage a HAZMAT event.

The standards that were due to go into effect on January 1st only applied to 100 watt bulbs. 75-watt bulbs would have been regulated out-of-existence in 2013 and all other incandescents in 2014.

To fully reverse the light bulb mandates, the 2007 law will need to be repealed. Something Republicans in the House and Senate were looking to do in March of this year. As it stands, the 100-watt provisions would now go into effect in October of 2012 with the 75-watt provisions following close behind. This could be another regulation that will be killed or strengthened at the ballot box in 2012.

Jim Presswood, policy director for the environmentalist group Natural Resources Defence Council, called the move by Republicans “dim-witted” and “completely ridiculous”.

The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Fred Upton said that they had “heard the message loud and clear. Americans don’t want government standards determining how they light their homes”

Government Shutdown Avoided at Last Minute [Again]

Greece here we come

Once again, DC lawmakers painted themselves into a corner and had to scramble to avoid a government shutdown at the very last minute by reaching another “deal” to fund a major part of the United States government in 2012. Just what grand bargain have the wizards of DC struck this time? Once again the details are scarce, and it looks like we the people will just have to wait a few weeks to actually find out how the government plans on spending the people’s hard-earned tax revenues in 2012. The pattern of these last minute deals in Congress regarding spending bills of the last three-plus years is a pretty neat trick. It allows lawmakers to avoid any accountability or transparency as to how they are spending the people’s money, and this appears to be done by design. When ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi said we will have to pass the bills to see what’s in them, maybe folks should have made a bigger effort to denounce those kinds of oppressive policies and obviously-manipulated lack of transparency right then and there.

Just What Do We Actually Know So Far About This Latest Grand Bargain?

The big bundle of appropriations agreed upon on Dec 15, 2011 which is also know as an omnibus bill,( which Congress constantly tells us they will no longer resort to using in passing spending bills) will fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2012. Total spending in this omnibus bill has been reported at anywhere from 900 billion to 1.1 trillion dollars. As of right now, when this bill lands on President Obama’s desk for his signature, it’s anyone’s guess as to the true costs hidden in it. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s website was last updated on Dec. 8th, proving once again, that the citizenry will just have to wait until after the president signs the bill before they can see what’s in it. How much is that website costing we the people for that laughable example of transparency?

In a much-ballyhooed bunch of irresponsible reporting so far, about all we know about this omnibus bill is that the demands for reapplying stricter travel restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba was taken out. Big whoopee-do there. Of course the earmarks, graft, crony-capitalism and outright tax dollar theft hidden in this omnibus bill will eventually come out, but by then it will be too late for we the people to call up our representatives and express our concerns about this latest example of buffoonery perpetuated by the wizards of Congress. That’s it. Over a trillion dollars of taxpayer funding has been authorized by the United States Congress and we the people have not been told a thing about how it will be spent.

2012 just can’t get here fast enough. Then again, maybe 2012 will just bring about the continuation of the irresponsible debt-spending that will lead America over the edge of the Greek-style debt-cliff she is standing on today. After watching this latest episode in “As the Congressional dog and pony show turns.” it certainly looks that way.