Congress may have passed a much-needed COVID stimulus bill to the tune of $900 billion earlier this week, but what leadership there also did was combine that bill with a $1.4 trillion, 6,000 page “omnibus” spending bill that senators and representatives were handed a couple hours before a vote was taken. Although overwhelmingly passed in both chambers, a few members had the courage to vote against it, while registering complaints over how the spending bill was passed.
Although the omnibus bill was touted as necessary to keep the government running through next September, it’s clear that the bill is laden with “pork” spending as well. At a time when the national debt has been pushed beyond $27 trillion, you’d think that Congress would be tightening the spending reins on non-essential items.
You’d be wrong.
The folks at Townhall.com have looked into the recesses of the bill, and they came up with a few of the more interesting head-scratchers.
The bill allocates $130 million for preventing the spread of harmful aquatic species in the nation’s waterways.
Tibetan Plateau water resources get $1 million for each of the next five years, along with a scholarship program.
Thirty million dollars – annually – goes to the establishment of something called the US-India Gandhi-King Development Foundation.
Ten million dollars will be headed to Pakistan to fund undefined “gender programs.”
Although there doesn’t appear to be a discernable funding component, the bill also creates a statute to regulate performance-enhancing drugs for racehorses, and another concerning how the Dalai Lama’s successor will be chosen. I am not making this up.
These are just a few of the highlights of the wasteful spending and pet projects contained in this bill. Remember, this bill has been delayed for months because Republicans and Democrats supposedly couldn’t “agree” on the terms of COVID relief. Yet at the last minute the bill is crammed with goodies for the climate change crowd?
And then it’s handed out and voted on just hours before the government runs out of money. No wonder a few members of Congress are outraged.
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, was just elected to his second term in the House. His press statement about the bill was blunt about the reasons for his “no” vote.
“The American people got a very clear glimpse at the total dysfunction and incompetency of the U.S. Congress as it passed a massive lobby-driven 5600 page spending bill negotiated in back rooms to spend over $2.3 trillion with mere hours to review it,” the statement reads. “Allegedly passed as ‘COVID relief,’ we actually voted on both COVID measures and a massive omnibus spending package — a package that should have been divided into well over 20 bills.”
Roy concludes his statement with a plea to President Donald Trump to veto it.
“It represents everything wrong with Washington and epitomizes the very swamp that the President supposedly ran against.
“The President should veto the bill and force Congress back to the drawing board to do its job just as the American people do theirs every day.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, expressed frustration with the process.
“This process,” Lee said, “by which members of Congress are asked to defer blindly to legislation negotiated entirely in secret by four of their colleagues, must come to an end.”
Even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., objected to the way the bill was presented to Congress.
“Members of Congress have not read this bill. It’s over 5000 pages, arrived at 2pm today, and we are told to expect a vote on it in 2 hours. This isn’t governance. It’s hostage-taking,” AOC tweeted.
The bill passed in the Senate by a margin of 92-6. The House, which split the bill into two halves and took separate votes, passed the first part by a vote of 327-85, and the second part by a vote of 359-53.
So when you open your mail in coming days and gaze at your $600 stimulus check and wonder how that’s going to pay the bills that have been racking up, you can take comfort in knowing that your taxes – and future taxes – will be funding $193 million for federal HIV/AIDS workers stationed abroad to purchase new cars.
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