Republicans and Democrats alike issued a flurry of accusatory statements today, both sides hoping that their desperate spin would convince a soon to be stunned public that the other side "did it". What will soon be stunning that public is a 1,209 page, $1 trillion plus spending bill that will fund most of the government through September of next year. If you do the math, that averages over $827 million of spending per page!
Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis), who is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, held his work product up for reporters yesterday and said "This is not good." He acknowledged that most members of Congress will have no idea what the bill contains when they cast their votes.
When Republicans took over the House in 2010, they promised to end the practice of shoveling huge bills through Congress at the 11th hour. But according to Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-Md), this 1,209 page bill that has to be passed by midnight Friday to avert a government shutdown, was released at 12:37 am Thursday. He also noted that four of the nine spending bills gathered together into this monstrous budget plan have never been voted on by the House. Two of them, apparently, never even got voted out of their appropriations committees.
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky), who is the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee that is at least partially responsible for this fiasco, called the omnibus spending bill a triumph of "responsible leadership and good governance."
Republicans have accused Democrats this week of delaying the bill to gain leverage on a different bill that would extend a Social Security and Medicare tax cut and unemployment insurance benefits. Democrats, meanwhile, have been saying Republicans hopelessly screwed up the whole budget process by concocting out of whole cloth the "debt ceiling crisis" this summer. That manufactured crisis delayed budget negotiations by months and cost the United States its AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor's.
But the story on this bill goes back further than that. Republicans also accuse Democrats of not passing the 2012 budget in 2010 when they had control of the House and Senate. What they don't say, is that Republicans made passage of the bill all but impossible in the Senate, where Democrats never had the 60 reliable votes they needed to stop dozens of Republican filibusters.
Photo: Courtesy of Ronald Reagan Library, via WorldWide Archive
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