What was once outspoken opposition (to increased spending) led by the tea party core in the House seems to have cooled to a lukewarm loyal opposition. A few are opposing the latest $1.1 Trillion omnibus spending bill, but we are not hearing too much strident expression of principle anymore.
Where did they go?
Republicans in general seem to have been spooked by the media’s claims that the previous 16-day shutdown reflected poorly on Republicans. With reelection campaigns looming this year, jittery politicians need to reassure constituencies and donors by bringing home pork.
And boy are they! The House bill is porkfest, a grand feast—or better yet, a massive hulk of road kill covered in vultures.
Principle? What’s principle? We’ve gotta get things done around here. Nom, nom, nom.
Heriatge Fund has combed through the bill to reveal tons of waste—special pork projects almost certainly designed to help certain districts, and thereby ensure certain representatives vote yes. The list includes:
- More Federally Funded Cherry Pickers?
- Let USPS Compete
- Tax Dollars To UNFPA
- Obamacare Funding of Abortion Coverage
- Fueling Falsely-Named Transportation “Investments”
- Education Spending Increases Continue Apace
- Obamacare’s Omnibus Funding Loophole
- Department of Energy’s Wasteful Spending Streak Continues
- More Federal Transportation Spending, Bigger Government
- Hidden Green Handouts
- Obsolete Rural Programs
- No Cuts for National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities
- Justice Department Appropriations for 2014
- Waste Water, Waste Treatment — Government Waste
- Time for Congress to take Control of CO2 Future
- 10 Wasteful and Unnecessary Energy Spending Programs in the Omnibus
AP reports similar conclusions: the pork handouts, bailouts, grants, and special favors benefit Republican and Democrat representatives alike. There are “dozens of tradeoffs”:
The spending measure contains dozens of trade-offs between Democrats and Republicans as it fleshes out the details of the budget deal that Congress passed last month. That pact gave relatively modest but much-sought relief to the Pentagon and domestic agencies after deep cuts last year.
Western Republicans from timber country were anxious about payments to towns surrounded by federal lands but were reassured that the payments would be extended though separate legislation. Gulf Coast lawmakers praised a provision aimed at delaying federal flood insurance premium increases from new flood maps that have proven faulty, but the provision left in place other changes enacted in 2012.
Kevin Williamson expresses the same sentiment for National Review:
Among the items that will be funded in the deal is a 1 percent pay raise for hourly federal workers, an identical raise for salaried workers already having been approved. The average wage for a single hourly federal worker amounts to more than the average household income in the United States. When the total compensation package is considered, both salaried and hourly federal workers are grossly overpaid — if you doubt that, then let them negotiate wages in an open market and see whether they go up or go down. . . .
Of course, the Democrats have never met a government employee they did not like and wish to see be fruitful and multiply, but the Republicans are suspect here, too: The great majority of federal hourly workers are employed by the Department of Defense, where Republicans, gimlet-eyed in so many other areas, see little opportunity for savings in national security. Our friend Bill Kristol has argued that getting defense funds flowing is reason enough to back a budget deal.
It’s a bipartisan shakedown of the American taxpayer.
In reality, since so much of this will pile onto the national debt, it’s a shakedown of our children and grandchildren.
A good man lays up an inheritance for his grandchildren (Prov. 13:22). But America? Ahh. It appears that America rather somewhat steals from her grandchildren.
The liberals at HuffPost rightly see the hypocrisy of House Republicans ramming through this gargantuan piece of legislation without reading it:
At an unlikely-to-be-read 1,582 pages, Congress’ $1.1 trillion spending bill is precisely the sort of massive legislation that Republicans criticized when they successfully sought power three years ago in the House.
If that doesn’t sound badly-enough like ObamaCare, FreedomWorks’ Matt Kibbe adds, “The appropriators who crafted this bill did so in absolute secrecy, preventing any meddlesome outsiders from nagging them about the spending tweaks and program changes they tucked into a 1,500 page bill.”
But hey, let’s let old bygones be bygones. When the need is to flaunt millions in bring-home benefits before potential voters, back-room secrecy, ram-rods, and unread stacks of legalese are bipartisan joys. We should call it the campaign-industrial complex.
So where is the outspoken opposition from Tea Party leaders, and from the grass roots? So far, Heritage Foundation, Club for Growth, and FreedomWorks have called for Congressmen to reject the bloated bill. But where are the key Senators and Congressmen? Eerily silent.
Have they been compromised? Do they fear the media? Or do they know the constituents who elected them as hard-core tea partiers actually expect to share in the handouts? Does tea party America actually want the federal money, too? Is this a case of conservative voters playing the old “my socialism is OK” deception?
If so, then the politicians are only reflections of their voters, and freedom is far away. Your children will not know it. They will know Egypt before they know the Promised Land.
And with idiotic spending of this nature, we won’t even have pyramids to show for it. Only desert.
But hey, for now, what’s $1 trillion between friends?