Late Wednesday night, the top four congressional leaders finally agreed on a proposed spending bill that would fund the government until October. The $1.3 trillion omnibus bill was released to the public approximately 52 hours before the deadline, which would spur a government shutdown, at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.
While the proposed agreement gives a win to President Trump for military spending to update equipment and provides overdue pay increases to our service men and women, there seem to be significant gaps when it comes to border wall funding, penalizing sanctuary cities, and the inclusion of gun control initiatives.
REPUBLICANS IN HOUSE NOT HAPPY WITH PROCESS, BUT PASS SPENDING BILL REGARDLESS
By early Thursday morning there was a ton of harsh criticism about this bill, and yes mostly from the majority party, who once again cannot get on the same page. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) said, “This whole process is an embarrassment and as bad as it looks to the American people from the outside, you ought to see it from the inside.”
Many lawmakers are complaining about the lengthy, back-room negotiations leaving them with less than 24 hours for a House vote which quickly passed by 256 to 167. Those voting no on the initiative’s massive price tag and lack of transparency included 90 Republicans and 77 Democrats. The omnibus bill now moves on to the Senate in hopes of beating the deadline. Important to remember, in the Senate, any one senator can block the chamber from speeding up the process to quickly pass through bills. This is precisely what happened last month on the two-year budget proposal stopped by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). The delay kept the Senate in session until nearly 2 a.m., requiring the House to revote at 5:30 a.m. to end the shutdown.
ALL EYES ON SENATOR RAND PAUL, WILL HE FORCE A SHUTDOWN?
Senator Paul is conspicuously quiet as to his stance toward stalling the omnibus bill. However, he expressed sharp criticism and sarcastic remarks towards his Republican colleagues in an interview Tuesday:
“That’s why I gave them a piece of my mind the last time around. I’m upset that we’re spending like every Democrat that we criticized,” Paul said. “I ran for office because I thought the Obama spending and trillion dollar annual deficits were a real problem for our country and now Republicans are doing the same thing.
“So I’m giving them the same grief I gave Obama.”
Senator Paul then tweeted Wednesday: “It’s a good thing we have Republican control of Congress or the Democrats might bust the budget caps, fund planned parenthood and Obamacare, and sneak gun control without due process into an Omni…wait, what?”
DEMS FEEL LIKE THE WINNERS
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), with his “Grinch Who Stole Christmas” grin, is overflowing with enthusiasm for the omnibus. Democratic leaders applauded the bill’s funding increases for domestic priorities, including Planned Parenthood, the National Institutes of Health, Head Start and child-care programs, veterans’ healthcare, opioid research and treatment, and infrastructure. In a statement Wednesday night Senator Schumer said, “From opioid funding to rural broadband, and from student loans to child care, this bill puts workers and families first.”
Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-WI) were quick to appear on morning news shows touting this is a really good thing for the GOP. The explanation is that the funding amounts are lower than expected because they cover a period of only six months, from now until October, not a full year. The president tweeted late Wednesday, “Got $1.6 Billion to start Wall on Southern Border, rest will be forthcoming. Had to waste money on Dem giveaways in order to take care of military pay increase and new equipment.”
WILL REPUBLICAN VOTER DISAPPOINTMENT IMPACT MID-TERM ELECTIONS?
It will remain to be seen if the people who voted President Trump into office can follow his “glass is half full” beliefs when it comes to building the wall. The slam bam, pass anything, with no desire to roll up sleeves and work for the good of the people just may be the demise of the GOP’s majority.
At this point does it matter what was in the humongous bill that no one had time to read? It appears to be business as usual in the swamp. Neither Republicans nor Democrats want to be responsible for shutting down the government because that could tarnish their party’s image.
Now that is amusing.