Congress is on the verge of giving itself a bump in its annual budget — even as local governments, families and businesses across the country are tightening their belts in the worst recession in decades.
Under a House-Senate conference measure, approved by the House last week and poised for passage in the Senate on Wednesday, spending for the legislative branch will increase 5.8 percent this year, boosting Capitol Hill’s annual budget to $4.7 billion.
As terrible as it is that Congress wants to increase their own budgets while the nation’s unemployment rate is about to pass 10% and our deficit will pass $1 trillion for the first time in our nation’s history, worse is that fact that Congress has so far failed to pass any other appropriations bills. In 1996, President Bill Clinton actually vetoed a Legislative Branch appropriations bill because that Congress had so far failed to pass any others. Here is what he said at the time:
I believe, however, that it would be inappropriate to provide full-year regular funding for Congress and its offices while funding for most other activities of Government remains incomplete, unresolved, and uncertain. As I said 2 months ago, I don’t think Congress should take care of its own business before it takes care of the people’s business.