Rather than haggle into the weekend, Senate Democrats and Republicans tonight agreed 72-26 to cut off debate and adopt a $1 trillion spending bill to keep the federal government running for the next eight months. The House having voted to adopt the omnibus spending bill a day earlier, Congress has completed its immediate budget decisions.
The most dramatic conservative resistance faded when Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who had pressed yet again for a separate vote on defunding Obamacare, gave up that tactic amid grumbling from colleagues. After brushing aside the prescribed 30 hours of debate, the Senate in a second identical roll call vote adopted the spending bill – with 17 Republicans supporting passage.
With a similar bipartisan reluctance to achieve major spending restraints, the House on Wednesday voted 359-67 to approve the gargantuan spending bill, which funds the government until October. A total of 166 Republicans voted for it.
“While Americans suffer the consequences of Obamacare, Congress is trying to rush through another massive bill before reading it,” Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, told USA Today. She called the 1,582-page spending bill a “monstrosity.”
Normally, as The Foundry has noted, it takes 12 spending bills to fund the entire government. But in an omnibus—the type of bill just passed—Congress throws all of the ingredients together and votes once on the whole thing.
Heritage research analysts are among critics who note that this type of rushed, bloated spending bill is guaranteed to include ineffective government programs, giveaways to corporate cronies, and pork projects. Taxpayers fund all of these.
The approach increases spending, wastes taxpayer dollars, and raises the national debt, as Romina Boccia, Heritage’s Grover M. Hermann Fellow, warned:
If there were more time, such red flags would be revealed, increasing opposition to the effort—which is why appropriators are expected to provide as little time as possible between introducing the bill and the final vote.
Boccia and other Heritage analysts identified how Congress could save taxpayers $10.2 billion by getting rid of 10 wasteful federal programs. Since the omnibus bill was released Monday night, though, there was little time for budget hawks to build a case for restraint and discipline. Heritage experts, however, were among taxpayer watchdogs who quickly began to tally questionable pork projects, ineffective programs and corporate giveaways.