And we’re not just talking earmarks, either. The Washington Post notes that the omnibus spending bill passed last night by Congress for Barack Obama’s certain approval doesn’t just fund the non-defense government agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year; it gives them hefty increases over previous spending levels. It sends a message of profligacy after the passage of massive stimulus and bailout bills, while Americans watch their retirement savings disappear:
The Senate gave final approval last night to a $410 billion spending bill to fund most of the federal government for the remainder of the year after overcoming a resilient Republican opposition and several Democratic defections.
The bill, which includes thousands of controversial earmarks inserted by members of both parties, was approved on a voice vote after eight Republicans joined 54 Democrats in backing a procedural measure to bring the long and rancorous debate to a close. President Obama has indicated that he will sign the legislation despite having misgivings about the earmarks. …
The bill represents a bonanza for federal agencies that felt a budget squeeze for much of Bush’s two terms. Mass transit, public housing, the National Institutes of Health, Head Start and the Pell grant program are all among the Democratic priorities that would see new federal money flow into their coffers. The Food and Drug Administration would receive nearly $335 million more than it did in fiscal 2008. The supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, known as WIC, would grow by $1.2 billion, a 21 percent jump from the $5.7 billion appropriated last year.
Who were the Republicans who voted for cloture, and against forcing changes in the bill to gain some sense of fiscal responsibility?
- Lamar Alexander
- Kit Bond
- Thad Cochran
- Lisa Murkowski
- Richard Shelby
- Olympia Snowe
- Arlen Specter
- Roger Wicker
Had they upheld the filibuster and forced changes to the bill, Nancy Pelosi pledged to kill the bill entirely, returning spending to 2008 levels. In my mind, that’s a feature, not a bug. With American wealth disappearing in the Wall Street meltdown and our retirements deflating rapidly, the only entity not living within its means is the federal Leviathan. 2008 levels were already too high, but they look positively parsimonious compared to the free-spending Democrats in charge of Congress, happily throwing away money that simply doesn’t exist.
We should mention the Democrats who tried to join the revolt:
- Evan Bayh
- Russ Feingold
- Claire McCaskill
Too bad they arrived at the ramparts just in time to see eight Republicans throw in the towel.