Bipartisan omnibus spending bill emerges

posted at 9:21 am on January 14, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Whenever one of these omnibus packages floats out of Congress, one of its main selling points always is the counter-intuitive claim that “this won’t make anyone happy.” If so, then the latest entry in bipartisan emergency budgeting should have no trouble passing — and no trouble collecting slings and arrows from both sides as it passes through the gauntlet:

Congressional negotiators unveiled a $1.1 trillion funding bill late Monday that would ease sharp spending cuts known as the sequester while providing fresh cash for new priorities, including President Obama’s push to expand early-childhood education.

The 1,582-page bill would fully restore cuts to Head Start, partially restore cuts to medical research and job training programs, and finance new programs to combat sexual assault in the military. It would also give all federal workers a 1 percent raise.

Want an insight into Beltway priorities? Here’s the biggest objection that the Washington Post highlights:

But in a blow to the District, it provides only partial funding to continue constructing buildings for the Department of Homeland Security’s campus in Anacostia.

Ahem. Yes, the rest of the country will have to deal with the bitter blow of not seeing the Department of Homeland Security get some sweet new office space in DC. We’ll try to survive that disappointment.

How about veterans?  I know that’s not as important as building palaces for bureaucrats, but the last we heard from Omnibus Inc, military retirees were getting pensions cut to pay for other budget priorities.  Good news here — only some veterans will get their pensions trimmed:

Given barely a month to complete work on the package, Mikulski and Rogers were able to overcome early partisan disputes over funding for the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature legislative achievement, and payments due to the International Monetary Fund, a frequent target of conservatives. To sweeten the package, they agreed to include a provision that would exempt disabled veterans from a modest pension reduction for military retirees enacted last month to help cover the cost of the sequester repeal.

Current federal workers will get a 1% pay increase, though. DHS gets a $339 million haircut, while the Department of Education will get over $70 billion, including a big chunk of change for Head Start:

Obama secured significant new funding he has wanted for pre-kindergarten education initiatives, albeit more through existing programs like Head Start than the new format he envisioned.

Indeed, the new $8.6 billion funding level for Head Start reflects one of the biggest investments in the bill — an estimated $1 billion, or 13 percent, increase over current funding and $612 million over its initial 2013 enacted appropriation.

It was exactly a year ago this week that an HHS study showed that Head Start didn’t actually improve education (and arguably produced worse results), so of course we’re spending more money on it.

Republicans point to the fact that overall agency spending remains at Bush administration budget levels, while Democrats will hail the funding for Head Start and other Obama administration priorities. Hugh Hewitt isn’t buying the spin:

Nevertheless, the budget will likely pass, although in stages. First, Congress has to get past the Wednesday drop-dead date of the previous continuing resolution; Politico expects a short-term CR to the weekend, or perhaps just a bit beyond. The House will then take up the bill and is expected to pass it quickly, leaving the Senate a few days to deal with its procedural issues. By Monday, this may be all done, and the FY2015 budget will become the new battlefield. Both sides in Congress need to get away from emergency budgeting in order to fight for the midterm narrative, but expect it to return again in September with another CR on this baseline to get us through the midterm election season.

This is the kind of lousy budgeting that gets done through emergency procedures. It’s a great argument for regular order, so that appropriations bills pass with legitimate debates, amendments, and plenty of time for scrutiny. For the last several years, we have been doing the Pelosi Shuffle — not knowing what’s in these bills until we pass them. We need to insist on normal order and a rational budget process.


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Apparently, the way you create value in the economy is to print money.

oldroy on January 14, 2014 at 9:25 AM

…S O S !…

KOOLAID2 on January 14, 2014 at 9:27 AM

No more omnibus bills!

Make every appropriation be part of a separate departmental or program bill.

Make every program justify its existence.

CatoRenasci on January 14, 2014 at 9:27 AM

This trash wouldn’t pass muster of your average business owner, but of course the dead weight which inhabits Congress couldn’t figure out how to budget a teenager’s lawnmowing gig.

$8.6 billion for freakin’ Head Start while veterans get punched for their service, only Mensa members such as Dick Durbin could arrive at such a conclusion.

Bishop on January 14, 2014 at 9:30 AM

…. while providing fresh cash for new priorities, including President Obama’s push to expand early-childhood education.

AKA a myriad of feel-good crap that does nothing for anyone.

BigWyo on January 14, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Apparently, the way you create value in the economy is to print money.

oldroy on January 14, 2014 at 9:25 AM

This and farm bill and unemployment AND Obamacare. This year should prove to be a good one, for further economic erosion.

rickv404 on January 14, 2014 at 9:34 AM

The beat goes on and on and on

Jackson on January 14, 2014 at 9:35 AM

It was exactly a year ago this week that an HHS study showed that Head Start didn’t actually improve education (and arguably produced worse results), so of course we’re spending more money on it.

Well, duh! The reason it didn’t work is that we weren’t spending enough money! If we hadn’t starved anti-poverty programs for the last 30 years, we would have a booming economy and no worries about urban decay in our Great Cities.

deadman on January 14, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Focus right now should be on a terrible, terrible budget deal that slashes spending for only 1 group: career military

Sing it brother Hugh!

Last week saw two separate accidents involving military helicopters. One in England the other off the coast of Norfolk. I’d like to have these Congresscritters have to explain to the folks involved and the families of the survivors why exactly their retirements are subject to looting even as we give tax credits to illegal aliens (parasites all!) and billions in aid to terrorist states (and I don’t mean California).

Happy Nomad on January 14, 2014 at 9:38 AM

This is the kind of lousy budgeting that gets done through emergency procedures. It’s a great argument for regular order, so that appropriations bills pass with legitimate debates, amendments, and plenty of time for scrutiny. For the last several years, we have been doing the Pelosi Shuffle — not knowing what’s in these bills until we pass them. We need to insist on normal order and a rational budget process.

Everything’s an emergency. They are ruling by fear and urgency.

Who knows what’s tucked into these enormous bills? Normal order means separating the various bills and voting on them individually not in one big ball of tangled twine, rubber bands, and silly string.

Fallon on January 14, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Thank god those crazy Tea Party people got the what for.

BigWyo on January 14, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Head frickin start?????

Jobs training programs where there are duplicate programs already in progress????

Unstinkingbelievable

Squishy gop to vote for this boondoggle

cmsinaz on January 14, 2014 at 9:41 AM

No more omnibus bills!

Make every appropriation be part of a separate departmental or program bill.

Make every program justify its existence.

CatoRenasci on January 14, 2014 at 9:27 AM

+1

File “omnibus” away with “comprehensive”.

lynncgb on January 14, 2014 at 9:43 AM

The key to every deal in Washington seems to be to agree to fund everything. Every damn thing anybody can dream up.

MTF on January 14, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Given barely a month to complete work on the package, Mikulski and Rogers were able to overcome early partisan disputes over funding for the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature legislative achievement, and payments due to the International Monetary Fund, a frequent target of conservatives. To sweeten the package, they agreed to include a provision that would exempt disabled veterans from a modest pension reduction for military retirees enacted last month to help cover the cost of the sequester repeal.

Why would they bother worrying about “covering costs”? There’s no money to pay for any of this spending yet non-disabled military retirees are the one group that has to take a crap sandwich in the name of sequester repeal.

Bitter Clinger on January 14, 2014 at 9:46 AM

is that pic from starship troopers?

t8stlikchkn on January 14, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Everything’s an emergency. They are ruling by fear and urgency.

Fallon on January 14, 2014 at 9:38 AM

It occured to me that this is pretty similar in some ways to Egypt’s old emergency law (before the revolution which toppled Mubarak) which was used to justify the dictatorship and continued repression of political opponents. An “emergency” was declared, and since the thugs in power liked the extra powers it gave them, the emergency law was just never lifted.

We’re looking at something like the same thing, here. I don’t know as we will ever see a return to regular order, given how the left has essentially co-opted the Republicans.

Doomberg on January 14, 2014 at 9:49 AM

We can insist on regular order all we want, but the bottom line is that there are no consequences for bad behavior in Washington. We’ve got a lap dog press which will doesn’t hold them accountable, and as long as that situation exists, they’ve got no fear of us at the ballot box.

Murf76 on January 14, 2014 at 9:50 AM

“Two Party Evil Money Cult”

Keep it simple.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on January 14, 2014 at 9:51 AM

is that pic from starship troopers?

t8stlikchkn on January 14, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Sure is. Great book. Loved the movie.

NavyMustang on January 14, 2014 at 9:51 AM

is that pic from starship troopers?

t8stlikchkn on January 14, 2014 at 9:46 AM

I thought it was Mooch dancing at her 50th Birthday gala.

Happy Nomad on January 14, 2014 at 9:53 AM

I checked out some of the comments to the story.

The themes I saw were that Bush had bigger budgets, Obama just signs the budget; the Congress put it together, and what are we complaining about, the budget is smaller than the original one.

Sheesh!

NavyMustang on January 14, 2014 at 9:54 AM

OT: Y’all seen this?
It seems that former “Laugh In’ star, Ruth Buzzi reads HA.
*swiped from Twitchy*

RUTH BUZZI ✔ @Ruth_A_Buzzi
Follow

But if Coloradoans spend all their food stamp money on pot, what in the heck will they do when they get the munchies?http://hotair.com/archives/2014/01/12/colorado-bill-may-prevent-use-of-food-stamps-money-to-buy-pot-wait-what/
7:26 AM – 14 Jan 2014

annoyinglittletwerp on January 14, 2014 at 9:54 AM

and

The lust for an amnesty to get 20 million more wage slaves on the taxpayer ID list and sending in 30% every two weeks is huge within the cult now.

The other word for what they do is just one, “Treason”.

Keep it simple.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on January 14, 2014 at 9:54 AM

is that pic from starship troopers?

t8stlikchkn on January 14, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Yep!

MEDIC!!

Gatsu on January 14, 2014 at 9:58 AM

I love the picture.

faraway on January 14, 2014 at 10:01 AM

is that pic from starship troopers?

t8stlikchkn on January 14, 2014 at 9:46 AM

No, it’s Barbara Boxer without cosmetics.

Bishop on January 14, 2014 at 10:01 AM

I’m not disabled, so I get a cut, but that guy over there who got 50% disability because of “sleep apnea” doesn’t.

Wonderful. I should have taken the $30K and kept redux instead of electing high-3. all I would have ahd to do was stay in 2 more years and I would be getting the same retainer I have now and it was already COLA-1%.

Jeff Weimer on January 14, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Shouldn’t every “successful” gubmint program end?

If it is “successfull” it would self terminate because it solved the problem it was created to solve.

Doesn’t matter. Every dollar is now fungible.

They do what they want.

wolly4321 on January 14, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Moronic lickspittle GOP-pleader to be along any moment to tell us there’s no ‘establishment’, and that we’re unpatriotic for not eagerly supporting the GOP no matter what they do.

Midas on January 14, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Bipartisan means the people are screwed.

gwelf on January 14, 2014 at 10:11 AM

That pic…

Please never use it again. I’d erased all evidence of that film from my memory. Every time someone watches that movie, a puppy dies.

Dunedainn on January 14, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Spot on Ed.

gwelf on January 14, 2014 at 10:15 AM

michael ironside killed the puppy i bet. for some reason ethan hawke should have been in that movie and i dont know why.

t8stlikchkn on January 14, 2014 at 10:16 AM

that would ease sharp spending cuts known as the sequester

Thank goodness our national nightmare is over.

Republicans point to the fact that overall agency spending remains at Bush administration budget levels

Would that be the Bush spending levels denounced by Obama, Pelosi and Reid as irresponsible and immoral?

gwelf on January 14, 2014 at 10:18 AM

“Omnibus” = no one reads it before passing it.

whatcat on January 14, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Ahhhhhhhhh…… promise cuts in the future and eliminate cuts in the present that you promised in the past.

Yep…..Thank Gawd them Republicans are holding the Tax and Spend Democrats in check

roflmmfao

donabernathy on January 14, 2014 at 10:24 AM

No more omnibus bills!

Make every appropriation be part of a separate departmental or program bill.

Make every program justify its existence.

CatoRenasci on January 14, 2014 at 9:27 AM

But what about Cowboy poetry festivals? Gotta have those!

Hill60 on January 14, 2014 at 10:28 AM

“Omnibus” = no one reads it before passing it.

whatcat on January 14, 2014 at 10:24 AM

we have to pass the bus, to find out whats in it, as we go underneath it.

t8stlikchkn on January 14, 2014 at 10:29 AM

We need to insist on normal order and a rational budget process.

INSIST? This friendly bipartisan boondoggle was engineered by the Republican party’s top-budget guy, Paul Ryan. The premier stated goal of the Republican party in this negotiation was to “avoid another shutdown” Mission accomplished!

What we don’t know is if the Republicans have any goals that include fiscal responsibility, limited government, adherence to the law, or standing up to Democrats.

pilsener on January 14, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Ahhhhhhhh…. the good old Days

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CMy2M32g4k

roflmmfao

donabernathy on January 14, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Picture an Ice Blue Metallic 1975 Mercury Marquis careening on the wicked curves of Mulholland Drive with criminally severed brake lines until it slams through a guardrail and goes airborne, falling headlong down into Fryman Canyon and crashing in an explosive, fiery dénouement on the jagged canyon floor as seen at the beginning of Act I of practically every episode of Barnaby Jones, A QUINN MARTIN PRODUCTION.

These people we ostensibly allow to govern us–our “servants“–are the criminal element who’ve cut the brake lines to the Mercury Marquis that is our nation. Political party affiliation is of no consequence; all 535 of them are complicit.

At what point are we going to do something about it?

Well, that’s what the ballot box is for–to replace those lawmakers who are ineffective in serving the people.

Bullscat. And everyone knows it. Take one viper out and there’s a pit full of dozens more, writhing and twisting to get in.

No, I’m afraid the scales are tipping toward the verity that the birth of this nation was conceived out of lesser infractions.

One day, I hope the cameras are whirring to record for posterity their self-serving arrogance reduced to self-soiling horror when they find themselves lined up against a wall….

Dime IV on January 14, 2014 at 10:54 AM

“The good news is that with the economy screaming along at a record pace, we should easily absorb this new spending without incurring additional debt,” said absolutely no one involved in the budgeting process.

BKeyser on January 14, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Help me out here folks… tell me again why it’s important for the Federal Gob’mint (already $17 trillion in debt and rising) to pony up $8.6 Billion for baby sitting services for pre-pre schoolers?

Thumbsucking 101
to prepare them to be public ‘servants‘ when they grow up?

Pecozbill on January 14, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Sure is. Great book. Loved the movie.

NavyMustang on January 14, 2014 at 9:51 AM

The irony of this is that the two are so vastly different from each other. Heinlein’s novel was strongly pro-military, apparently written as a defense of his views on US nuclear testing. The movie, by contrast, states a lot of these positions ironically, satirizing what some consider fascist undertones in the novel. The opening military ad is reportedly a re-creation of a scene from Triumph of the Will.

Not to mention they basically licensed the title and slapped it on another bug-hunt film they were working on, and members of the production crew (including the director and most of the writers) hadn’t read the novel.

Having said all that, I liked the movie, and I don’t mind the modern social commentary attached to it. The movie satirizes the glorification of war, but even Heinlein said back in the day, that war is something we endure, not enjoy. Nobody’s supposed to like war, but we should support sacrifice for noble causes.

The Schaef on January 14, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Just another insult and rip-off of the American tax payers.

sadatoni on January 14, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Bi-partisan and spending that means the Democrats and Democrat-lite got together to spend a little of that borrowed Chinese money. Life is good.

bflat879 on January 14, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Thumbsucking 101 to prepare them to be public ‘servants‘ when they grow up?

Pecozbill on January 14, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Well, they are not learning cooperation, compliance, groupthink and thorough and unimpeded sex education at home.

Wait. Actually, that last one might get taught at home.

Fallon on January 14, 2014 at 11:36 AM

The 1,582-page bill would fully restore cuts to Head Start, partially restore cuts to medical research and job training programs, and finance new programs to combat sexual assault in the military.

53% of the victims of sexual assault in the military are men. The assailants have to be either male or female. In how many of these cases do we really believe women were the aggressor?

Apparently, not that many. According to the New York Times:

In its latest report on sexual assault, the Pentagon estimated that 26,000 service members experienced unwanted sexual contact in 2012, up from 19,000 in 2010. Of those cases, the Pentagon says, 53 percent involved attacks on men, mostly by other men.

So we’re having to spend more money in the military to fix problems caused by … the latest changes in the military.

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 14, 2014 at 11:39 AM

It was exactly a year ago this week that an HHS study showed that Head Start didn’t actually improve education (and arguably produced worse results), so of course we’re spending more money on it.

Well, when something has been proven not to work, there’s only one thing you can do.

Triple the budget!!

/Government thinking

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 14, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Shouldn’t every “successful” gubmint program end?

If it is “successfull” it would self terminate because it solved the problem it was created to solve.

Doesn’t matter. Every dollar is now fungible.

They do what they want.

wolly4321 on January 14, 2014 at 10:08 AM

That word “successful” does not mean to government what it means to us, the taxpayers.

“Successful” by government definition is growth in clientele, operations and management, therefore justifying constant demands for a bigger share of taxpayer revenue, and further solidifying clientele dependency and votes as well as job security for government bureaucrats.

hawkeye54 on January 14, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Here’s the problem with trying to follow any story in the news. The media filters everything through their own worldview, and just omits facts that disrupt the narrative.

When I first learned that 53% of the victims of sexual assault in the military, it only made sense that the assailants were predominantly men, making the assaults primarily homosexual. But most reports said absolutely nothing about the relative proportion.

Finally, I find the New York Times story that says most of the assailants were male. But even that is severely misreporting the story.

According to the Washington Times, there were 26,000 assaults from Oct. 2011 to Sep. 2012. 14,000 of those were male victims, and 12,000 of them female victims. Of those, only 2% were women.

So if 98% of 53% of sexual assaults in that time period were homosexual, then 52% — over half — of the sexual assaults in the military were homosexual.

When the Defense Department released the results of its anonymous sexual abuse survey this month and concluded that 26,000 service members were victims in fiscal 2012, which ended Sept. 30, an automatic assumption was that most were women. But roughly 14,000 of the victims were male and 12,000 female, according to a scientific survey sample produced by the Pentagon.

SEE ALSO: Military sex abuse has long-term impact for veterans

The statistics show that, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel begins a campaign to stamp out “unwanted sexual contact,” there are two sets of victims that must be addressed.

“It appears that the DOD has serious problems with male-on-male sexual assaults that men are not reporting and the Pentagon doesn’t want to talk about,” Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness. She noted that only 2 percent of assailants are women.

Given the reluctance most men would have to report being sexually assaulted, its probably much, much worse than that.

These statistics do not, of course, tell us how many of the victims in homosexual assault cases were also homosexual.

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 14, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Dear Republicans upset about military budget cuts that spare contractors and target higher ups,

This is the system you want.

Military contractors make campaign contributions to GOP lawmakers, I believe you call it “free speech.”

GOP lawmakers then protect those organizations whose “free speech” financed their election campaigns.

Why else are military contractors engaging in “free speech” with members of Congress? For fun? Because of civic duty? Because they genuinely believe that Republican lawmakers political ideology is good for the nation? Of course not. It is a payoff and they just got the return on their invest free speech.

Welcome to a post-Citizens United world. This is what you wanted. So, congrats!

libfreeordie on January 14, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness. She noted that only 2 percent of assailants are women.

I looked up the Center for Military Readiness. It is a conservative propaganda site. Does she have actual department of defense reports on the gender of sexual assailants?

libfreeordie on January 14, 2014 at 2:13 PM

I loathe the GOP.

besser tot als rot on January 14, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Dear Republicans upset about military budget cuts that spare contractors and target higher ups,

This is the system you want.

libfreeordie on January 14, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Nope. An utterly idiotic strawman. Stupid on an epic scale.

besser tot als rot on January 14, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Military contractors make campaign contributions to GOP lawmakers, I believe you call it “free speech.”

libfreeordie on January 14, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Right. So, you get to pick and choose who can and cannot make campaign contributions? Yeah, I’m sure that would end really well.

besser tot als rot on January 14, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness. She noted that only 2 percent of assailants are women.

I looked up the Center for Military Readiness. It is a conservative propaganda site. Does she have actual department of defense reports on the gender of sexual assailants?

libfreeordie on January 14, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Do you really want to pull at that string?

This is based on Pentagon reports, and has been covered by major news outlets including the New York Times and the Washington Times. I provided the links. It’s trivial to find more links via Google. Unless you have some actual grounds to call her or them liars, you should really stop projecting your own morality onto others.

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 14, 2014 at 5:24 PM