As most of our readers have already noted, the new Omnibus bill was passed and announced during the height of the debate Frenzy Tuesday evening and the details rolled out on Hump Day with one disturbing detail after another. Ed talked about the foreign worker visa provisions this morning, but that was probably just the tip of the iceberg. Having been on the road for personal reasons I was probably one of the lucky ones who didn’t get the entire package shoved in his face all at one time.
But in the spirit of eternal optimism which really should define the conservative movement, let’s start by focusing on the good parts, shall we? We got the crude oil export ban lifted! I’m not being facetious here… that’s a subject I’ve written on in this space more times than I could count and it’s a good thing for the country.
But as nice as that was to see, was it enough to justify how much our new Speaker gave away in exchange for it? Let’s be frank here… this isn’t even a Jack and the Beanstalk comparison. We not only gave away the cow, but the magic beans sprouted a giant asparagus stem which shot directly up our collective backsides. In retrospect, the expanded visa provisions weren’t even close to the worst parts of this package.
Still, for reasons which escape me, some of the Freedom Caucus members who you would most often expect to see going to the wall on this sort of thing were getting right in line. (Politico)
“In terms of the process, I can tell you I’ve had more meaningful conversations with the speaker and leadership in the last couple of weeks than I think I have in the last couple of years,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who instigated the revolt against Speaker John Boehner that led to Boehner’s resignation this fall. “I would give it an A-plus in terms of trying to reach out to the rank and file.”
Virginia Republican Dave Brat, a Freedom Caucus member who also sits on the budget panel, said Ryan has also gained support because he has been “credible on regular order” — Congress-speak for empowering committees and rank-and-file members — and has already teed up the budget process for the beginning of 2016, a starting point unheard of in recent years.
I’m not sure what there was to like here. First of all, we need to look no further than the fact that this deal is dumping another half trillion dollars in debt on our heads right out of the gate. The New York Times, in their ever cheerful way, seemed to see this as a good thing and placed any blame for the increasingly fatal hole in the budget on the failure to increase taxes without paying much heed to the vast increases in spending. I’ve mostly lost faith in the ability to hammer this home to anyone, but we’re nearing the point of no return on the debt which many feel is the $19T mark. And yet, rather than at least slowing the growth of the poison pill, we’re accelerating the disease.
We also lost the amendment on the American SAFE Act, which might have allowed us to more carefully screen “refugees” from terrorist infested areas before we have more San Bernardino scenarios on our hands. Sadly, the Democrats apparently convinced a sufficient number of Republicans that too many guns in the hands of law abiding gun owners were the real threat, so that one was unceremoniously flushed. Oh, and the environmentalists got their piece of the pie also, as The Weekly Standard reports.
The Journal also reports that “the deal would adopt environmental and renewable measures that Democrats want. These include extending wind and solar tax credits, reauthorizing a conservation fund for three years and excluding any measures that block major administration environmental regulations.”
Let’s see, what else is there? Well, for one thing, DACA is fully funded, just in case you were worried that we were going to take border security and immigration issues seriously. (Spoiler alert: we’re not.) There is no cutback to the funding for “sanctuary cities.” And here’s a real gem for you on “refugee” resettlement aside from what we already covered:
On page 917 of Ryan’s omnibus a section titled “Refugee and Entrant Assistance” funds the President’s resettlement of illegal immigrant border crossers.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, we’re not going to pay for the border fence improvements which were already negotiated.
By the time I finished reading all of this after dinner my head was spinning. What exactly did we get out of this deal aside from the crude oil export embargo? Nearly everything else on the list is a summary of Democrat objectives. Didn’t we win the majority in both the House and the Senate a little while back? And just to be clear, I understand that the President was doing his usual dance and claiming he was going to veto the spending bill if he didn’t get everything he wanted, but wouldn’t the blame fall on him if he received a functional spending bill, crafted by the people’s elected representatives, on his desk to sign? Sure… the media would blame the GOP and if they did a good enough job we’d take the hit in the polls. (That’s a given.) But the reality would be that it was Obama shutting down the government this time. I made this point over and over again during the mid-term elections on these very page. I was willing to sacrifice a fair bit in the short term if we could get control of the entire legislature. Only a madman (or a committed Democrat.. but I repeat myself) would seriously blame the majority for shutting down the government if they passed a budget and the White House shot it down.
I don’t know what happened on Tuesday night. Frankly, I’m still trying to get the number of the truck that hit us.