‘We need to step back, look at the bigger picture, and think about what we’re doing. And that means slowing down before we spend another $410 billion’
Mar 02 2009
“The Omnibus Appropriations bill that just arrived from the House is an important piece of legislation, but it’s not an emergency. Congress approves this spending every year. There is no need to rush something that we do every year.
“In fact, in January I recommended several times to the President and to Democrat leaders in Congress that we move the Omnibus before the Stimulus. By determining what we would fund in an Omni first, Democrat leaders would have been encouraged to be more timely, temporary, and targeted as they put together the Stimulus. Instead, they reversed the order — and the result is that now we have significant double spending showing up in both the Stimulus and now the Omnibus.
“We have known about the Friday deadline for months, so no one should suddenly point to it now as a reason to rush $410 billion in spending. Americans are getting whiplash from all the spending we’re doing around here. We need to slow down and consider the consequence of every dollar we spend.
“What we know about this bill already is cause for serious concern:
· As I said, it adds money for 122 programs that were already in the Stimulus
· It represents an 8% increase over last year’s bill
· Much of the funding it adds or eliminates calls for scrutiny
“The new Administration has repeatedly criticized Congress for rushing through legislation before the public has a chance to review it. During his campaign, the President said he wouldn’t sign any non-emergency spending until the American people had at least five days to review it on the White House web site.
“There is no reason for us to rush through this massive bill when the White House has already promised that it won’t sign it without the requisite five-day review.
“So I would suggest as we begin this debate that the House prepare a short-term Continuing Resolution. There is no reason for either the Senate or the American people to feel artificially rushed, particularly on a bill of this magnitude.
“It may seem quaint to some people, but a month ago many of us were concerned about $1.2 trillion deficit. Then we watched it grow as we passed a $1 trillion Stimulus bill and $33 billion for SCHIP. Then, last week, the President proposed a $3.6 trillion budget, including a $634 billion ‘down payment’ on health care reform, and major tax increases on small businesses. We expect to be asked to spend $1 to $2 trillion to stabilize the financial sector. And we’ve been told that the Administration’s housing plan, which is set to start this week, will cost more than a quarter trillion dollars.
“We need to step back, look at the bigger picture, and think about what we’re doing. And that means slowing down before we spend another $410 billion.”