McClintock: $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill 'Moves Our Country in the Wrong Direction'
(CNSNews.com) - As the House takes up a $1.1-trillion omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2014 on Wednesday, it will do so without the support of Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), who says the rush job is a bad deal for a number of reasons.
"I appreciate the fact that this is a bipartisan agreement. But a bipartisan agreement that moves our country in the wrong direction is still wrong," he said.
McClintock objects to both the process and the fine print:
"This is not the regular order promised to the American people, in which each of the 12 appropriations bills is painstakingly vetted. It's all 12 bills rolled into one, with no opportunity for meaningful debate or amendment," McClintock said in a speech on the House floor Wednesday.
Not only does the bill increase discretionary spending, it is also $45 billion more than the sequester would have allowed.
"When we vote for these appropriations, we're responsible for the money that we waste, not the money that we don't waste," McClintock said. "Regular order would at least give the House a chance to examine and debate these questionable programs before we cast our votes."
By pushing through a 1,582-page spending bill, Congress will get its debate after the bill has passed, he predicted: "This measure will face the full light of public scrutiny in the days ahead, and that may prove to be very harsh indeed."
McClintock said the massive bill -- which fills in the bipartisan budget agreement reached in December -- increases funding for Head Start by $600 million, even though "credible" studies cast doubt on the program's lasting benefit for children.
He listed several other objections:
"It contains wasteful TIGER grants, which under the guise of transportation, puts money into projects like a six-mile pedestrian mall in Fresno and streets that actually discourage traffic. It continues funding for the scandalous Essential Air Service that pays to fly empty and near-empty planes across the country. It continus to throw money at all manner of immensely expensive and failed green energy programs and other forms of corporate welfare."
And while the spending bill makes some cuts -- "they are the wrong cuts."
McClintock said he understands the challenges facing the appropriations committee -- "not the least of which is that the measure must ultimately have the consent of the Senate and president, who are responsible for the most fiscally irresponsible period of our nation's history."
But he also noted that under the Constitution, the government can't spend a single dollar unless the House approves: "The buck literally start here," McClintock concluded.
"As long as we continue to increase spending on frivolous programs at the expense of working families -- and at a time when our accumulated debt threatens to sink what's left of our economy -- we are clearly moving this nation in the wrong direction."
The Associated Press described the omnibus spending bill as "compromise financing," and a desire to avoid a replay of last fall's 16-day partial government shutdown.
"There's a desire to show people we can do our job," Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) was quoted as saying.