Congress

No One Read The Omnibus Spending Bill

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

I am not deeply concerned if every member of Congress did not read every single page of the 2,200 page omnibus spending bill that funds the government for the remainder of fiscal 2018, but I do find this very amusing.

I find this amusing because Republicans spent most of the Obama administration screeching about passing bills without reading them. You may recall that Republicans even introduced legislation at various points in time mandating that Congress read every bill before it's passed.

It's even more amusing because the omnibus spending bill passed at 1 a.m. last night probably would not have passed if anyone on the Republican side of the aisle actually read it.

Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House have claimed the bill will fund construction of Trump's fantasy border wall (it doesn't), but here's something the bill actually will do: it explicitly prohibits the federal government from beginning construction at the first location designated for Trump's wall.

Border patrol officials had said previously that the Santa Ana wildlife refuge had been intended as the starting point for construction of the wall and Homeland Security Secretary Kristen Nielsen toured the area last year. [...]

"None of the funds provided in this or any other Act shall be obligated for construction of a border barrier in the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge," the legislation states. [...]

The spending bill did allocate nearly $1.6 billion for border security, including repairs to existing fencing across the southwest border in Texas and California. But the legislation also states none of that will be the new "prototype" designs Trump inspected this month in San Diego.

The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment from NBC News about the bill.

The Department of Homeland Security intended to begin construction in the wildlife refuge because the federal government already owns the land and would not have to go through the process of the seizing land from private owners.

The omnibus spending bill does not include funds for Trump's wall in any case, but funding the wall in the future would require rolling back this ban on construction in the wildlife refuge.

We have good reason to think that will never happen and that Trump's wall will never be built. This could very well be the last significant funding bill passed by an exclusively Republican-controlled Congress. Trump said this afternoon that he won't sign a bill like this ever again, but he definitely will. There's little doubt that Congress will pass another continuing resolution in September to keep the government running until after the midterm elections. No one will want to rock the boat with a government shutdown in October unless Trump himself does so.

In addition to banning Trump's wall, the omnibus bill also includes more funding for low-income housing, medical research, the FBI's fight against Russian interference, and many other things. There are no significant spending cuts included. Defense and domestic spending programs both received a boost.

Maintaining a functioning government in 2018 may actually require that Republicans don't read anything.

  • muselet

    No one will want to rock the boat with a government shutdown in October unless Trump himself does so.

    He will. That’s my fearless prediction. Donald Trump will precipitate a crisis ahead of the November election either because (a) someone in Congress said something mean about him; or (b) he believes doing so will somehow make him look big and strong and tough (and he’d see that as a win even if Congress goes unanimously D). November is a Sweeps month, after all.

    The GOP is not capable of being a governing party.

    –alopecia

    • ninjaf

      *raises hand urgently*
      Oooh! Oooh! B! B! B!

  • Aynwrong

    The same thing that makes these people so dangerous is also what somewhat limits the damage they can do. Their staggering ignorance.

  • 1933john

    Reading….why fuck-up the gravy train?

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