Issue: 2471, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (vehicle: Haiti Development, Accountability, and Institutional Transparency Initiative Act). Question: On the Motion (Senate Concurs in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2471 ) (3/5 vote required).
Result: Motion agreed to, 68 to 31, 1 not voting. (Passed earlier by the House, Roll Call 66, 3-9-22). Became Public Law No. 117-103 (signed by the President, 3-15-22). GOP and Democrats scored.
Freedom First Society: The Consolidated Appropriations Act combined all 12 regular appropriations acts into one 2,741-page $1.5 trillion monstrosity, lumping the bad in with the good in a last minute rush of desperation to get the funding done. The details of the recently negotiated package received little scrutiny from most of the congressmen and senators. There was certainly no effort to roll back growing unconstitutional government and preserve freedom for “we the people.”
As a rarity, we give blue check marks to the majority, but far from all, of the GOP senators (31) who voted against this measure, which was unanimously supported by the Democrats.
We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)
Bill Summary: As we write, the Congressional Research Services still hasn’t updated its summary from the bill’s vehicle: the Haiti Development, Accountability, and Institutional Transparency Initiative Act. So read our analysis.
Freedom First Society Analysis: The leaders of either party were not chosen because they would pursue limited constitutional government. And they don’t.
At a bare minimum, good government demands the accountability of regular order — separate votes on the 12 individual appropriations bills. Instead, combining the bills encourages support for greater and unconstitutional spending as promoted by party leaders.
Congress certainly has time for 12 separate votes, despite convenient deadline pressure driving compromise. Responsible congressmen should insist on separate votes and vote no on omnibus or minibus appropriations.
What a way to run a government! The federal government’s fiscal year doesn’t start until October 1 of the preceding calendar year, giving Congress nine months, ostensibly enough time, to do the appropriations work. But apparently the federal government has grown so large, or Congress has otherwise become so slow, that nine months no longer suffice. Congress needed in excess of 14 months this time to get its act together, including almost half of the 2022 fiscal year. (Further evidence that the federal monster needs to be put on a diet to reduce its size.)
Worse yet, all the work is stuffed into a last-minute omnibus, eliminating effective accountability. Many congressmen are apparently pleased that constituents let them get way with passing legislation that can get little voter scrutiny. The omnibus measure also makes it easy for lawmakers to attach unrelated measures known in appropriations parlance as “ash and trash.”
Some senators objected properly that $13.6 billion in emergency “supplemental appropriations” for Ukraine aid should have been considered separately rather than being used to stampede regular appropriations.
Congressmen in both parties also found it advantageous to reintroduce “earmarks,” after an 11-year absence, to reward their constituents with over 4,000 special projects. According to The Hill (3-10-22): “Some of the earmarks provide millions of dollars more than what the Biden administration requested. [For example,] [t]he omnibus includes $5.9 million for Dunkirk Harbor on Lake Erie, $5 million more than the $680,000 requested by the administration.”
No Respect for Constitutional Limits
But the worst feature of the appropriations omnibus is the lack of any emphasis by congressmen in either party on returning to constitutional limits. Instead, the argument between the two parties is over parity between increases to defense (GOP) and non-defense (Democrats) spending.
Of course, there is huge unconstitutional spending in the non-defense area that needs to be rolled back. This package included a 6.7% increase in non-defense spending compared to FY2021. According to The Hill (3-9-22): “Democrats are touting the package for having the biggest increase to nondefense discretionary spending in four years, with historic funding boosts for education, science, research and development, and climate change.’
Clearly, voters must be much better informed and organized if they are to obtain a Congress that will reign in the federal monster and preserve freedom.
CBSnews.com (3-9-22) reported, “White House Acting Budget Director Shalanda Young urged Congress to send the legislation to Mr. Biden for his signature ‘without delay.’ ‘The bipartisan funding bill is proof that both parties can come together to deliver for the American people and advance critical national priorities,’ she said in a statement.”
No, the bipartisan bill is proof that Congress is not controlled by the American people to their benefit. Congress is marching to a different tune under cover of collectivist propaganda, i.e., the ruse that government leadership is necessary for any significant progress in society.
Rather than progress, we are witnessing the destructive impact of government. We need congressmen who will work to get government off our backs and out of our pockets rather than giving us another government program.