Freedom First Society

Issue:  H.R. 6147, Interior, Environment, Financial Services, and General Government Appropriations Act, 2019.  Question: On Passage.

Result:  Passed in House, 217 to 199, 12 not voting.  GOP only scored.

Freedom First Society:  H.R. 6147, as voted by the full House, is another appropriations “minibus.”  A “minibus” violates regular order, reducing oversight, and forfeits the House’s power of the purse leverage to roll back unconstitutional spending.  Although many of the functions addressed here are constitutional, a serious number are not, and there was no visible effort by GOP supporters to test programs against that standard.

Although no Democrat supported this measure, we do not score them on this one, as many voted against it simply because they wanted to spend more on unconstitutional interventions, such as the Environmental Protection Agency.

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: According to the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen: “The Interior and Environment appropriations bill, authored by Representative Calvert of California, provides $35.3  billion for the EPA, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Department of the  Interior and other programs that promote our natural heritage…. The Interior bill continues funding for other programs that manage our national resources and cultural heritage, like the National Park Service, the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, the  Chemical Safety Board, and the Smithsonian Institution…. The Financial Services appropriations bill, authored by  Representative Graves of Georgia, totals $23.4 billion which, like the  Interior bill, is equal to fiscal year 2018 levels.” — Congressional Record (7-17-18) 

Freedom First Society Further Analysis:

Our analysis is provided in response to the comments of representatives during the ostensible “debate”:

Excerpts from the Congressional Record (7-19-18) [Emphasis added]:

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-New Jersey), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee:  “Mr. Speaker, this legislation before us contains two important Appropriations bills: the Interior and Environmental bill and the Financial Services bill. The first of these two bills, the Interior bill, funds important  programs that protect and promote our Nation’s resources…. [A]nd, yes, this bill streamlines our Federal Government, returning the  EPA to its core mission and cutting back regulatory red tape.  The second bill, the Financial Services bill, helps make our Nation a safer place to live and helps our economy grow…. Funding these Federal programs is a responsibility given to Congress by our Founding Fathers as part of the Constitution.”

[Freedom First Society:  Rep. Frelinghuysen makes it sound as though the Constitution requires congressmen to pay for federal programs out of their own pockets.  But clearly, the money Congress spends is taxpayer money.  As representatives of the people, the House of Representatives is charged with making sure that taxpayer money is spent judicially and constitutionally in the interest of the nation.

The responsibility of both chambers of Congress is to control how much is spent and what it is spent for.  Merely writing checks with someone else’s money to keep every federal program running at a comfortable level is not a significant accomplishment.  America desperately needs the constitutionally limited, small federal government the Founding Fathers intended that the House, the people’s representatives, would champion.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have a core constitutional mission.  Although it was initiated by President Nixon, the impetus for its creation was the result of Internationalist-sponsored agitation, designed in reality to justify federal and international power grabs.  The EPA has grown to over 14,000 employees.

America needs congressmen who will work to reverse prior federal usurpations rather than accepting those programs as a given.   And we need congressmen who will support the vision of the Founding Fathers and reject the collectivist theme that all blessings flow from government programs. As specific examples, that means rolling back the unconstitutional power grabs accomplished under President Johnson’s Great Society and the creation of the Department of Energy sponsored by President Jimmy Carter.  The Department of Education also needs to go. (See “A Masterful Wake-up Call” our review of Steve Milloy’s Green Hell — How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them.)  (Of course congressmen who do what’s needed will be vulnerable to the Internationalist-controlled media, unless they have strong informed support from back home — see “The Example of Larry McDonald.”)

With regard to this legislation, other objectionable intrusions that should be challenged include:

  • the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management,
  • the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement,
  • the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
  • the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Indeed, abolition of the National Endowment for the Arts  and the National Endowment for the Humanities (both established under President Johnson) is long overdue.  At the 1787 Philadelphia convention, Charles Pinkney from South Carolina suggested that the new federal government take on those responsibilities, but his suggestion was soundly rejected as not a legitimate function of a national government. Indeed, both endowments have a long record of making grants for radical and subversive purposes.]

From the Congressional Record, Two Days Earlier (7-17-18):

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-New York ), the Ranking Democratic Member of the House Appropriations Committee: “I rise in strong opposition to the Interior, Environment, and  Financial Services, and General Government minibus, that fails the American people by slashing environmental protection, rolling back consumer protections, and even cutting basic election security funding. With bills this bad, it is no wonder Republicans have abandoned all pretense of regular order, grouped two unrelated appropriations bills together, and blocked numerous Democratic amendments…. As much as it pains me to say, we should be  following the Senate and producing bipartisan bills instead of wasting  time on playing political games and taking show votes to appease the  right wing of the Republican Conference.”

[Freedom First Society:  Although we do not share Rep. Lowey’s vision of responsible appropriations, we do endorse her criticism that Republican leaders have abandoned regular order.  The objective, however, should not be greater bipartisan compromise with collectivist Democrats, but instead taking a tough line to use the House’s power of the purse strategically to force cuts in unconstitutional programs and spending.  This is not currently on the House’s agenda, and Rep. Lowey is perhaps correct that this Roll Call is a show vote, as undoubtedly the House will abandon this bill in favor of a compromise bill with the Senate, which will become law.] 

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: “As reported by the Appropriations Committee, the fiscal year 2019  Interior and Environment bill is funded at $35.252 billion, which is  equal to the FY18 enacted level. We have made sincere efforts to prioritize critical needs within our subcommittee allocation and in reviewing more than 5,200 individual requests.”

[Freedom First Society: Reviewing 5,200 requests?  With a federal bureaucracy grown so immense, no wonder Congress is unable to manage it!]

Rep.  Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota), Ranking Democratic Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies): “I am pleased that the bill recommends an increase of $410 million  over the fiscal year 2018 enacted level for programs critical to Indian  Country…. T]hat is the one bright spot in this bill; but, unfortunately, other important priorities for the American public did not fare as well.

“Even though the fiscal year 2019 Interior, Environment, and Related  Agencies Subcommittee allocation [$35.252 billion] is equal to the fiscal year 2018  enacted level, the majority is proposing a $100 million [$0.1 billion] cut from the Environmental Protection Agency, which is just untenable…. We are at a defining moment in history. The Interior bill has an opportunity to make a global difference in the quality of life for generations to come, but, sadly, this bill is a mirror of the Trump administration’s actions and disregard for the environment. We cannot afford to ignore the overwhelming scientific evidence the planet is warming, sea levels are rising, and glaciers are melting.

[Freedom First Society:  Here, the Ranking Democrat endorses the Internationalist pretext for power grabs and its purported scientific evidence. Unfortunately, that “science” is more politics than science — “an inconvenient truth” for Al Gore.]

Rep. McCollum continues: “Madam Chair, this bill fails the American people. It cuts environmental protections. It removes safeguards for our air and water and endangered species and allows rampant corruption in the executive  branch to go unchecked…. I know we can do better than this, and it is my hope we will do better after conference…. So despite my current opposition, I intend to continue to work with the chairman through this year’s appropriations process to produce a responsible bill that I know we can have both parties support in the end.”

[Freedom First Society:  Realistically, the bill both parties will support in the end will not be responsible.]

Rep. Tom Graves (R-Georgia), Chair of the Financial Services Subcommittee: “This bill [FY 2019 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations] is a product of a very Member-driven process. We brought appropriators and authorizers together. We consulted other committees. We fostered personal Member-to-Member conversations to make sure that  priorities in this bill were vetted and supported across jurisdictions. We held several public hearings and reviewed over 2,100 unique Member requests as we put this bill together. As the bill passed out of this Appropriations Committee, it passed with bipartisan support. What more can you do on behalf of America’s  kids and grandkids?

[Freedom First Society:  “What more?” How about standing up to political and media pressure while working to restore constitutionally limited government!]

Rep. Graves continues: “In fact, this bill includes more than 20 pieces of  legislation that have passed through this body with bipartisan support, in most cases with more than 270 votes.”

[Freedom First Society: Today, 270 votes reflects much of the bipartisan collectivist “representation” in the House. Additionally, if more than 20 pieces of legislation passed the House, why is the House voting on those pieces again, rather than insisting that the Senate deal with those already passed?]

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois), Ranking Democratic Member of the Financial Services Subcommittee: “But with that said, I continue to strongly oppose the bill before us  today.  Given its flat allocation of $23.4 billion, this bill does not adequately meet the growing needs of our small businesses, taxpayers,  and middle class consumers and investors.”

[Freedom First Society: Rep. Quigley’s statement clearly reflects the collectivist theme that the Federal government must grow to meet America’s needs.]

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