Freedom First Society

Issue: H.R. 1865, Further Consolidated Appropriations Act 2020. (Vehicle: National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act.)  Question: On Motion to Concur in the Senate Amendment with an Amendment.

Result:  Passed in House 297 to 120, 13 not voting.  Agreed by Senate (Senate Vote 415, 12-19-19).  Became Public Law 116-94 (signed by the President 12-20-19).

Freedom First Society: The bipartisan agreement between congressional leaders and the White House consolidated the 12 regular FY2020 appropriations bills into two packages.  This package, labeled “Further Consolidated Appropriations,” comprises eight of the regular appropriations bills, providing $539.9 billion in discretionary funding. The package was not supported by the majority of House Republicans.  The total cost  included $520.4 billion subject to the new budget caps raised by the irresponsible Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (see House Roll Call 511, 7-25-19).

Presenting a package of eight appropriations bills to Congress, on a take it or leave it basis, just before the Christmas recess is no way to control government spending, let alone roll back unconstitutional spending.  Of course, reining in the federal monster is not the current program driving Washington.

However, if freedom in America is to survive, we must change Washington’s direction, and only determined pressure from an informed public can force the House of Representatives to use its power of the purse to change that direction. We give blue check marks to the 112 GOP representatives who voted against this measure, which was overwhelmingly supported by the Democrats.

We have assigned (good vote) to the Yeas and (bad vote) to the Nays. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)

Bill Summary:  H.R. 1865, Further Consolidated Appropriations Act 2020, combines appropriations for eight of the 12 regular appropriations bills for the 2020 fiscal year (ending September 30, 2020).  The eight bills are: Agriculture, Rural Development, and FDA; Energy and Water Development (8% more than the FY 2019); Interior and Environment; Labor-HHS-Education; Legislative Branch; Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; State and Foreign Operations; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

In addition, congressional leaders attached numerous legislative provisions to the spending package.

Analysis:   There are many glaring opportunities to cut back unconstitutional programs, starting, for example, with the federal expansions inaugurated under the Johnson administration, such as Housing and Urban Development.   Also the unconstitutional Department of Education established by President Jimmy Carter.

Energy and Water Development is a joke.  Since 1977 when President Jimmy Carter established the Department of Energy, the department has hampered realistic Energy Development (nuclear power and shale oil, as examples) in favor of investment in unrealistic low-energy substitutes.

Congressional leaders prefer hitting Congress with a last minute-appropriations package because they know that a return to regular order (votes on the 12 bills separately, and allowing amendments from the floor, would subject unconstitutional socialist spending to unwanted scrutiny.  Even worse, they attach subversive provisions that might not survive a separate vote.

One of the legislative provisions slipped into this Act extends the charter of the controversial U.S. Export-Import Bank for seven more years.   Contrary to its hype of advancing American interests, the Ex-Im Bank has a history of guaranteeing loans to help America’s enemies build up their manufacturing and industry.  Credible adversaries provide pretexts fort steps to Internationalist-controlled world government.

If Congress claims to be too busy to consider these measures individually on the floor, that would be just one more indication that the Federal government has become too big and invasive for even a Congress responsible to the people to manage.

Freshman Representative Chip Roy (R-Texas) voiced many of our objections to H.R. 1865 and the procedure for this and the other consolidated appropriations package during “consideration” of the measure (see excerpt below).

From the Congressional Record (House), December 17, 2019

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), member Committee on the Budget:  “Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Oklahoma and the  gentleman from New York for yielding time, and I respect the amount of  work they have put into this legislation.   Mr. Speaker, I rise, without surprise to anyone in this room, in  opposition to the legislation.   I keep hearing this phrase: “this bill provides.” I keep hearing my  colleagues saying this. But this bill doesn’t provide anything. The  American people provide. This bill borrows, and it borrows at a time  when we can’t afford to borrow more.   Our Nation is $23 trillion in debt, now racking up more than $100 million of debt per hour.   We haven’t figured it all out yet, but it appears this bill spends  $50 billion more than 2019 spending levels. Don’t worry, everybody will  go back home and campaign on a balanced budget amendment that has no  prayer of passage.   This bill is filled with massive policy changes that we should debate  and vote on individually….

“The bill changes the tobacco age nationwide, turning federalism on  its head, with nary a whimper from Republicans who like to talk about  the 10th Amendment in speeches back home.  The bill extends the big giveaway to huge corporations like Boeing in  the form of Ex-Im for 7 years.   The bill funds bureaucrats who wish to target your Second Amendment rights.   It funds abortion through ObamaCare plans.   The biggest problem is, we haven’t read the bill.  Days like today, everyone declares bipartisanship. But in this  version of bipartisanship, it is the bipartisan smell of Christmas jet  fumes and everyone’s desire to get home fueling the worst kind of  bipartisanship, the kind that says: ‘To heck with it, keep spending  money we don’t have and leave it to our kids and grandkids to clean  up.’  No one has read the bill. It is a massive, unreadable, 2,313-page  bill filled with government-expanded goodies and spending, and it was  dropped on us yesterday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. My staff got their first  look at 4:30.   The bill is a blatant violation of the House’s 72-hour rule, a pretty  weak rule requiring that we have at least 72 hours to review  legislation — everyone back home is saying, ‘Are you kidding me?’ — in  this case, 2,300 pages….

“The President, last spring, about a massive omnibus, said: ‘I will  never sign another bill like this again. I’m not going to do it again.  Nobody read it. It’s only hours old. Some people don’t even know what  is in it.’ It was $1.3 trillion, the second largest ever.   Mr. President, I look forward to your veto.”

Freedom First Society:  Unfortunately, Rep. Roy and the nation did not get President Trump’s veto.  We invite you, however, to check out the encouraging voting record of Rep. Roy on our scorecard.

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