Freedom First Society

Issue:  H.R. 3547 Latest Title: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014.

Result:  Passed in House 359 to 67, 7 not voting. Became Public Law No: 113-76 (signed by the president 1-17-14).  GOP and Democrat selected vote.

Bill Summary:  H.R. 3547 was transformed into the FY2014 consolidated appropriation bill, comprising the12 annual appropriations bills.   Authorized $1.1 trillion in spending for the Fiscal Year ending September 30, 2014.

Analysis:   A month earlier (December 2013), Congress passed the so-called budget deal, raising the sequester caps for FY 2014 and FY 2015. (See last Scorecard selected vote in House — GOP only — and Senate for session 1.)

No Way to Spend the People’s Money

Once the budget deal established the FY 2014 spending level, four-dozen or so congressional appropriators from both parties and both sides of the Capitol were instructed to prepare a massive omnibus spending measure. They were given a January 15 deadline to avoid another government “shutdown.”

Their task was immense. In less than three weeks, they had to negotiate and write “legislation dictating all of the government’s discretionary spending for the final 37 weeks of this budget year.” — Roll Call (12-19-13)

The GOP’s Harold Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Democrat Barbara Mikulski, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, led the appropriators in drafting the bill behind closed doors as a take-it-or-leave it package deal.

The final $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill was revealed to the public less than 72 hours before it sailed through the House and Senate with large bipartisan majorities. Intimidated by the adverse media-generated reaction to the recent “government shutdown,” many representatives held their noses and voted yea, even though some acknowledged that they had not read the 1,582 page bill.

During the floor debate in the House, Harold Rogers argued:

“This bill is a reflection of the need for members of Congress, under the Constitution, to decide how and when and why money is spent by the executive branch. The people elected us to fulfill that duty, and this bill does just that.”

         Immediately after the vote, Rogers told reporters: “I think it’s a really good demonstration of the worthiness of trying to work across the aisle and across the dome…. It was a good exercise in bipartisanship and working together for the common good.”

We emphatically disagree. There was obviously no serious effort in this bill to roll back unconstitutional programs and spending, and so a responsible vote had to be no.

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.)

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