CRAMNIBUS II – More Long Term Federal Debt for Short Term Spending
For the second year in a row, the American people got stuck with a massive CRAMNIBUS Spending Bill to fund the Federal Government through another year. Spending more today, in exchange for more debt and interest costs later. The GOP bears full responsibility for this one, as they controlled both houses of the Congress for the entire year.
Sen Mitch McConnell campaigned in 2013 on restoring regular order. Republicans across the country fought tooth and nail working to return the Senate to the GOP, under the expectation that late night release; massive spending, surprise bills would be a thing of the past. So how did this happen again?
The answer lies in the “CRAMNIBUS II” itself. The bill nearly quadruples the number of H-2B visa workers admitted to the U.S. next year to about 250,000. Big money GOP donors and the Chamber of Commerce wanted immigration reform. McConnell and Behner knew that the American People were adamantly opposed increasing immigration. The only way to secure the visa increase was to bury it in a 2000+ page last minute bill.
There was time to avoid this, but McConnell and Behner intentionally ran out the clock. They let the legislative calendar slip, and kicked the can with a two month Continuing Resolution which funded the government through 11 Dec, the scheduled final day before the Senate went on recess. All was in place. The OMNIBUS itself wasnt released until the 11th hour, and hid the visa Trojan horse within 2000+ pages. The leadership created the crisis, and the American workers will pay the price.
Shame on McConnell, and shame on Paul Ryan for his complicity in the second CRAMNIBUS in as many years.
Senator Tom Coburn started an Tradition by publishing the Annual Federal Wastebook. The Wastebook highlights 100 egregious examples of wasteful federal spending from each fiscal year’s executed budget. When Senator Sessions retired from the Senate he passed the tradition onto Senator Jeff Flake.
Last week Senator Flake released the FY15 Wastebook. Given the massive pending $1.1Trillion FY16 OMNIBUS, its appropriate to look at the Top 10, most expensive programs listed in the 2015 Wastebook, and ponder why our government can’t get it’s act together.
- Bogus payments ($100 billion+) From tax credits to federal health programs to school lunch programs, Supplemental Nutrition Services (SNAP), and Unemployment Insurance, tens of billions of dollars are being misspent annually as a result of mismanagement and fraud.
- Unnecessary data centers ($5 billion) The federal government has more data centers then it can count and, despite the high cost to maintain the centers, much of the storage space available on the networks is not being utilized.
- IT insecurity ($1 billion) – The networks of federal agencies, including OMB, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), have also been breached.880 Russian hackers even gained accessed to the networks of the Pentagon,881 State Department and White House
- Free rent for freeloaders ($448 million) The federal government spends nearly $40 million a month paying the rent for over 100,000 tenants who are not complying with the requirements for the subsidies while others who could qualify are on waiting lists for housing assistance.
- Obamacare Coverage ($400 million) State-based marketplaces (SBMs), set up as part of Obamacare to offer health insurance purchasing options, were supposed to be self-sustaining by this year and are prohibited by law from spending federal funds for operational costs as of January 2015…Despite the ban on federal funds being spent on the SBMs operational costs
- Money up in smoke ($119 million) Taxpayers continue to subsidize the leading cause of death of Americans. While it costs billions to treat smoking-related health problems, the federal government is spending nearly as much to support the habit as it is to prevent it.
- Empty buildings in Afghanistan ($110 million) The U.S. is spending $110 million a year to maintain hundreds of empty, unused and excess buildings in Afghanistan.
- Rich subsidies ($104.4 million) Some residents of public housing intended for low-income families own real estate and are even earning big bucks from rental properties of their own.
- Ethanol pumps ($100 million) Ethanol is bad for the environment and automobiles, increases the cost of food, and is less fuel efficient, yet the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) keeps finding new ways to fill up the tank of the ethanol industry with corporate welfare.
- Slum lord subsidies ($60 million) Federal officials blocked safety inspections of public housing in Tennessee owned by a slumlord who has been collecting millions of dollars in taxpayer money while his residents have been living in deplorable conditions with broken pipes, exposed electrical sockets and infestation with roaches, bedbugs, and rodents.
As a bonus, the most egregious example of wasteful spending of all comes in the smallest amount.
- Majoring in terrorism ($2,000) Two young men from Minnesota spent federal student aid in an attempt to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS).