Let’s Have a Look at the Omnibus Spending Bill
Late last summer, the Bush Administration started pushing the huge bailout bill, now known as TARP – the Troubled Asset Relief Program. It included about $3,000 per family in spending. And we’ve blogged the wazoo out of it here.
While that was going on, Congress passed a bill to fund the regular activities of the federal government into early March. (About $8,000 per family in spending.) It didn’t finish the regular fiscal year 2009 spending process, and so kicked the can down the road until after the election.
Then along came the economic stimulus bill (which is less and less clearly an economic stimulus bill – maybe we can call it the deficit-spending-that-we-would-hope-to-be-stimulus bill). That’s about $4,300 in costs as we calculate them here, which is spending minus tax cuts. (See our discussion of the calculations on an early version of the bill here.)
Now, March is coming pretty quickly, so it’s time to turn back to funding for the regular operations of the government for the rest of the year. (The government runs on an October through September fiscal year, so we’re talking about now through the end of September.) The bill that’s floating around will be about $500 billion, or $5,100 per family.
When I say floating around, I mean floating around in a very few offices on Capitol Hill. It’s not floating around any place you and I can see it.
So yesterday, some leading Republicans wrote to the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader asking for the upcoming omnibus spending bill to be posted online.
[T]he [Democratic] Majority has asked the American taxpayers to fund nearly $1.5 trillion in new government spending [roughly $14,000 per family] in just four short weeks. And yet now the Majority plans to spend hundreds of billions more without yet sharing the content of the bill with Republican Members or the public. In the midst of a severe recession, taxpayers have a right to see each provision of this legislation and evaluate the merit of each dollar of government spending their children and grandchildren are being required to fund.
I wouldn’t use quite so partisan a tone, but, yeah, let’s see the omnibus spending bill ahead of time, so that we can get a look at where the money is going. I’ll post it here, we’ll look for the good and bad in it, and our Members of Congress will be a little better informed about the bill and about our opinions of it when they vote.
So let’s have a look at the omnibus spending bill!