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OPINION

The 2022 Omnibus Is a Lump of Coal for Taxpayers

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Matt Rourke

We are in the waning hours of the 2022 session of Congress, and members are proving to be the Grinches who stole our kids and grandkids inheritance and Christmas. Nobody should be surprised that Congress is on the brink of passing, with the support of both Democrats and Republicans, a budget busting $1.9 trillion Omnibus Appropriations bill. One hopes this is not a preview of 2023 when Republicans take control of the House.

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Some of the lowlights of the 4,155-page spending bill are buried in earmarks members put into the bill to funnel cash to their own districts. The Omnibus waives PAYGO, pay-as-you-go, spending restraints. David Ditch, Policy Analyst for the Heritage Foundation wrote on January 28, 2019, that “the PAYGO budget rule has been rendered nearly meaningless by both parties. After three full decades of on-again, off-again use, PAYGO has utterly failed to prevent the national debt from ballooning.” PAYGO is a statute that allows OMB to set up a scorecard of new spending, then implement an across-the-board cut to offset new spending in the form of a sequester. There are also PAYGO rules that operate in the House and Senate that have failed to restrain members of both parties. This Omnibus waives all PAYGO restraints to make it easier to pass this budget busting measure.

Out of control federal spending has rendered Congress about as popular as a root canal or Covid-19 nasal swab. Real Clear Politics has Congress with 35% of respondents disapproving of Congress more than approve. Not one Republican or Democratic leader in the House nor the Senate are even close to being liked more than disliked. One reason is that the American people are struggling to make ends meet while Congress is spending like they have a bottomless credit card. This Omnibus is going to make our nation’s fiscal situation even worse and Congress less popular.

When you did into the details of the spending, one gets even more angry. Scott Parkinson, Vice President of the Club for Growth, pointed out on Twitter that the Socialist Squad scored millions in earmarks. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) all secured cash for their districts even though they will likely oppose it because it does not spend even more on Woke projects. They must be happy that Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) secured a $3 million Woke earmark to establish an American LGBTQ+ museum in his district. Nobody has tallied up the Woke spending in the bill, but it is significant.

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Liberal members of Congress are bragging about how much new Woke spending they have secured. Democrats announced that they included “a $68 billion – 9.3 percent” increase in spending over last year – “the highest level for non-defense funding ever.” They also are spiking the football that 98% of Democratic member earmark requests were fulfilled adding up to $5.4 billion in 3,213 Democratic projects. Congress is hiking by $27 million the amounts they are spending on the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This bill is a disaster for fiscal responsibility.

It is sad that Congress is rubbing taxpayers’ nose in the legislative muck that they are railroading through Congress this week. They don’t give the taxpayers any time to digest and have their say on why the overall spending numbers are too high. The leaders of the House and Senate are dropping this secretly crafted bill onto the floor of the Senate within days of a government shutdown knowing that they can bully most members into voting to pass it. 

My former boss, Sen. Rand Paul, said on Fox Business this bill “brings upon us the lie that Republicans really are fiscally conservative.” He is spot on, yet Republicans have an opportunity in 2023 if they choose a different path that leads them to balance the budget.

The Omnibus is a disaster for taxpayers and shows that spending is to Congress as heroin is for a drug addict. Right now, voters don’t like either party and if Republicans could find their spines on spending restraint, they will be rewarded by voters in 2024 for saving the Republic from bankruptcy. Republicans might even flip those polling numbers if they can govern responsibly going forward.

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Even though this Christmas has been ruined by a Woke Democratic Party controlled Congress, it will be instructive to see how Republican control of the House changes, or does not change, the spending trajectory of the federal government.

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