As Katie reported yesterday, the US Senate passed the 'Omnibus' spending bill yesterday, 68-29, with 18 Republicans joining all Democrats in voting yes. On substance, the legislation was a mixed bag for conservatives, attracting a mix of GOP appropriators, defense hawks, and moderates in support. The process of introduction, "debate," and final passage was, in a word, disgusting. One of the reasons I would have voted against this bill was summarized well by National Review's Philip Klein:
Just two days before an expected Senate vote, congressional leaders cooked up an outrageous $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill, demanding that lawmakers open wide and swallow its 4,155 pages so everybody can leave town for the year. This is a scandal. It is not a scandal to be added to the salacious and shocking catalogue of notorious Washington scandals, but a scandal precisely because what is happening has become a completely ordinary way for business to be conducted in Washington. The scandal is that it is so unremarkable. The scandal is that it will be repeated again and again, no matter which party is in power. Critics say that the omnibus shows that Washington is broken and that senators and members of Congress are incompetent. They lament the fact that lawmakers procrastinate to the last minute what they could have accomplished all year. In reality, the system is functioning just the way people in power want it to function.
This is no way to govern a serious country, yet it's how our federal show has been run for years. Our leaders careen from crisis to crisis, cliff to cliff, deadline to deadline, with a tiny handful of people cramming together giant legislative monstrosities at the 11th hour, then dropping it on everyone shortly before voting begins. It's crazy. This isn't even in the same zip code as "regular order." Another embarrassment in this bill is how toothless it is on the raging border crisis. Indeed, reasonable GOP amendments offered to help curb said crisis were denounced and rejected as "poison pills" by Democrats. Bogus alternative amendments were offered up as fig leafs by 'moderates' like Jon Tester, affording members political cover to be able to say they voted for something, with the understanding the provisions were going to fail and not get attached to the final bill. But that bill did include what critics are calling a bailout for sanctuary jurisdictions, as the Wall Street Journal's editors flagged yesterday:
Tucked into the Senate’s version is $785 million for migrant services such as food and shelter. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants the cash doled out to cities by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Awards will supposedly be determined through a competitive process, but Mr. Schumer has one recipient in mind. Politico reports that his hometown of New York will likely get a “substantial share” of the cash. Expect other Democratic strongholds to join the queue...this migrant pile-up is a direct result of the Biden border policy. Illegal crossings surpassed two million this year, overwhelming DHS facilities and allowing a greater share of migrants to be released in the U.S. on parole. The number of daily crossing has climbed by the thousands in recent weeks...The brunt of the migrant crisis is borne by smaller cities in GOP-led border states. Among the hardest hit is El Paso, Texas, which declared an emergency Sunday after the daily arrivals climbed to more than 2,400. The emergency will help the city earn federal reimbursement for the services it provides, yet it was declared after about 80,000 migrants had been released into the region since August. Compare that with the about 30,000 sent to New York this year.
The silver lining, I suppose, is that these hypocritical "sanctuary" cities can't whine as much if and when GOP governors keep sending buses and planes filled with illegal immigrants to their areas. If you want to performatively call yourself a haven for illegal immigrants, you'd better be willing to do more than your fair share of housing and handling the migrants who are arriving by the thousands every day. Now that US taxpayers will be sending buckets of cash to these cities, for this purpose, guys like Abbott and DeSantis should escalate the buses and flights. For a further sense of Democrats' total lack of seriousness about the crisis, the outgoing Republican governor of one border state has been forced to roll back his state's frantic, makeshift efforts at border security (borrowing an idea from Texas) after the Biden administration sued the state. No illegal immigration deterrence on federal land, thank you very much -- plus, think of the environmental impact:
AZ: The shipping container barriers are coming down—Gov @DougDucey has agreed not to place any more containers along the border and to remove the existing barriers after the Biden administration sued—Saying the state was trespassing on federal land and damaging the environment. pic.twitter.com/BNyUzA89tK— Ali Bradley (@AliBradleyTV) December 22, 2022
The Biden crew sued Arizona to prevent the state from attempting additional border security in the midst of this. I don't know what else there is to say.