Discretionary Spending Bill is Bad Policy
Last night, the Senate voted to approve an omnibus spending bill totaling $915 billion written on 1,221 pages. The bill arrived 15 minutes before the roll call was taken and it passed. The House voted for a very similar bill the day before in the same fashion. Congressman Sullivan voted for the bill, while Senator Coburn voted against the bill. I would have voted against it. Here’s why:
1. I wouldn’t vote for anything without reading it.
2. This bill doesn’t cut spending or move us toward a balanced budget.
3. The Senate bill raises taxes. It includes $35.7 billion in new taxes on new homeowners for the “general revenue.” These new taxes are disguised as “fees” that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will levy on mortgage lenders. The lenders, of course, will charge them to new homeowners. So, if you are buying a home, I recommend you close before the President signs this bill.
4. The new taxes on homeowners are being used to compensate for the payroll tax holiday, which is Social Security’s only source of revenue. Social Security, which was created to be a self-sustaining, stand-alone, savings mandate for individuals, is being fundamentally transformed into a wealth transfer program as a result of this legislation.
5. This bill spends $3.5 billion on DoD programs that the DoD neither wants nor needs. Senator Coburn, who appropriately voted against this bill, said the funds will go to the friends of lawmakers. I am a pilot in the U.S. Navy. My operational squadron is being cut for lack of funds, while lawmakers hand out billions of dollars for unwanted programs that benefit political favorites and do not improve war fighting capability.
6. The Senate bill includes a provision that requires the President to decide on the Keystone Pipeline within 60 days. This provision has no teeth. What will happen if 60 days pass and the President fails to make a decision? Nothing. Instead, the House and Senate should pass separate legislation mandating that the Keystone Pipeline be built now. They should send it to the President and force him to veto it in an election year. He won’t veto it and the pipeline will be built. This is not a taxpayer funded pipeline and there is no sound reason not to build it.
This discretionary spending bill is the type of legislation we receive when our representatives wait until the brink of a government shutdown before appropriating funds. Congress cannot solve its spending problem with last minute deals to prevent a government shutdown. Our debt level, which is greater than our GDP, has made it more difficult for the Treasury Department to sell securities to fund the government. The Federal Reserve has attempted to assist by buying treasuries with newly created money. While this has funded the government, the Fed’s policy has greatly weakened the U.S. Dollar and thwarted new investment in Dollar denominated assets. Without investment, businesses are not created and do not grow. Joblessness mounts. Bottom line – Congress needs to quit spending. This bill doesn’t even come close. Senator Coburn voted correctly.