“THIS IS MY LINE IN THE SAND … AND I REFUSE TO BACK DOWN”
|| By PAUL GOSAR || Once again I find myself shaking my head at the wasteful spending in DC and a flawed process that drops thousands of pages of text on us with 48 hours to “read” and understand. I wish I could put all the blame on big spending Democrats, liberals who seek to bankrupt our nation and others who are ignorant of the fiscal crisis within which we live. But I can’t. Congress is controlled by Republicans. So, this massive and wasteful spending bill is on Republican leadership—who continues the pattern I have seen for five years now.
If I sound disappointed, it’s because I am. Republicans have been elected around the country on the simple promise of reducing spending and the size of the federal government. To rein in a lawless and dangerously incompetent Obama administration. We know what the American people want. They have made that clear in the last three election cycles. Except for the sequester vote in August 2011 (a law I proudly voted for and that actually reduced spending three years in a row), no other law has been enacted that makes meaningful cuts to spending. I am disappointed but I refuse to give up.
There are some items in the Omnibus that I support and fought to have included such as eliminating taxpayers bailouts of the Obamacare “risk corridor” program and delaying the “Cadillac tax” which puts two more nails in the Obamacare coffin, funding for PILT (payments in lieu of taxes) and SCAAP (State Criminal Alien Assistance Program), as well as lifting the crude oil export ban which I have taken a lead role in accomplishing. Additionally, the Omnibus bill includes the House-passed language that reforms the VISA Waiver Program.
But the bad far outweighs the good, and overall, this bill misses so many opportunities. A bill with 2,242 pages of legislative text and over 1,000 pages of explanatory material was first released at 1:34 a.m. Wednesday and we will vote on it this Friday. I am not Nancy Pelosi. I will not vote to pass a bill just to find out later what is in it. That is irresponsible and silly. Bottom line: This is a big spending bill. It spends more ($50 billion more) than is authorized and agreed to under the Budget Control Act of 2011. This alone is reason to reject this bill. We set limits that are intended to implement our campaign promises.
This Omnibus does not defund the president’s executive amnesty orders and fails to prevent funds for sanctuary cities, both abdications of the power of the purse. The bill failed to defund Obamacare. This bill failed to include a provision blocking refugees from Syria from being resettled in this country until we have a system that can properly vet them. Worse yet, the bill allows the president to bring in as many refugees as he wants and allows access for these refugees to welfare and entitlements at taxpayer expense.
The bill failed to block the EPA’s new WOTUS (Waters of the United States), Clean Power Plan and Ozone regulations. It also failed to block the administration’s new AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing) rule, to block the new Stream Protection Rule and to block the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s new fracking rule, do anything to limit massive designations of new national monuments under the Antiquities Act by Obama and to block the new Central American Minors (CAM) program.
It increases Internal Revenue Service (IRS) spending by over $200 million and includes a $500 million increase for the wasteful and inefficient Head Start program. The bill increases funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) $717.73 million above the House passed bill. The bill increases funding by $1.2 billion for the Department of Education.
The bill fails to block funding for Planned Parenthood and will allow hundreds of millions to continue to flow to the organization’s coffers ($528.4 million in federal funding last year alone).
The bill egregiously extends the Wind PTC for five years and extends the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for three years with no meaningful reforms even though the program is now unauthorized. The bill includes $226.8 million for new land acquisition and to lock-up more land, even though the federal government can’t even manage the land it currently owns.
The bill bails out the International Monetary Fund by increasing the U.S. quota. This IMF will now have access to even more taxpayer dollars in order to fund bailouts of other irresponsible governments like Greece.
To make matters worse, there were tons of great riders that passed both Houses and were even included in base bills that somehow failed to make it into the final bill.
The fact that extremist environmental groups are pleased and that Obama hasn’t threatened a veto tells you everything you need to know about this fundamentally-flawed bill.
I refuse to go along with the status quo of more wasteful and abusive government spending. It doesn’t have to be this way. We must have the courage to fix our broken budget process and return to regular order. As long as I represent hard-working Arizonans, I will never stop fighting to end this madness. This is my line in the sand and I refuse to back down.
Paul Gosar represents Arizona’s fifth district in the U.S. House of Representatives.