How did your congressman vote? What’s really in the bill the House passed, the Senate gutted and replaced with existing and new spending before kicking it back to the House for passage?
Democrats and Democrats-lite are celebrating the passage of HR 2775 restoring the small fraction of the massive federal bureaucracy that reduced some government services during a debt battle media painted as a “government shutdown.” The bill also returned the whole federal money machine to the status quo.
I could’ve predicted most of the votes before they were made, but you can look at the full list provided by Ezra Dulis at Breitbart. I liked the way my Republican senator Marco Rubio voted. I did not like the way some Floridians in the House voted. All I can say about that is, thank you Rep. Ron DeSantis for voting ‘nay’ which was a vote for America rather than for advancing socialism and continuing to expand a central government that may be the next financial bubble pop we face if something doesn’t change.
The Senate basically emptied the original HR 2775 and popped in spending permissions, both current and future.
Among the items in the bill is the Food for Peace Act:
“Extending the authorization of section 408, the Food for Peace Act. If you go to that section in the act, it says under the header “Expiration Date”: “No agreements to finance sales or to provide other assistance under this act shall be entered into after December 31, 2012.”
What does this cost? According to U.S. Food Aid, Syria and North Korea are among the many countries receiving Food for Peace aid. Politicians who want to cut entitlements should start by cutting them abroad—why is this never discussed?
There’s another item addressing a group many of us probably don’t know much about—The Lord’s Resistance Army. An anti-government group in Uganda, the State Dept. website said the LRA is “one of Africa’s oldest, most violent, and persistent armed groups.” The LRA engages in forced recruitment of children and youth. The African Union designated the LRA as a terrorist group. State said: “Over the past decade (FY 2002-FY 2011), the United States has provided more than $560 million in humanitarian assistance specifically benefiting LRA-affected populations in Uganda, CAR, the DRC, and Sudan, in addition to countrywide assistance in the affected countries that could benefit individuals affected by LRA violence.”
It is estimated there are 150-200 members in the LRA.
HR 2775 said this:
“Sec. 122 – Extends authority for activities to counter Lord’s Resistance Army and non-conventional assisted recovery.”
What does that cost? Who else pays, if anyone?
The Hill mentioned other spending in the bill, like a board to oversee protocol on privacy:
“The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board would get $3.1 million under the bill. The board was set up in 2004 to ensure privacy concerns are addressed as laws and regulations are issued related to fighting terrorist threats against the country.”
I thought that’s what we elected Congress for? To uphold the U.S. Constitution? Why are we paying out $3.1 million to a board to do what should be done by congressional oversight?
On top of these and other items, the wealthy widow of the late Frank Lautenberg was included in HR 2775:
“Sec. 146 – Provides a gratuity of $174,000 for the widow of Senator Lautenberg”
How about we set about means testing these gratuities? Does your employer pay your spouse when you die? Lautenberg was one of the wealthiest in the U.S. Senate, by the way.
As the debt battle ended, we continued to hear about glitches in the PPACA/Obamacare enrollment system basically crippled at present despite the Obama administration spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.
The battle over HR 2775 is indicative of long term congressional members’ tendency to spend to benefit their political supporters and to perhaps create a legacy. Pundits celebrate the decrease in our current deficit. They never mention the enormous increase in our long term debt courtesy of progressives who comprise all of the Democrat party and a portion of the GOP.
At present our policy on energy hampers our economy significantly, and our policy on healthcare will continue to throw a monkey wrench into our economy as well.
Only when a true leader who understands the significance of our longterm debt sits in the White House will the middleclass prosper again. Only when true leaders control the U.S. Senate will any semblance of reason have a chance. At the moment our federal bureaucracy is in the hands of people who run it like children amok in a candy store. Our children will pay the price for that if something doesn’t change, and HR 2775 is a perfect example of failed leadership, a refusal to acknowledge our problem, and a bad token for the future of Main Street America.
As for the bill, a CBO estimate is not available. Blank checks are the trend these days.
(Opinion by Kay B. Day/Oct. 17, 2013)