17 December 2015 Rep. Paul Gosar, Facebook
Why I am Voting NO on the Massive Omnibus Spending Bill
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 blame 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 5 years now. Talk tough at election time (“we need to balance the budget, reduce spending, blah blah blah”) and then they come to DC and fire-up the printing press for more money and more federal expansion. With Republicans like this who needs Nancy Pelosi?
If I sound disappointed, its 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 am not giving up. “I have only begun to fight.” (John Paul Jones, pictured here).
There are some items in the Omnibus that I support, and indeed, that I fought to have included: (1) The retention of a rider I requested with my colleagues to eliminate taxpayer bailouts of the Obamacare “risk corridor” program that may be the final nail in Obamacare coffin; (2) My WAPA Report language on Page 41 (which will bring transparency to this massive bureaucracy.); (3) –Retention of my rider to Prohibit Funds for the unconstitutional National Roadside Survey; (4) My request for adequate resources for the Lower Santa Cruz Feasibility Study; (5) Retention of the Gosar language prohibiting wasteful spending on Scrims; (6) funding for PILT and SCAAP; (7) Gosar amendment prohibiting $500 million for Obama's request for the new, wasteful Rapid Growth Transit Program; (8) Gosar amendment prohibiting funds being used on Government Travel Charge Card expenses by military or civilian personnel of DOD for gaming, or entertainment that includes topless or nude entertainers or participants.
Other things I like and support—lifting of the country of origin labeling for beef and pork. which would lead to retaliation of $1 billion in trade penalties if not passed and thus raise the cost of our food. I also support lifting the crude oil export ban and was happy to see this provision included in the bill. In fact, I am a co-sponsor of 3 bills to do just that and voted YES in October on a bill that passed the House to end the crude oil export ban.
I also support the delay of the “Cadillac Tax” on health care plans. (I support repeal of this tax and many other taxes). The Omnibus bill includes H.R. 158, the House-passed language that reforms the VISA Waiver Program.
The bill prohibits new taxes on ranching, aviation, and the oil and gas industries. The bill blocks the UN Arms Trade Treaty and maintains the freeze on member pay which has been in place since 2010. The bill increases funds for border security. The bill provides $375 million for hazardous fuels reduction, which is $13,251,000 above the fiscal year 2015 level. All these things are things which I support.
So there are some good things in this bill. But the bad outweigh the good, and overall, this bill misses so many opportunities.
First: - A bill with 2242 pages of legislative text and over 1000 pages of explanatory material was first released at 1:34 AM today. To make matters worse, leadership whipped members to see how they planned to vote at 10 AM this morning. With a vote set for Friday at the latest, this is not enough time for any responsible lawmaker to read and understand everything that is in the bill.
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.
Critically, this is a big spending bill. It spends more ($50 billion) then 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.
The bill does not defund the president’s immigration orders and fails to prevent funds from going to sanctuary cities, both abdications of the purse. It fully funds Obamacare. So much for Republican promises to stop Obamacare.
This bill does nothing to secure our nation from further terrorist attacks. It failed to include a provision that would bar refugees from Syria from being resettled in this country until we have a system that can properly vet them.
The bill failed to block the EPA's new WOTUS, Clean Power Plan and Ozone Regulations. It also failed to block the Administration's new AFFH rule, block the new Stream Protection Rule, block the 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.
The bill egregiously extends the Wind PTC for five years and extends 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.
It increases 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 EPA $717.73 million above the House passed bill. The bill fails to block funding for Planned Parenthood and will allow hundreds of millions to continue to flow to the organizations coffers ($528.4 million in federal funding last year alone). Unreal.
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.
There is a long list of other problems. But this is enough.
I will be voting NO.