So, What’s In The Democrat’s Secret $500 Billion Spending Bill?
Posted by Casey on September 23, 2008
Some good, some bad … as usual.
Details of the emerging legislation remain secret, but its outlines
have come out in interviews with aides to both the House and Senate
Appropriations committees, as well as aides to top House and Senate
The legislation is coming together in a remarkably secretive process
in which decisions are concentrated in the hands of just a few
lawmakers such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid and House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey,
The unusual process means thousands of lawmakers’ pet projects of
the very sort blasted by GOP presidential nominee John McCain on the
campaign trail would escape scrutiny, including up to $5 billion worth
of such “earmarks” in the defense budget alone.
Congressional leaders hope to pass the budget legislation this week,
but several issues remained undecided Monday. For starters, it wasn’t
clear how much the White House would be willing to accept.
Catch that? This is a neat little way to inflate government even more by hiding pork.
While top-level congressional leaders haven’t made final decisions,
elements of the year-end budget package are likely to include:
_Stopgap government funding. Most federal agencies would see their
budgets frozen at current levels for several weeks or even into March.
Lawmakers want to avoid a postelection “lame duck” session, but fear
the White House will force them to return to session in November in
hopes Congress would approve a free trade pact with Colombia.
_Security-related budgets. More than $600 billion to fund the 2009
budgets for the Pentagon, Homeland Security Department and the
Department of Veterans Affairs.
_Disaster aid. Up to $25 billion in emergency funding for victims of
Gulf Coast hurricanes, midwestern floods and other natural disasters.
_Automaker loans. More than $7 billion is provided to subsidize $25
billion in loans to help the “Big Three” U.S. automakers retool their
plants to build cleaner, more energy efficient cars.
_Heating subsidies. Democrats want to double the budget to $5.1
billion for a popular program providing heating subsidies for the poor.
Democrats were also weighing whether to try to add another extension
of unemployment benefits to the year-end budget package. Another option
would be to add the unemployment insurance coverage to a subsequent $50
billion-plus measure to stimulate the economy with infrastructure
spending, aid to states and additional food stamp benefits.
[Sigh] … Oi vai.
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