Each year a beady-eyed groundhog is applauded for hauling itself into daylight and a great fuss is made over whether he sees his shadow. He "predicts" one of two things: that the weather will get better or stay the same.
Phil Connors, the supercilious weatherman brilliantly played by Bill Murray in the film "Groundhog Day," dreaded covering the local Pittsburg townsman who fawned over the marmot each year. Forced to stay overnight on this assignment because of an unexpected blizzard Conners wakes up again and again to relive the same miserable day over and over again. He asks, "What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?"
Conners’ question should — today — be asked of congressional Democrats who are about to afflict us with an omnibus continuing resolution. A relic of years gone by, the Omnibus "CR" is a repeating taxpayers’ nightmare.
On January 31, the House passed a $463 billion bill to fund the government’s activities for the rest of the year. Titled a "continuing resolution," the 137-page document more closely resembles an annual federal budget.
In a press release House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gushed it "was a giant step forward in cleaning up the Republican’s huge fiscal mess."
But the shadow of the continuing resolution is long, signaling dreary — and expensive — days ahead.
Although the Democrat stayed within spending caps requested by President Bush their leadership used a non-traditional funding formula and reallocated monies to favored programs at higher levels.
Budget hawk Sen. Judd Gregg (R.-N.H.) called the process a "shell game" that was used to "cut defense and fund social programs."
The continuing resolution provides $2.5 billion for base closures and realignment processes. This is several billion short than President Bush requested. In a Statement of Administration Policy, the White House said the cut would "delay or postpone scheduled redeployments of military personnel and their families from overseas stations to the United States, and negatively impact communities preparing for base-closing processes." In English, that means troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan (and their families) will be crammed in overcrowded, run-down housing in places they shouldn’t have to live.
So much for Democrats’ chest-thumping declarations that they "support the troops."
So, what did the Democrats find money for?
According to a press release from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.) the continuing resolution provide a $19.2 million increase in "international development and cultural exchange programs." Leahy said the programs were the "most effective tools of public diplomacy the U.S. has available, particularly in predominantly Muslim countries."
So, while American families may not be able to come home, thanks to the Democrats Muslim exchange students will be able to enter the U.S. more comfortably.
It also gives an additional $113 million in dues to the United Nations for international peacekeeping operations. Domestic HIV/AIDS care was increased by $76 million, while international HIV/AIDS relief was increased by $1.3 billion. The Natural Science Foundation is to receive $335 million more for basic research. The National Institutes of Standards and Technology will see $50 million more dollars.
"We have placed a moratorium on earmarks until a new reformed process is in place to ensure the integrity of every earmark that is funded," Pelosi said.
But, the resolution contains a line-item for Native Hawaiians to receive $13.9 million in health care devoted exclusively for their racial group.
Pelosi is pretending to pledge a new day, but this is the same-old story of cranberry, blueberry and crawfish subsidies Ronald Reagan chastised Congress for in his 1988 State of the Union Address.
Phil Connors grew so frustrated with his fate he tried to kill himself several times, but to no avail. He even tried to murder the famous groundhog in one of his suicide attempts.
(Killing the varmint didn’t work either.)
It wasn’t until he gave up his arrogant vices that he could break free from that horrendous day and wake up on February 3.
February 3 will surely come tomorrow. But 57 Republicans aided Pelosi in passing this bloated bill. Surely, if these vices aren’t given up by Election Day 2008 this nightmarish scenario to play out again by Republicans who may remain in the wilderness, out of power for as long as they fail to return to conservative principles.