House Republicans have challenged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to release the details of the expected $500 billion proposed omnibus appropriations legislation encompassing the nine remaining spending bills for fiscal year 2009. Entirely separate from the $1.2 trillion Democrat “stimulus” spending bill passed by the House last week with no Republican support, this additional estimated half-trillion dollar omnibus spending bill was scheduled for consideration as early as today. Pelosi removed the bill from the legislative calendar yesterday amid Democrat fears that the actual omnibus spending bill may help scuttle passage of the trillion-dollar “stimulus” spending bill already in very deep trouble in the Senate.
House Republican Conference chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), ranking member of the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, challenged the Democratic leadership to make the omnibus spending bill available on the internet — now — for public review.
There were some estimates that it [the actual omnibus spending bill] would be upwards to $500 billion, and I know I speak for my colleague and for all House Republicans when I say that we urge the Democratic leadership and Chairman Obey to release that bill to the public,” Pence said. “For whatever reason, the bill has been delayed. We believe this is an opportunity for even greater public scrutiny and we, today, are urging Chairman Obey and the Democratic leadership to make the omnibus bill available to the public on the internet and to the media so that it can be examined. We can use this additional time to make sure the American people know both the broad outlines and the specific details of the next massive government spending bill. … We take President Obama at his word; that he wants to bring a new era of transparency to the process of developing the nation’s laws and spending the people’s money.”
House Republicans have not been given a copy of the omnibus spending bill, as was the case with the so-called stimulus bill which has little to do with actually stimulating the economy but uses the urgency of this economic crisis to try to sneak through hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayers’ money as payoffs to Democrat constituencies. Due to the disingenuous manner in which the so-called stimulus bill was engineered, Republicans are vigorously calling for transparency in regard to release of the omnibus spending bill.
Public support for the “stimulus” spending bill continues to plummet as more hidden wasteful spending is exposed daily. According to a new Gallup poll released yesterday, only 38% of Americans believe that President Obama’s so-called stimulus bill should be passed “as Barack Obama proposed it” while 37% believe the bill should “undergo major changes.” 17% believe that the plan should be “rejected outright,” with 8% having “no position.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) continued his efforts to expose non-stimulus-related items, this time in the Senate bill. Boehner today released a new list of spending items congressional Republicans have identified in the Senate version as unrelated to significant job creation that included $20 million “for the removal of small- to medium-sized fish passage barriers”; $25 million to rehabilitate off-roading (ATV) trails; $34 million to remodel the Department of Commerce headquarters, and $70 million to “Support Supercomputing Activities” for climate research.
I asked Boehner spokesman Mike Steel yesterday about the momentum Republicans have as the Senate begins debate on the legislation and about a panicked Pelosi pulling the omnibus bill. Steel told me, “After the American people, House Republicans, and almost a dozen House Democrats last week rejected the ridiculous and wasteful provisions in their trillion-dollar spending bill, it seems that the House Democratic leadership wanted to take a week off before trying to cram through another half-a-trillion dollars in government spending. That is good news, but this is a marathon, not a sprint. We’ve got a lot more work to do, and it is going to require continued vigilance on the part of Congressional Republicans and the American people to hold the big-spending Democratic leadership accountable. We can never forget that by standing together, and standing on the side of the taxpayers, House Republicans can win any debate, even if we lose the vote.”