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Posted at 6:54 PM ET, 12/14/2010

Spending bill tests discipline of both parties

By Jennifer Rubin

The Omnibus spending measure introduced today by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has outraged Senate and House Republicans -- threatening not only government funding, but the rest of the Senate's lame duck agenda.

What's in the bill? Republican Senate aides sent over some highlights by e-mail:

The recently released omnibus appropriations measure - which would spend more than $1.25 trillion in this fiscal year - includes $1,009,677,000 in funding to implement Democrats' unpopular health care law. That funding includes:

An increase of more than $80.7 million in the Department of Health and Human Services' Departmental Management account, to enforce the new insurance mandates and regulations created in the law. This $80 million "plus-up" is also significantly higher than the $44.9 million increase proposed in Democrats' year-long CR. (Provision found on page 1015 of the legislation.)

An increase of over $175.9 million in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Program Management account, to implement the massive Medicaid expansion and cuts to Medicare Advantage. (Provision found on pages 1000-1001 of the legislation.)

Spending of $750 million from the Prevention and Public Health "slush fund" created in the law. Among the programs receiving "slush fund" dollars are the new community transformation grant programs, which "could provide billions of dollars for walking paths, streetlights, jungle gyms, and even farmers' markets," provisions that have caused controversy. (Provisions found on pages 983, 988-89, 998, and 999 of the legislation.)

Funding of $3 million for the National Health Care Workforce Commission created in the law, just one of the 159 boards, bureaucracies, and programs created by the majority's government takeover of health care. (Provision found on page 1077 of the legislation.)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell unloaded on the substance of the bill as well as the process. Roll Call reports (subscription required):

McConnell called the measure by Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) "completely and totally inappropriate.... I'm going to vote against things that could arguably benefit my state."

McConnell likened the nearly 2,000-page bill -- and its introduction so close to Christmas -- to last year's health care debate, when Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had a "2,700-page bill that no one had seen and [was] trying to jam it through the Senate," he said.

"The full Senate has had no input in this bill whatsoever," he added. "This is exactly what the American people said Nov. 2 they didn't want us to do."

Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) denounced the bill. DeMint tweeted, "Ignoring the Nov. elections, Democrats just introduced a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill stuffed with thousands of earmarks." Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) also said he was a no. The omnibus spending bill can be filibustered under Senate rules, and a senior Republican advisor vowed: "We can and will filibuster" the bill. He continued, "Reid will have to file cloture on a 2,000-page bill."

Senate Republicans speculated about how many of the 23 Democrats on the 2012 ballot, many from red states, would want to go on record voting for a business-as-usual, pork-filled spending bill.

Over on the House side, Republicans were nonplussed. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R.-Va.) tweeted, "Democrats just don't get it: introduce pork-filled, 2,000 page earmark-laden spending bill." A senior House aide was taken aback and uncertain certain Blue Dogs would vote for the bill. He e-mailed:

It really is stunning, isn't it? If they can get it through the Senate, I suspect they can pass it. BUT, take a look at the Continuing Resolution vote from last week. They barely passed it in the House. Not because of spending (though there was A LOT of extraneous spending in it) but because of the inclusion of food safety legislation, which all the [members from agricultural states] hate. Guess what is in the omnibus bill? Food safety is back for a ride. So, the combo of omnibus pork with food safety? Maybe not.

And soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner issued a press release blasting the bill:

"If President Obama is truly serious about ending earmarks, he should oppose Senate Democrats' pork-laden omnibus spending bill and announce he will veto it if necessary. This bill represents exactly what the American people have rejected: more spending, more earmarks, and more big government. Republicans strongly oppose this last-ditch spending spree, a smack in the face to taxpayers at a time when we're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend. Senate Democrats even go so far as to plow more than $1 billion into implementing ObamaCare, despite a growing national revolt against this job-killing health care law. . . .Senate Democrats should stand down so we can get to work on cleaning up Washington's fiscal mess."

So will the White House, which is straining to get to the political center, go along with this? Potentially putting its newly minted moderate image, repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," and ratification of the START Treaty at risk? And will Democrats who survived the tsunami of 2010 really want to continue with the spend-a-thon that enraged voters? Stay tuned.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 14, 2010; 6:54 PM ET
Categories:  House GOP, Senate Democrats, economy  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Right Turn saw that one coming
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This is exactly what the voters just repudiated. Any Republican who votes for this should be primaried, except for the lame ducks like Bennett, Voinovich and Bond who won't be around. Susan Collins and a couple of the other Republican Senate porkers could be the key votes.

Posted by: eoniii | December 14, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Nice. Dont understand why this keeps happening IF YOU WANT YOUR TAX CUTS FOR ULTRA RICH YOU CANT HAVE EARMARKS. its that simple somebody up on the hill needs to get with the program. give us your two cents at

Posted by: beth25 | December 14, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Liberalism is fueled by EGO

Liberals just want to convince themselves they are better than other people.

So liberals convince themselves that they are better than other people because they believe certain things.

The thing is - the liberals are really NOT attracted to those ideas - the liberals ARE attracted to the idea of believing that they are better than other people.

The liberal agenda - for most people - is simply a MEANS TO AN END.

The END is them thinking that they are better than other people - THE LIBERALS REALLY DON'T CARE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 14, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

I said it before, I'll say it again

They went into negotiations about 90 Billion of tax cuts and 56 Bill of Unemployment benefits -

And they came out with 350 Billion of borrowing.

They ADDED items to the deal to more than double the borrowing.

It is shameful.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 14, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans who pushed for inheritance tax cuts, and tax cuts for the wealthy which will help the rich get richer are now hypocritically complaining about earmarks. However some of those who are complaining about earmarks, want some infra structure projects in their districts. Even tea party favorite, Michelle Bachmann is in this category.

"On Tuesday morning, Bachmann told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that she’d like to clarify the definition of “earmarks” and exclude transportation projects from that category of pork spending.

“Advocating for transportation projects for ones district in my mind does not equate to an earmark,” Bachmann said. ‪”I don’t believe that building roads and bridges and interchanges should be considered an earmark… There’s a big difference between funding a tea pot museum and a bridge over a vital waterway.”"

We do need to beef up food safety to protect consumers from unhealthy food marketed by big agricultural corporations. With mass production of agricultural products large numbers of customers can be damaged by shortcuts and mistakes which can be avoided by proper regulation. We should keep in mind the huge problem created by a filthy factory which resulted in the massive recall of tainted peanut butter in 2009.

"...Out of 486 cases of salmonella illness reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 people have died and 107 have been hospitalized. The most recent person sickened fell ill on Jan 8. Since it takes up to three weeks for cases to be reported to the disease agency, more are expected. ..."

Posted by: eadler2 | December 14, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price search online for "Wise Health Insurance" If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and trust me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: johnbaudoin | December 15, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Stop the presses. Democrats vote for a trillion dollars of pork. Wow, who could have seen THAT coming?

Posted by: Larry3435 | December 15, 2010 5:48 AM | Report abuse

1. Anti-DISCLOSE Act VS. Pro-Earmark Ban

Admittedly, both are disturbing, but it is apparent that the largest form of wasteful spending can arise from the Shadowy Campaign Money offered by the greedy interest group.
And Earmarks accounted for about $16 billion, less than 1 percent, of federal spending in 2010, small potatoes in contrast to Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans

2. The reps along with Big Business bought this past midterm election.
The structure that the last champion is authorized to pick the next match winner .

The ruling that allowed Corporate money to back Political Candidates destroyed the very fabric of the Elections and Americans are paying dearly for it.
The incessant flood of negative campaign ads drove most Americans towards something they knew nothing about, the Republican/Corporate take-over of the US. Millions upon millions were spent to defeat certain

Posted by: hsr06011 | December 16, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

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