In an article posted yesterday about the omnibus spending bill currently making its way through Congress, John Hinderaker at Power Line concluded:
One wonders, too: why do the Democrats even bother to screw veterans when the dollars involved are such small potatoes? Certainly not because they suddenly had a twinge of fiscal conscience. I think there is only one plausible explanation. The Democrats’ desire to stick it to veterans is much like their insistence on using Obamacare to force religious institutions to violate their beliefs. It is totally unnecessary; in practical terms, there is hardly anything in it for the Democrats. But in both cases, it is the principle that matters: the Democrats want to rub the noses of religious people and veterans in the fact that the Left is in the saddle. It is a raw exercise of power, of the sort that tyrants of all eras would appreciate. Not just opposition, but potential opposition must be stamped out.
So I understand why Democrats would vote for a bill they haven’t read, which cuts nothing except long-promised veterans’ benefits. But–I repeat–why on Earth would any Republican vote for it?
The Heritage Foundation posted a list of some of the pork-barrel spending in the bill on Monday. Included in the list are such things as:
Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grants, a program which should instead have been discontinued. DERA grants have been used to pay for new or retrofitted tractors and cherry pickers in Utah ($750,000), electrified parking spaces at a Delaware truck stop ($1 million), a new engine and generators for a 1950s locomotive in Pennsylvania ($1.2 million), school buses in San Diego County ($1.6 million), and new equipment engines for farmers in the San Joaquin Valley ($1.6 million).
This programs allows federal tax payers in some states to pay for pet projects in other states, rather than having private industry, local governments or state governments pay for these projects. Massachusetts took advantage of this idea years ago when the rest of the country paid for the Big Dig.
The omnibus continues to entangle taxpayer funding with an organization that reportedly has ties to China’s coercive family planning regime. The bill appropriates $35 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Despite continued assertions that UNFPA has been involved in China’s coercive one-child policy, the U.S. government persists in sending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to an organization allegedly complicit in forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations. Congress should eliminate all U.S. contributions to UNFPA as long as the organization persists in working with the Chinese family planning administration.
…By continuing to fund implementation of Obamacare, the omnibus bill would continue to entangle taxpayer dollars in abortion coverage. Taxpayers will foot the bill for federal subsidies for the purchase of health plans on the Obamacare exchanges that went live online Oct. 1, and some of those plans could cover elective abortion. This flood of new funding could significantly increase the number of abortions covered by taxpayer-subsidized plans.
…Instead of cutting transportation spending in the FY 2014 omnibus, lawmakers have doubled down on spending on federal programs—many of which are outdated, duplicative, or outside of the federal government’s responsibility. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants are one such program, and lawmakers have awarded it whopping $600 million—up $125 million from FY 2013. Begun in the 2009 stimulus bill to generate economic recovery, this grant program has been reincarnated in fiscal years 2010 through 2013, for a total of five rounds grants. This even though President Obama said, “The private sector is doing fine,” in June 2012 (about when $500 million in FY12 TIGER grants were announced) and continues to assert that the economy is doing well.
The article at Heritage continues with a long list of pork-barrel spending in the omnibus spending bill. Although major spending cuts are needed to the pork-barrel spending, the only spending cuts in the bill are to the retirement benefits of our military. Any member of Congress should be made to understand that if he supports the cuts to military retirement benefits he will be voted out of office.