Freedom Caucus member Rep. David Brat (R-VA), who replaced former Majority Leader Eric Cantor, expressed discontent this week with the Omnibus spending bill that is expected to pass with support of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). "The end product here is just cleaning the barn; it’s a disaster," Brat said. "We're breaking our pledge on the budget caps to the American people, we’ve lost fiscal discipline, and we’re throwing it all on the next generation."
By the same token, however, Brat was full of praise of Ryan: "Not only is he saying the right things, he is lining it up to do the right things … and then leadership can't hijack the budget at the end of the year and throw the kitchen sink, which we just did."
House leadership shot down every effort to amend the spending bill, including legislation on national security, abortion, and environment. In addition, Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) assailed critics of the deal. "The vote that hurts our Conference is the no vote from a Member who hopes the bill passes, but relies on others to carry that load," Scalise wrote. "That vote isn't fair to the Members who shoulder the responsibility of voting yes, and it isn't fair to the Republican Conference as a whole."
Advocates of immigration control are outraged over a provision in the omnibus spending bill that will allow more than 250,000 temporary guest workers into the United States. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) told The Daily Signal, “It came out of nowhere, completely out of nowhere,” Jordan, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said, “[and] everyone was shocked there was a change and no one had talked about it.”
A vote on the $1.1 trillion spending measure is due today. Among the provisions in the 2,009 page bill is a measure that would lift the current limit on H-2B visas for foreign, low-skilled workers looking for blue-collar jobs.
Beside agricultural subsidies, spending on defense, foreign aid, and the other operations of the Federal government, there are a number of curious provisions. Among them is a provision to prohibit the U.S. Department of Agriculture from issuing or reissuing licenses "to class B dealers who sell dogs and cats for use in research, experiments, teaching, or testing." This is an apparent response that companies are selling “randomly sourced" cats and dogs (that could be stolen from their owners) for laboratory experiments.
Another provision prohibits any Federal funding of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) – a community organzing/voter registration group that greatly assisted the election campaigns of Barack Obama. ACORN was severely criticized when covert videos exposed the group to criticisms that it had encouraged clients to break the law. The group closed its doors in 2010 when Congress cut off any Federal funding. Congress apparently wants to reiterate its opposition to funding ACORN, “or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, allied organizations, or successors."
The spending bill also includes language to ensure that the USDA will not push recommended lower levels of salt in school lunches. The bill forbids implementing cutting dietary sodium levels "until the latest scientific research establishes the reduction is beneficial for children."
U.S. Navy personnel have discovered the remains of an American aviator who was shot down in combat over the Pacific Ocean in 1944. A team aboard USNS ...