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Omnibus Spending Bill Loaded with Earmarks and New Spending

What do you call the Senate’s Omnibus Spending Bill?   An Earmark Bonanza — An Earmark-A-Thon — The Earmark-bus.  Clearly, this bill is an outrage to the taxpayer and conservative Senators. 

The Senate is about to vote on an Omnibus Spending Bill funding the federal government for the year.  House and Senate appropriators crafted a bill in secret and, just yesterday, provided text to Senators and the American people.  The bill is 1,924 pages long and it will cost you $1.25 trillion, including $8 billion in earmarks.  This appropriations measure is loaded with pork barrel projects, ObamaCare spending and other items on the liberal wish list. 

Conservatives are outraged.  Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) are expected to make the Clerk of the Senate read this 1,924 appropriations bill.  Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has identified 6,488 earmarks.  Here is a review of what people are saying about this end of year appropriations measure.

I wrote over at Human Events that this bill contains over $1 billion in new ObamaCare funding.  If Senators are committed to repealing ObamaCare, they can’t vote for this package.  The bill fully funds a health care bill that was, in part, declared unconstitutional by a federal judge in Virginia this week.

The Earmark-bus contains more than $1 billion in Obamacare funding. Even though mandates have been the subject of numerous court challenges, this bill funds new insurance mandates to the tune of about $80 million. A provision contains a sweet Montana earmark for $300,000 to the Center for Asbestos Related Disease. 

Erick Erickson writes at Red State that this bill contains legislation declaring Nevada a “Pacific Coast” state so they can get more federal money.

The Senate has released an omnibus appropriations bill that blows the lid off spending. They waited until the last possible minute to put it out for review. It is 1,924 pages long, filled with earmarks, and goes so far as to declare Nevada a Pacific Coast state so it can get in on a few million dollars to protect salmon. The Democrats have also put a provision in the legislation to begin funding Obamacare.  It is insane and the GOP claims it will fight. Naturally though, several of the outgoing Republican Senators have decided they can finally flip the middle finger at their constituents. Senator Susan Collins is joining these departing senators — Voinovich, Bennett, Bond.

USA Today reports that Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is digging in for a fight.

The 1,924-page proposal includes about $8 billion worth of lawmaker-directed spending items known as earmarks. The projects became an issue in some races during the November election, prompting House and Senate Republicans to ban them when Congress returns next year.  “This is exactly what the American people said … they did not want us to do,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, adding that he will fight the measure in the year-end session of Congress. “I am actively working to defeat it.”

Fox News reported that when the bill was shown to the Senate Republican Caucus, Republicans were, for the most part, outraged.

“All hell is breaking loose,” the source told Fox News, noting that Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint of South Carolina were expected to insist the omnibus bill be read in its entirety by the clerk on the Senate floor before a vote is held. They also were expected to seek debate on all earmarks and any amendments.   If the clerk follows the pace of last year’s reading of the health care bill — 53 pages an hour — it will take almost 40 hours to read the omnibus bill.

Defeated Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT), retiring Senator Kit Bond (R-MO), retiring Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) must have been as silent as Church Mice during that Republican Caucus, because they want to vote for it.  The Hill reports that Bennett was bragging that he will proudly vote for the earmark filled bill.

Bennett said earmarks in the bill might give some of his GOP colleagues reason to hesitate but wouldn’t affect his vote.  “It will be tough for some, but not for me,” he said. GOP Sens. Kit Bond (Mo.), George Voinovich (Ohio) and Susan Collins (Maine) also told The Hill on Tuesday they would consider voting for the omnibus but want to review it before making a final decision.

John McCain, Quoted on Twitter by ABC News, The Note expressed his outrage in a Tweet:

Appropriators announced a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill full of outrageous/wasteful earmarks – what a disgrace”

The Associated Press reports that Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) was able to slip in an earmark to study the idea of setting up a race based government for Native Hawaiian people.

A federal government spending measure pending in the U.S. Senate calls for a study on forming a Native Hawaiian governing entity.

ABC News, the Note further reports that Senate Appropriations Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS), Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) may be inclined to vote for this bill.  It would be ironic if the first Tea Party elected Senator Brown turned his back on the Tea Party and voted for earmarks.

In order to reach the 60-vote threshold needed for passage, Democrats hope to secure the support of a handful of Republican appropriators like Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Kit Bond of Missouri, and Bob Bennett of Utah with earmarks for their states. The three moderate Republicans from New England – Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Scott Brown of Massachusetts – are also viewed as possible votes in favor of the omnibus.

According to the Washington Times, this bill costs the taxpayer over one half billion dollars per page.

The omnibus spending bill is likely to get the most attention, spanning 1,924 pages and spending an average of $575.13 million per page.

These elites in Washington will gladly vote for the bill if they think they can get away with it.  This is the first test of the Tea Party movement to see if Senators respect the movement or take the movement for granted.  Conservatives throughout America will be watching this debate and vote to see who is willing to stand up against a government that spends too much of the taxpayers dollar.

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