Repeat: "may." Congress has an impressive talent at somehow managing to find new and exciting ways to spend your money.
WASHINGTON – The Senate, tied up in a fight over a huge omnibus appropriations bill, will have to pass a stopgap spending measure Friday in order to avoid a partial government shutdown.
The huge, 1,132-page spending bill awards big increases to domestic programs and is stuffed with pet projects sought by lawmakers in both parties. The measure has an extraordinary reach, wrapping together nine spending bills to fund the annual operating budgets of every Cabinet department except for Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs.
The measure was written mostly over the course of last year, before projected deficits quadrupled and Obama's economic recovery bill left many of the same spending accounts swimming in cash.
And, to the embarrassment of Obama — who promised during last year's campaign to force Congress to curb its pork-barrel ways — the bill contains 7,991 pet projects totaling $5.5 billion, according to calculations by the GOP staff of the House Appropriations Committee.
The AP is getting better at reporting things like this - they at least note that the Democrats control Congress, there's no Name! That! Party! being played this time, and they're bringing up the entire earmark thing - but they still have a ways to go. They're not mentioning, for example, that Obama was originally an earmarker himself - fortunately, the Democratic-controlled Congress is on hand to sanitize the President's record - and they're certainly not going to remind people that this is independent of the 2010 budget. Said budget, of course, is not going to be the "austere" measure that we were assured of. 3.55 trillion, folks. That's an increase from last year.
Enjoying one-party rule, yet?
PS: Note the behavior patterns of the people who will immediately say "yes" to that question, by the way. Ask yourself, Would I want to be trapped on an elevator with them for four hours? Calibrate accordingly.
Crossposted at Moe Lane.