As a fiscal watchdog elected to Congress on the promise to rein in Washington’s out of control spending habits, this omnibus bill represents politics as usual in Washington.
The text was not released until the night before the vote, effectively giving Members of Congress seven waking hours to read the 2,232 page bill — the equivalent length of two Bibles. It is problematic voting on any legislation that I cannot study first in its entirety, and to skim this bill would have been impossible, let alone read and internalize everything it does.
Fundamentally, the “omnibus” is not an effective way to run a government. There’s a reason we have committees to draft individual appropriations bills: the expertise in any given spending bill typically resides in the appropriate committee. We must return to regular order and a normal appropriations budgeting process to restore fiscal sanity. The House passed all 12 appropriations bills 190 days ago – we did our job. However, the Senate did not take up even one of those bills.
Bad process usually leads to bad policy. With any 2,232-page bill, there are bound to be some things that I like; in fact, many of the policies in the omnibus are things that I have voted for in the past as stand-alone bills, and would vote for again in the future. However, this bill fails to deliver on the promises we made to the American people. This bill will not secure our southern border. It appropriates a limited amount of funds for border security, but also blocks that money from being used to build a wall based on prototypes that President Trump has reviewed. This bill also continues funding to Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities and infringes upon the Second Amendment rights of Americans to name but a few problems in the bill.
But beyond the individual policies, there’s one overarching problem: The most problematic part of the bill is the overall spending levels. Aside from former President Obama’s stimulus package in 2009, this is the largest discretionary spending increase in U.S. history. This bill will lead to a one trillion dollar deficit next year. Republicans have railed against deficit spending for years, and now under a unified government we have ignored all our pledges about fiscal responsibility. This is unacceptable, unsustainable and not what the voters in Iowa sent me to Washington to do. That is why I joined 166 of my colleagues to vote NO on the omnibus bill.
Congressman Rod Blum represents Iowa’s First Congressional District. He is a member of the House Freedom Caucus.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.