Wonksplainer! Congress Unveils Spending Bill That Will Probably Screw You Over Somehow
Hold on to your hats, gentlemen, and clutch your pearls, ladies, because House and Senate negotiators have come up with a … wait for it… COMPROMISE! After you pick you jaws up from the floor, we shall dig through all the nooks and crannies of this funding agreement, forged deep in the depths of Mt. Doom the Capitol Basement.
There are tons of goodies in there, including a massive increase to embassy security spending because BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI. It was an increase of… let’s see… carry the 4… multiply by the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow… NEGATIVE $224 MILLION. Yep, sure am glad that 8,634 Congressional hearings into embassy security resulted in LESS funding for embassy security. Let’s wonksplore other nuggets found in the bill.
But wait, you say! Before we get started, wasn’t there already a budget agreement, like two weeks ago? Didn’t we have to see Paul Ryan’s boyishly girlish face plastered all over every goddam newspaper and teevee show for like an entire week? Well, yes, there was an agreement on the BUDGET. But Congress has to have both a budget, which sets spending limits, and an entirely separate process where they appropriate the funds line by line. Because otherwise it would be too easy. What was released last night was the second part of that Tennessee Two Step, the Appropriations bill.
Normally there are 12 separate Appropriations bills that move through Congress, which together fund the entire federal government. These bills help divvy up the different parts of the government – from Health and Human Services to Defense to the State Department. However, because Congress sucks harder than Rick Santorum at the Annual Everett Sausage Festival, they usually either dump all the bills into one large bill (called an omnibus) or pass a Continuing Resolution, which basically just continues the current funding levels for all programs.
Now that learning is oozing out of your ears, let’s see who Congress named as winners and losers this year, per the New York Times. First off, the overall spending bill is $1.1 trillion, which is a number so large that it could even make Mitt Romney dance a jig. Winners include:
- Head Start: It would see an increase of $612 million, enough to restore sequestration cuts.
- Obamacare: It will still receive funding, even though $1 billion will be cut from the program’s Prevention and Public Health Fund.
- National Institutes of Health: In the end, NIH will get about $1 billion more than last year.
- The Environment: “Measures to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases and reverse clean water regulations did not survive the final negotiations.” Who needs clean water regulations, amirite? Holla, West Virginia!
- Snail Mail: The bill prohibits the closing of rural post offices, and mandates that Saturday delivery continue.
- High Speed Rail: No funding for VP OHJB’s high-speed rail projects.
- Preschools: No funding will be provided for Dictator Obama’s preschool development grants. Suck it, kiddos.
- Embassy Security: Like we said before, Congress cut embassy security by $224 million, because using the death of Americans overseas is such a good talking point why bother taking action to prevent it from happening again?
- Bank Regulators: Congress is pinching pennies when it comes to the CFTC and SEC, the guys in charge of regulating Wall Street, because what’s the worst that Wall Street can do, amirite? Holla, 2008!
- IRS: The IRS will get $503 million less than last year, with strict instructions to allow any and all conservative groups to ignore all the laws because anything else is SCANDAL-TYRANNY-SOCIALISM run amok.
- Gitmo Inmates: No transferring of prisoners, so they get to keep racking up hotel points at Casa de Gitmo.
Sure, there are probably other winners and losers out there, but we got tired of reading and you people complain about math, so there you have it.
The House and Senate still have to vote on the bill, so be prepared for lots of whining from the far left and far right because the bill gives too many concessions to the right/left/martians, whatever. Soon Congress will be done with this work, and probably take a vacation for 5 weeks or something, which is exactly how it works in the real world when you accomplish one goddam thing.
You can follow DDM on Twitter (@Wonksplainer) for the low low price of $1.1 trillion.