We hoped we were witnessing yet another example of the “Art of the Deal”, but by President Trump’s signing of the Omnibus bill, he prodded the usual suspects on Capitol Hill to reveal their hand of fiscal theft from the American taxpayer.
President Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill into law on Friday, avoiding a government shutdown that had suddenly become a possibility when the president vented angrily on Twitter about his frustration with the bipartisan legislation. The president abruptly backed down from his threat to veto the spending bill in a head-spinning four hours at the White House that left both political parties in Washington reeling and his own aides bewildered about Mr. Trump’s contradictory actions.
Speaking at the White House, Mr. Trump said the spending bill was important for increasing military spending. “As a matter of national security I have signed this omnibus budget bill,” he said
— New York Times, 3/23/18
Over the years, we’ve heard from many people, who were loyal Democrats, work hard to improve their economic status, just to be stunned when they received a tax bill from the IRS. At that moment, some of those people not only began to reevaluate their political allegiance but also question where their hard-earned tax dollars were going.
So-called rapper Cardi B had such a moment of question.
Instead of posting video on Instagram, Cardi B should have followed the Twitter feed of Senator Rand Paul who spend of of Thursday evening doing what almost every one of the Capitol Hill declined failed to do before they headed off on break: read the bill.
On page 207. 2000+ pages to go! Reading about the ever wasteful $6 billion National Science Foundation.
Remember the $350,000 NSF spent asking if Japanese quail are more sexually promiscuous on cocaine?
Page 278. (1954 to go!) $961 million to destroy our chemical weapons. Who was it, exactly, who convinced our government to pay billions to develop weapons we now find deplorable?
Page 281 of “crumni-bus”. CIA retirement funding. Wouldn’t it be great to amend out the retirement benefits of Trump hater John Brennan and Congressional dissembler James Clapper?
Here are a few more highlights:
$1m for the Cultural Antiquities Task Force
$6.25m for the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation
$20m for Countering Foreign State Propaganda
$12m for Countering State Disinformation and Pressure
$5m for Vietnam Education Foundation Grants
$2.579m for Commission on Security and Co-operation in Europe
$15m to USAID for promoting international higher education between universities
$2.696bn for International Disaster Assistance
$1.371bn for Contributions to International Organizations
$51m to promote International Family Planning and Reproductive Health
$7m promoting International Conservation
$10m for UN Environmental Programs
$1m for the World Meteorological Organization
$218m for Promoting Democracy Development in Europe (yep… the birthplace of democracy needs promoting)
$25m for International Religious Freedom
$10m for disadvantaged Egyptian Students
$12m for Scholarships for Lebanon
$20m for Middle East Partnership Initiative Scholarship Program
$12m in military funding for Vietnam
$3.5m in nutrition assistance to Laos
$15m in Developmental assistance to China
$10m for Women LEOs (Leveraging Economic Opportunities) in Afghanistan
Page 357. Sec. 8116 no funds can be used in Iraq in contravention of the War Powers Act. Sounds good but… haven’t we been back in Iraq at war against new foes without any new congressional authorization?
Page 348 of terrible, rotten, no-good budget busting bill, a nugget that I wish we obeyed Sec. 8103: None of the funds may be used in contravention of the War Powers Act
Page 365: Overseas contingency operations. aka military slush fund that circumvents budget caps. All told, we’ve spent over a trillion dollars in this budget busting category.
Page 376 of terrible, rotten, no-good budget busting bill: I found it! I found it! Border security, what President Trump wanted! No… wait a minute, section says Defense can spend what funds it determines to enhance the border security of Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Tunisia.
Page 392 sec 9007: no $ shall be spent? For the permanent stationing of US forces in Afghanistan”. Wonder what they meant by permanent? Some might argue that after 16 years we approaching the definition of permanent.
Page 430 of “crumni-bus:” Good news. The government is going to “earn” $350 million by selling oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Bad news is the $ won’t go to reduce the $21 trillion debt. The $ will be instead be spent elsewhere by the Federal government.
Page 447: a little over $30 billion for Dept of Energy. Wonder if anyone would notice if we had no Dept of Energy
Page 485: No $ used by the IRS to target citizens for exercising 1st amendment rights. Do you think Lois Lerner knew about this part of the law before she targeted Tea Party groups?
Page 550: $9 billion for Govt Services Admin that oversees federal properties. Fed government spends $1.7 billion a year to maintain 770,000 empty buildings while continuing to buy new properties. General Services Administration database of properties for sale is not available to public, Congress or other federal agencies. Govt Accountability Office says govt continues to hold more property than it needs.
Page 580: Post Office gets $58 million but only if it promises not to close down small, underutilized, money-losing post offices.
Page 587: No $ for the President to request FBI background report on any individual. If we had amendments, this would be a good place to add no $ for partisan hacks in the Intel community to unmask any American without a judicial warrant.
Page 594 sec 626: No $ to require disclosure of content of an electronic communication. Good amendment here. It would be to also protect forced disclosure of metadata, ie phone #’s and identities of the phone callers.
I shared 600 pages tonight. I’m done tweeting them for the evening. If they insist on voting, I will vote no because it spends to much and there’s just too little time to read the bill and let everyone know what’s actually in it.
— Senator Rand Paul, Twitter, 3/22/18
Think tanks and monies shoveled to education and nonprofits who, again, have missions that are seldom met because they never can get enough of the taxpayer’s money. But those within normally live quite well. All one need do is observe the physical girth of employees and activists with their hands out.
The National Endowment for the Humanities, took a different approach, and for fiscal 2019 asked for only $42 million (a cut of more than $100 million) for its “orderly closure.”
The National Endowment for the Arts, whose budget traditionally aligns with that of the National Endowment for the Humanities, will get $152,849,000 while the NEH would get the slightly lower $152,848,000. The amounts represent more than a $7 million increase for each endowment.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which partially funds the Public Broadcasting Service and NPR, will be fully funded at $445 million for both fiscal 2018 and 2019.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services will receive $240 million, a hike of $9 million.
The Inter-American Foundation, created in 1969 to give grants that channel development assistance in Latin America and the Caribbean, will get $22.5 million through Sept. 30, 2019.
The United States Institute of Peace, which works with nongovernmental parties in conflict zones, will receive $37,884,000 through Sept. 30, 2019, the same as last fiscal year.
The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, created in 1987 to coordinate between 19 agencies to reduce homelessness, will receive $3.6 million, the same amount it got in 2017.
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, which calls itself “the nation’s key nonpartisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and policy dialogue,” will receive $12 million through Sept. 30, 2019, a $2 million raise from last year’s level.
— Government Executive, 3/22/18
While strengthening the military is a long overdue goal, with all of the American citizens, homeless and veterans in need of the slightest of boosts to get their lives on track, it’s the fat-and-happy in the government #swamp, the bloated contractors, and the academic/nonprofit activist-class who are taken care of first… again.