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The Center Square [By Casey Harper] –
Lawmakers are expected to pass a continuing resolution this week ahead of a Friday deadline to give a few extra days to hammer out the details of a full-year omnibus spending bill.
The continuing resolution would avoid a partial shutdown of the government Friday, likely extend funding the government to nearly Christmas.
Meanwhile, Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced Tuesday that lawmakers had reached “a bipartisan, bicameral framework that should allow us to finish an omnibus appropriations bill that can pass the House and Senate and be signed into law by the President.”
Use of the infamous “omnibus bill” has become a necessary evil for Congress. It is a massive spending bill that combines 12 spending bills into one usually just before a looming shutdown deadline.
The narrow majorities and threat of a shutdown still means anything could happen.
Several Republicans in the House and Senate voiced their opposition to the omnibus deal during news conferences Thursday afternoon and called for a temporary spending bill that holds the government over until Republicans have a majority in the House in January.
“A month ago the American people voted for a new direction in Washington,” said House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
“We’ve got two members leading Appropriations in the Senate who will no longer be here or be able to be held accountable to the constituents,” he added, referring to Leahy and Ranking Appropriations Member, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., both of whom are retiring.
Sens. Rick Scott, R-Florida, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Mike Braun, R-Indiana, signed a letter to Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, Nov. 30 calling for no major spending bill until the next Congress is sworn in.
They argued voters’ most recent election shows they want to reign in Democrats.
“We believe it would be both imprudent, and a reflection of poor leadership, for Republicans to ignore the will of the American people and rubber stamp an omnibus spending bill that funds ten more months of President Biden’s agenda without any check on his reckless policies that have led to a 40-year high in inflation,” the letter said. “Since taking office, President Biden has overseen a $4.8 trillion increase in the national deficit, costing the average American household an estimated $753 more a month. It should be up to the new Congress to set spending priorities for the remainder of this fiscal year.”
Critics have raised the alarm about the potential of even more debt spending. The U.S. national debt surpassed $31 trillion this year as inflation has remained elevated.
“With inflation surging and debt approaching record levels, the last thing we need is more borrowing,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “Policymakers should be judicious about what they put in this package and make sure that any spending increase or tax cut is fully offset so that it doesn’t worsen inflation or add to the debt.”
President Joe Biden has touted getting the federal deficit, which was cut from $2.8 trillion to $1.4 this year after surging amid trillions of taxpayer dollars spent on COVID-relief bills that included funding for an array of non-COVID issues.
“The President’s economic plan is focused on growing our economy from the bottom up and the middle out,” Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said in a statement in October. “Under his leadership, more Americans are working today than at any point in our country’s history, our economy has added more than 10 million jobs, manufacturing is booming, and we cut last year’s deficit in half.”
MacGuineas, though, points out the latest deficit is still much higher than the pre-pandemic levels, when the deficit was less than a trillion dollars.
“It’s time to get back to basics and start adhering to the pay-as-you-go principle – if something is worth doing, it’s worth paying for,” she said. :At a minimum, Congress should be able to make it through the rest of the year…with no new debt.”
About the Author: Casey Harper, The Center Square D.C. Bureau Reporter – email@example.com ~ Harper is a Senior Reporter for the Washington, D.C. Bureau. He previously worked for The Daily Caller, The Hill, and Sinclair Broadcast Group. A graduate of Hillsdale College, Casey’s work has also appeared in Fox News, Fox Business, and USA Today.