To the 18 Republican Senators Who Voted for the $1.7 Trillion Omnibus: ‘We Haven’t Forgotten’
As some of you know, I’m often quick to pounce on the Democrats, but I never want to get so ideological that I’m “blinded” to Republicans’ wrongdoings. On Monday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), who had become one of my favorite senators the last few years, tweeted this about the crisis in the banking industry: “It was Joe Biden’s reckless spending that created runaway inflation, which led to higher interest rates, which put the squeeze on banks like Silicon Valley Bank.”
“Reckless spending”? Senator, you, along with 17 other Republicans, voted for the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package on December 22, only 12 days before Republicans would regain leadership of the House. Twelve days! That’s less time than most public schools’ Christmas breaks. A World Series can last almost that long with travel days.
Senator, why did you feel such a need to vote for a 4,155 page bill (which I would bet a dollar to a donut you never read) that would be rubber stamped by Nancy Pelosi with absolutely no restraints on waste when in just 288 hours checks and balances would be in place?
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On March 18, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), who also voted for the omnibus bill, tweeted, “In New York City, a $100,000 Salary Feels Like $36,000.” Yep, that’s what happens when you print too much money, Senator. And virtually every economic expert worth their salt warned you that this would happen.
The Pork Barrel
The 4,155 page bill, which was dropped at 1:30 AM just days before a government shutdown, contained $772.5 billion of non-defense “discretionary spending,” which far too often means “pork.” There were earmarks for 3,200 projects at a time when we’re $32 trillion in debt. Here are a few of those pet projects:
- $575 million for “family planning” or “reproductive health.” We all know that’s code for killing more babies.
- $410 million for tighter security for Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Oman. I wish I could put a laughing emoji right here! Seriously? At a time when our own border is completely open? And it’s worse than that; we’ve given it over to the drug and human trafficking cartels. What’s even more ridiculous is that $339 million goes to our Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the funds are prohibited from being used to “acquire, maintain, or extend border security technology and capabilities.” You really can’t make this stuff up. We are paying $410 million to improve five other countries’ security, while the $339 million for our own customs agency specifically states that it cannot be used to improve our border security.
- $100 million for a bridge in Alabama and $60 million for Lisa Murkowski’s 19 earmarks in Alaska. Sorry, East Palestine, Ohio.
- $65 million for Pacific salmon restoration. I love grilled salmon, but why is the government picking winners and losers? Between the environmentalists and animal rights groups, the government seems to be trying to destroy the American beef cattle industry.
- $11 million is allotted for LGBT-themed projects.
- $3.6 million for a “Michelle Obama Hiking Trail” in Georgia.
- $3 million for a “Universal Hip-Hop Museum” in the Bronx.
- $2.3 million to attempt to cancel student loan debt.
- $956,000 for the “Equity Incubator” at The Universities at Shady Grove. The university’s website says, “We invite individuals who identify with a gender, racial/ethnic, or other identity which, historically, has not been dominant in receiving entrepreneurship support.” In other words, they will choose the individuals they help based on the color of their skin and/or gender.
- $791,000 for California’s “Equitable Energy Resilience and EV infrastructure.” If EVs are so good, why can’t they snag enough of the market share on their own?
The bill also renames a federal building in San Francisco after Nancy Pelosi. God knows, that couldn’t have waited 12 days.
Now look, I realize there are times that lawmakers have to sign a bill “with a gun held to their head” for the greater good. I also understand that sometimes in tough negotiations, you have to meet somewhere in the middle.
Caution: RINO Crossing
But the infuriating thing about the Republicans signing on to this omnibus bill is the timing of it. The fact that Senators Cotton, Cornyn, and the rest of them couldn’t wait 12 days, until the Republicans were in a much stronger position to negotiate, shows their true colors. And I’m getting tired of these Republicans who won’t stand up for what’s right because at this point in time the Democrats do not. And that could change, but right now, in my view, the Republicans are supposed to be the responsible adults in the room.
And don’t tell me, “Oh my! The government would be shut down and the sky would fall.” The government has been shut down before … 21 days in 1995-1996, 16 days in 2013, and 35 days in 2018-2019. And the sky didn’t fall.
We need to put a stop to bills in Congress that are thousands of pages with only a few days to read them. There should be a limit to the number of words in any single bill with a minimum of some period of time — maybe 30 days — to read them.
There’s an old Turkish proverb that goes like this: “The forest was shrinking but the trees kept voting for the axe, for the axe was clever and convinced the trees that because his handle was made of wood he was one of them.”
Just because a person in Congress has an “R” at the end of their name doesn’t necessarily mean anything. For some of them, it’s nothing more than a “wooden handle.” We better pay more attention to what they are doing with that sharp, metal edge of the head, and if they are cutting us down, we need to vote them out.
Nolan Lewallen is a retired pilot of a major airline and lives near Stephenville, Texas, with his wife, Kim. Nolan’s two greatest passions are the Bible and politics. His latest book, The Integration of Church & State: How We Transform “In God We Trust” From Motto to Reality, brings the two together.