Friday, December 12, 2014

About the $1.01 trillion spending bill and how the TN U.S. House delegation voted.

Last night the House of Representatives passed a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill that funds the government though September 2015. The vote was 219 to 206.  Tennessee's U.S. House delegation split there vote. "Yes" votes came from Republican Reps. Diane Black, Stephen Fincher, Chuck Fleischmann and Phil Roe.

"No" votes were Republican Reps. Marsha Blackburn, Scott DesJarlais and John Duncan and Tennessee's two Democratic representatives Steve Cohen and Jim Cooper.

The bill passed in the last minutes avoiding a government shut down.  More Democrats voted against the bill than Republicans.  President Obama personally lobbied Democrats to support the bill.  Democrats opposed the bill primarily because of two issues: The bill modified campaign finance laws and allows wealthy donors to increase the amount they may contribute to political parties; and, the second issue was that it reversed a portion of Dood-Frank, removing the prohibition on banks engaging in derivatives trading. 

Republicans who opposed the bill primarily opposed it because it contains $1.2 billion for agencies to deal with the large number of unaccompanied immigrant children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border recently. The spending caps that lawmakers and the White House agreed to last year are adhered to in the bill. The bill funds all of the government except the Department of Homeland Security which has jurisdiction over immigration enforcement. That department is only funded through February. When Congress reconvenes in January, Republicans will control the Senate and have a greater majority in the House and will then take up the funding of that Department.

The way I see it, based on what I know about it at this time, this was a good bill.  No bill is perfect and no one gets everything they want.  Our history with government shut downs is that Republicans usually get the blame.  We were wise to avoid a government shut down. Of course, Congress could have just passed a continuing resolution for a few weeks and then taken up the budget in January. Also the criticism that the bill was hurriedly passed rather than deliberated has merit. On balance however, I think passing the bill was the best course of action.

The bill cuts the EPA and it significantly cuts the IRS and directs the IRS to not engage in targeting organization seeking tax-exempt status based on the ideology of the organization. The money to be spend to deal with the influx of illegal unaccompanied immigrant children is money that will relieve the burden placed on State and local governments due to this influx.  Not funding those services would not have undone the policy of allowing the unaccompanied children into the country. They are here and not going to be sent back, this spending addresses the cost they are imposing on the country.

By passing everything except the Department of Homeland Security, once the Republicans control the congress then they can deal with that issue.  Republicans by voting for this bill denied the President the ability to implement his new amnesty program and it assures that twhen the budget of the Department of Homeland security is taken up that the focus will be on amnesty instead of various other budgetary issues.

For more on this budget issue see these links: here, here, here, and here.

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1 comment:

  1. Tennessee got sold out by four reps.Even the two dems know it stinks.