Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Federal Spending Bill is Awful – About the Best That Can Be Said,

It Could Have Been Worse

Congressional negotiators have put the final touches on a compromise spending bill designed to prevent any government shutdown crises until October 2015.  Here are just some of the terrible provisions.

 there's a $1 billion reduction in the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a move Republicans say will keep administration officials from using the money to pay for elements of the health law. The bill also slashes $10 million for the Independent Payment Advisory Board, often referred to by Republicans as the "unelected bureaucrats" or "death panels" that are set to advise government officials on health-care issues.

Yeah, slashing prevention of health care problems and public health spending.  That ought to bode well for the nation’s state of health.

The Department of Homeland Security will take a $336 million cut in funding, with most of the reductions at the Transportation Security Administration. In a victory for Republicans who have sought for years to boost the use of private security contractors, the agreement increases funding for private security screeners and caps TSA's overall screening personnel at 46,000.

Cutting spending on domestic security,  that ought to make everyone feel safer.  And let’s see, trying to go back to private security contractors for airports.  Well private companies were in charge of airport security on September 11, 2001.  How’d that work out?  Republicans strike again, but of course these lawmakers and their lobbyist friends and rich patrons fly on private jets.

there are two big blows for the District. First, there's no language allowing D.C. budget autonomy. Secondly, there's only partial funding to continue building out the Department of Homeland Security's new campus in Anacostia, a project that District leaders consider critical to the revitalization of Southeast.

See Washington votes Democratic, so no need to help them.  Next thing you know Republicans will want to tie up traffic on the Potomac bridges.

Despite concerns for embassy security following the Sept. 12, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, the bill provides $224 million less for embassy security, maintenance and construction costs than in fiscal 2013. The bill bans the construction of a new embassy in London and bars the State Department from closing the chancery at the U.S. embassy at the Holy See and merging it with the one at the U.S. embassy in Rome for security reasons, a project first pushed by George W. Bush's administration.

Oh, Republicans were up in arms over the tragedy at the U. S. embassy in Libya, but not enough to spend money on fixing the problem.  Not a big deal to Republicans, so a few more diplomats die.  It’s not like they were part of the Republican base anyway.

The legislation delays certain premium increases triggered by changes to the FEMA's flood insurance program. It's a big issue of concern for dozens of lawmakers in several areas, who are strongly opposed to changes that were made in a major flood insurance reform bill a few years ago. The language is an especially big victory for Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.) as they continue to face each other in the hotly-contested Louisiana Senate race.

Ah yes, federally subsidized flood insurance for the wealthy vacation homes along the beach.  That is certainly worth while government spending.

But not all is lost,  Here are two parts of the spending program we actually think are beneficial.

The legislation prohibits any funding to require that contractors bidding for federal contracts disclose campaign contributions. The Obama administration has openly flirted with issuing executive orders that would require contractors to provide campaign disclosures. . . .

In a blow to one of the coolest perks of serving in the Cabinet, the legislation bars the use of federal money "for painting portraits."

Yep, even the Democrats and Republicans working together cannot make a total and complete mess, something good does occasionally sneak through.

No comments:

Post a Comment