Kudos to Rand Paul for actually reading the omnibus spending bill and communicating with the American public about its ugly, ugly contents. Some of the pork spending Rand highlights include:
- $12M for scholarships to 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 in Afghanistan
- $10M for disadvantaged Egyptian students
- $1.37B (that’s BILLION) for contributions to International Organizations
- $51M to promote International Family Planning and Reproductive Health
- $7M promoting International Conservation
- $10M for UN Environmental Programs
- $5M for Vietnam Educational Foundation Grants
- $2.579M for committees on Security and Co-operation in Europe
- $500M to Jordan for a border wall (another source reported)
- $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
- $15M to USAID for promoting international higher education between universities
- $2.696B for International Disaster Assistance
(taken from his tweets)
Now if I did my rudimentary math right, that’s almost five billion dollars (out of $1.3T) just on those handfuls of examples. These things seriously need to be looked at. How are we giving away billions of dollars to other countries, while our own nation is in over $21 Trillion in debt and there are glaring problems at home?
Apparently there’s also $6 Billion going to the National Science Foundation with ludicrous research projects being funded by our taxpaying money for things like studying if Japanese quail are more sexually promiscuous if they’re on cocaine. See a great highlight of more ridiculousness here.
It took well over two hours for Rand’s office to print the 2,232 page Omnibus spending bill. Rand was photographed holding the 4-5 ream document and said, “Well here it is, all 2,232 budget-busting pages. The House already started votes on it. The Senate is expected to soon. No one has read it. Congress is broken…”
Rand was good at keeping interested citizens in the loop when he tweeted nuggets like: “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”
Or this one: “eyes getting tired but really someone should read this beast. 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.”
And would we even know such details if Rand hadn’t pointed them out: “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.”
Well you can see his whole strand of Tweet updates as he waded through the massive bill here.
A decent overview of the bill can be read here.
We need to keep in mind this was a spending bill to get us through the fiscal year, and it expires September 30, 2018. Trump was adamant in declaring he would not be signing another bill like this in the future. He expressed disgust with much of the bill, and that his primary motive was to keep the military funded. (Incidentally, active duty received a 2.4% pay increase.)
Opponents of the bill argue that it practically gave the Democrats everything they wanted. Conservative opponents were furious Planned Parenthood was not defunded, and yet one Congressman’s office explained to me that the automatic renewal for PP was removed in this bill, which enables the renewal to be at the discretion of the President. If that is correct, that is good news indeed and may end up being a significant victory for those in support of life and babies. I still need to follow up on that and see if it’s accurate.
I spent the afternoon on the phone calling my senators and congressmen to ask them a few questions about this bill and their support of it. I was able to reach one of my two senators, and half of my congressmen’s offices. One of my senator’s phone numbers did not work.
I asked three questions of each office I spoke with:
- Has my representative read the 2,232 page bill?
- Why did he/she vote in support of it?
- Why does he/she think this bill is productive and beneficial to America and Americans?
By the time I hung up, I was pleased that each office that spoke with me was knowledgeable enough about the bill, and why my representatives endorsed it. None of my representatives/senators had actually read the bill. They had their staff break it up and read it, and report to them. I did not actually speak to any of my senators or representatives in person, and so was at the mercy of their aide’s knowledge. This means no one could tell me how much of the bill my senator or representative had actually read him/herself.
My representative’s aides were actually the most helpful. They were able to explain my representative’s disappointments and displeasures with the bill. My senator’s aide was less helpful, explaining that twenty staffers separated the bill in about hundred page segments, but he had no knowledge if my senator actually read any of the bill himself.
What I came away with was my representatives voted in support of the bill in an effort to regulate the budget, and keep the military from additional delays in pay. They each felt making sure the military was taken care of was of utmost priority. They then each had specific examples of things in the bill that benefited the constituents of our state. There were things like rural housing assistance, rural broadband, and school safety measures they felt strongly about. The “Grain Glitch” was also a big issue for our region.
Contact your representatives and senators. Engage in a conversation with them and let them know your concerns. The next Omnibus spending bill should begin to be drafted in May/June. Trump has already said there wouldn’t be a repeat of this one (from his account). Hold them each accountable. Mid-term elections occur this fall. We need our state representatives to represent us, our interests, the interests of our regions, and the interests of our nation.
If our representatives had voted against the Omnibus bill, it would have been sent back for changes. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SENT BACK. Each vote for that spending bill was a cowardly compromise. One way or another we have to get the message to our representatives that we need to take care of the needs of our nation before other nations, and it cannot be at the cost of Americans. Politics need to stop pandering to the politicians and instead begin serving the American people. As Rand lamented, “Congress is broken.”
The reason this Omnibus spending bill is still good news, is it’s up to the discretion of the President how to appropriate the funds. It means he has been given some general guidelines, but there’s no one to enforce the general instructions. Only an approved Budget (per the US Constitution) has to be followed to the letter. If you need examples, look at eight years under BO, with no budget and only spending bills. You’ll see he pretty much did what he wanted.
This spending bill can (and may) mean that he can take that $80 Billion for defense spending and hire the Army Corp of Engineers to build a border wall. It can (and may) mean he can take part of that $80 billion and pull up to active duty enough military to arrest, detain and try treasonous criminals of the state (think HRC, EH, BHO) at Gitmo in military tribunals. Because it’s an omnibus “spending” bill and not a budget, there is considerable gray area and flexibility to be used at his discretion. This can (and will) actually be a good thing for US patriots.
In the meantime, it gives citizen patriots the time to pressure State Representatives and Senators to actually represent their districts in a manner that honors their Constitutional Oath. So begin the process of voicing your concerns to your state reps, and finding replacements worthy of the call if they should be replaced this mid-term election. Continue your support and prayers for truth and integrity to come forth and the light to displace the darkness. We’re still winning.
© 2018 Ms. Smallback – All Rights Reserved
E-Mail Ms. Smallback: M.Smallback@cox.net