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January 10, 2019 Vote Notes on Legislation
This bill funds Interior and related agencies through the end of the fiscal year. Setting aside the current impasse over border security, the bill is ill-advised on its merits. It plusses up almost every request made by the administration, with the notable exception of PILT funding that compensates rural communities that are slammed by excessive federal ownership of land in their jurisdictions. It reduces funds approved by the Republican House last year for hazardous fuels reduction, national park maintenance, and water infrastructure...
Setting aside the impasse over funding border security, this bill is also ill-advised on its merits. This bill increases funding for the 1930’s era farm subsidies that have squandered billions of taxpayer dollars to inflate consumer prices ($40+ billion), jeopardized taxpayer money in risky high-risk housing markets where lenders fear to tread ($25 billion), doles out almost $2 billion for international food hand-outs, continues the food stamp program with no serious attempt to remove the disincentives to work that the program creates ($73 billion), and continues us on the spending trajectory established by the BBA. But once again, they couldn’t find $5.7 billion for a secure border wall.
Setting aside the impasse over funding border security, this bill is ill-advised on its merits. It continues to drain $9.9 billion of motorists’ taxes paid at the pump away from highways in favor of mass transit subsidies, continues to fund absurdly wasteful programs such as subsidized air service ($155 million), money-losing Amtrak routes ($1.9 billion), local grant programs which have been used to fund such nonsense as “Doggy Day Care” centers ($3.4 billion), and massive housing subsidies to ameliorate the affordability crisis caused by government restrictions and mandates on home construction ($30+ billion). But they couldn’t find any money for a border wall. Worst of all, it continues the irresponsible spending trajectory established by the so-called BBA (formally the “Bi-Partisan Budget Act” but more accurately the “Budget Busting Act”) that is quickly leading us to trillion-dollar annual deficits despite increased tax revenues.
H. Res. 6 - House Rules: NO. This measure paves the way for a spending spree at a time the federal government is approaching $22 trillion of debt and trillion-dollar annual deficits. It takes the required 3/5 vote for tax increases to a simple majority, in effect declaring open season on American taxpayers. It automatically suspends the debt limit upon adoption of a budget, essentially removing any constraint on deficit spending. It modifies the current PAYGO rule to constrain the administration’s ability to administratively reduce spending. It makes a few improvements, such as requiring text of a bill to be available 72 hours prior to votes, but these are dwarfed by opening the floodgates on massive tax and spending increases.