Sessions To Oppose 11th Hour ‘Omnibus’; Cites Billions In Gimmicks
“House Republicans have worked vigilantly all year to change our debt course, and produced a budget to do exactly that. The great shame is that they never had willing partners in President Obama and his Democrat-led Senate."
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement today prior to a vote on the ‘omnibus’ package containing nine appropriations bills for fiscal year 2012:
“Once again, we find ourselves racing towards an 11th hour, panic-driven vote with no time to debate, review, or amend an enormous spending bill. It is a sad commentary on Washington that legislation to fund much of our government for the entire year will spend mere hours on the Senate floor. The American people have a right to know how we are spending their dollars, and senators need to know what they are voting on.
So, how did we get here?
It began with a decision by the Democrat-led Senate not to present a budget plan for the second straight year. Almost 1,000 days have passed since Senate Democrats have offered a budget. Under normal circumstances, this would be distressing. But in a time of crisis, it’s dangerous.
Beyond my concerns over the last-minute vote, there are several important reasons why I have decided to oppose the spending bill in its current form. Rhetorically, leaders in Washington have made a commitment to reduce spending. But, if the offsets do not pass—and I fear Senate Democrats will oppose them—Congress will actually end up increasing discretionary spending by $4 billion over last year. Even if the offsets do pass, due to previous discretionary appropriations, Congress will still fall short of the $7 billion discretionary reduction that was promised as part of the budget deal this summer—spending $2 billion more than the $1,043 cap identified as the maximum spending level.
Budget gimmicks have also been used that effectively hide the bill’s true cost. By using changes in mandatory spending that create the appearance of reductions—but really just delaying spending to a later time—the omnibus artificially lowers its price tag by more than $17 billion dollars. Congress used this trick to achieve the same artificial reduction last year. I introduced the Honest Budget Act to put a stop to exactly this sort of Washington accounting.
With a Greece-like debt crisis threatening this nation, especially the middle class, controlling spending must be an urgent national priority. House Republicans have worked vigilantly all year to change our debt course, and produced a budget to do exactly that. The great shame is that they never had willing partners in President Obama and his Democrat-led Senate.”
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