It's become a pattern: right before Christmas, no which political party happens to be running things, the American people get a gift from Congress: a big, fat spending bill that guarantees to continue the waste and corruption we have all come to know and love.
Last year, when they used a similarly manufactured crisis to pass a similarly massive, bloated CROmnibus, we were told not to worry - Republicans would be fighting for us in 2015. And we all saw how that turned out. Their biggest push, to use the Homeland Security funding bill to deny funding for President Obama's executive amnesty, was a smashing success for about 2.4 seconds, at which point the Democrats called their bluff. They held out just long enough to come up with a good excuse: they would leave it to the courts, where a judge had just put the president's program on hold. You know, the same court system that declared this year that Obamacare's tax wasn't a tax, and that the federal government could set racial quotas in neighborhoods. The courts are unreliable at best, and thanks to Republicans in Congress, we're one judicial activist away from unconstitutional executive amnesty.
This year, it was an especially bitter betrayal for conservatives who, after putting much time and effort into the push to oust former Speaker John Boehner, were given the Boehner treatment by the new Speaker, Congressman Paul Ryan. Ryan was Boehner's hand-picked choice, albeit his second choice after Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who also gave his vote and full-throated endorsement of yet another wasteful CROmnibus bill.
While Republicans give their base a giant, hairy-knuckled middle finger yet again, they are trying to save face by offering a variety of excuses.
One of the first to be bandied about was that this 2000+ page monstrosity was already in process when Paul Ryan became Speaker...which, of course, explains exactly
why the bill was released in the middle of a GOP primary debate, only two days before it was set for a vote - you know, the same kind of shenanigans that stoked so much opposition to John Boehner that he resigned just as momentum was gaining to throw him out.
For the party that is supposed
to be pushing for responsible government, "it was already in process" is no excuse for $1.1 TRILLION
in spending. For the party that is supposed to be for small government, that alone makes this bill a huge loss.
But Ryan, McCarthy, and others who had the gall to vote for this bill have also defended it by saying that Republicans did win some victories...as long as you don't look too closely. They claimed to have cut funding to the EPA, but a closer look
shows that it wasn't a real
cut, they just kept spending at the same level. This is the agency that has faced zero consequences for its role in causing one of the largest toxic waste spills in US history, and they are using their self-investigation to try and avoid any blame. What makes this even worse is that this CROmnibus bill gives Congressional approval to the EPA's new expanded "Waters of the United States" rules, a massive power grab that basically gives the EPA regulatory authority over all water in the US. The bill also gives the go-ahead for President Obama's "Clean Power Plan," part of his agenda to shut down the coal industry and make electricity more expensive.
The bill also includes over a billion dollars in wind and solar subsidies, which over the years have proven to be a great way for political cronies to make money, though when it comes to actually generating electricity, they leave much to be desired.
And as if that wasn't enough, the bill also includes massive donations to the UN "Green Climate Fund," a slush fund we're supposed to pay into to salve the environmentalists' guilty consciences. Definitely a conservative win.
The "compromise?" They managed to lift a 40-year-old ban on oil exports.
On top of all of this, they did nothing to curtail President Obama's risky refugee policies, they did nothing to cut off government funding to the baby-killing profiteers of Planned Parenthood, and they expanded the H-2B visa program, which companies have been using to import cheap labor from overseas.
So in the final analysis, Republicans in Congress managed to grow the size and scope of the federal government, increased risks to America's national and economic security, and did nothing to fight for conservative values, and they expect us to be happy about it. And just like last year, we're supposed to believe that they'll be fighting for us next year.
Is this really how Republicans define victory? If so, I'd hate to see what defeat looks like.