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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Paul Ryan, Establishment: Complicit

By Douglas V. Gibbs

No more Boehner.  Now the gavel is in Paul Ryan's hand, and nothing has changed.

The Heritage Foundation warned us about the new omnibus spending bill.

The conservative organization said that "The bill should have been an opportunity for conservatives to reassert their prerogatives on a host of important issues, ranging from appropriate spending levels to substantive action on refugee resettlement, executive amnesty, Planned Parenthood, and many more. Last year, one Republican leader explained a Republican-controlled appropriations process would “have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy” and that this would be “something [Obama] he won’t like, but that will be done.” Unfortunately, the omnibus spending bill falls far short of achieving substantive policy victories on the issues Americans care about."

They went on to say, "...The bill fails to achieve significant conservative policy victories.  It appears to deliver substantial liberal priorities, including a two-year delay of Obamacare’s Cadillac tax...
The omnibus will also boost ineffective early childhood education programs. It includes a $570 million increase in Head Start funding, which even HHS’s own studies prove are ineffective. The bill also increases funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant by $326 million."

Heritage Foundation claims important conservative provisions were left out of the spending bill, while funding Democrat pet projects.  It does not stop funding for the Climate Change hoax, does not include a funding prohibition to prevent the FCC from implementing net neutrality, does not include a funding prohibition to prevent the DOL from implementing new standards for investment advice for retirement accounts, does not include a funding prohibition to prevent new NLRB joint-employer standards, does not include any provisions prohibiting the President from moving forward with his federal takeover of the electricity system, and Planned Parenthood funding will continue even though 151 House Republicans opposed the previous funding bill.

According to Heritage Foundation, this omnibus will spend at least significantly more than last year’s bill and well above the previously established budget caps, using provisions to essentially make it a non-security slush fund.

On top of that, the last minute unveiling of the bill was so that the public doesn't have time to review the bill.  Conservative concerns were ignored as the closed-door, dual-track negotiations created omnibus and the tax extenders, but no time was available for a conservative response. The 233-page tax extenders package and 2,009-page omnibus were unveiled late Tuesday evening and earlier Wednesday morning, respectively, giving lawmakers little time to decipher the policy implications of both bills.

The constitutional implications are that once again the Article I, Section 7 "Power of the Purse" powers were left along the roadside.  The Article I, Section 1 "All Legislative Powers Shall be Vested in a Congress" authorities are being ignored, and the President is continuing to do as he wishes despite any congressional dissent.  For fear of the consequences of Congress acting upon their constitutional powers, the Republicans in Congress refuse to wield them.  The Republicans are so afraid of being blamed for a government shutdown (that really doesn't fully shutdown the government), they give in at every opportunity.  The omnibus spending bill represented an opportunity for lawmakers to reassert their Article I powers, but it falls far short of achieving substantive policy victories on the issues Americans care about because, in short, we have a Congress full of cowards (or complicit statists).

So, because they are fearful (or complicit), the Republicans are continuing the wheel and deal with the unreasonable Democrats.  The GOP has nothing in common with the leftists, yet continue to make deals for crumbs that never materialize.  The consequence of a government shutdown are waters the Republicans refuse to wade into, because no matter who causes it, the GOP always gets the blame.

Granted, Ryan didn't have much to work with.  The remnants of the Boehner regime remains in place.  Fear, however, is the primary problem.  The Republicans fear the Democrats, so they refuse to attempt to score the ideological victory the voters put them into office to achieve.

The massive, $2 trillion 2016 omnibus appropriations package funds the government through next September - expiring just in time for the final fight before the Presidential Election in November.  The Republicans, with that timing, might as well give the Democrats the election.  This bill is favorable to Democrats, with all of the spending, and to try to buck it in September for renewal will only fuel the leftist propaganda machine during those final months before the election for the White House.

The inclusion of a cyber-security provision has a number of Congressmen sparring, some saying cyber-security should be in its own stand-alone bill, others arguing this is much needed, and others saying the broad powers introduced will further allow government intrusion into citizen privacy.

This bill increases the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars, it meets Obama's priorities, throws money into the man-made climate change hoax, fails to defund or even reduce the funding of Planned Parenthood, helps Obamacare dig in deeper, and sells out the American Voter.  This is why characters like Trump are doing so well.  Conservatives gave the Republicans the majority, but they still refuse to have the guts to change the culture in Washington, or to stand up to the liberal left Democrats.  Trump is being seen as the "anti-establishment Republican," or the "non-politician Republican," while the reality of the situation remains that questions if Trump is even a Republican in the first place.

In the end, this appropriations bill is an attempt to give all of the politicians a piece of the pie, funding everyone's pet projects, and allow them to bring home the bacon.  In other words, we could easily call this the "help the incumbents out as we enter into election season" bill.

The Democrats did give the Republicans one "big get" so that the rest of the bill could favor the Left's other personal pet projects.  Inside this omnibus bill is a lift on the longtime ban of crude oil exports.  In return, the Democrats got multi-year extensions of critical tax credits for solar and wind energy production, the elimination of a rider that could have blocked the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed “waters of the United States,” riders blocking proposed regulations of power plants were cut out, and the U.S. government’s contributions to the international Green Climate Fund will continue, a crucial component of the Paris climate agreement.

The financial services industry loses their connection with Congress, designating fewer financial institutions as “systemically important.”  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will maintain its independence from congressional appropriations, protecting it from defunding, of which the Republicans have been seeking.

The Zadroga Act, a health care and compensation fund for 9/11 first responders and nearby workers, remains (until 2090).  The Act is fine, but the expiration date seems a little ridiculous.

Conservatives lost restricting Syrian and Iraqi refugee resettlement, defunding Planned Parenthood, or blocking President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.  These items will likely reappear in stand-alone bills.

Existing Tax Breaks and Credits, making both sides happy depending upon which tax item you are talking about, received attention, but no new ones were added.

The good news for Conservatives is that the House Freedom Caucus, at least, is sticking to their word and are not supporting this nasty bill because it doesn't address the Syrian Migrant issue, nor defund Planned Parenthood - while selling out the American Worker with an increase in foreign worker visas.  They are calling this monstrosity the "Boehner Legacy Bill."

To get this bill to pass the House, Paul Ryan will need to recruit Democrat Votes, an action that defies his promise to conservatives, should they support his bid for House Speaker.  He told conservatives he would only push bills with a Republican majority of support.  This bill tells us he lied.

The excuse will be that Ryan had no choice.  He's finishing business that Boehner began.  It's all Boehner's fault.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

The Paul Ryan Compromise - Slate

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