On March 11, 2009, while signing the the $410 billion, 8,500 earmark laden, Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, President Barack Obama said:
This piece of legislation must mark an end to the old way of doing business and the beginning of a new era of responsibility and accountability that the American people have every right to expect and demand. … I expect future spending bills to be debated and voted on in an orderly way, and sent to my desk without delay or obstruction, so that we don’t face another massive, last-minute omnibus bill like this again.
Fast forward to this Tuesday when Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced a 1,924 page, $1.27 trillion omnibus spending bill stuffed with 6,000 earmarks worth $8 billion. If the Senate does not pass a bill by midnight this Saturday, the federal government will shut down. Clearly President Obama has completely failed to bring any change to Washington spending habits.
In contrast, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has just released an alternative that will fund the federal government at current levels through February. It is one page.
This is the first Congress, in the history of the budget process, that failed to even vote on a budget for next year. A responsible Congress would have passed a budget resolution and all the necessary appropriations bills months ago. By failing to even bring a budget resolution to a vote, let alone the actual spending bills, Majority Leader Reid has already proven he is completely irresponsible. He has no legitimate claim to be dictating spending terms to the American people.
The American people thoroughly rejected this Congress’ spendthrift ways at the polls last month. There is no reason this business-as-usual omnibus should be the only spending option. The 111th Congress has forfeited all rights to set spending levels for the next year. A one-page continuing resolution that keeps the government funded at current levels, for a month or two, until the next Congress is sworn in, is the only way to go.