No Significant Policy Wins for Conservatives in Massive Omnibus Bill

The House passed the first part of its $1.65 trillion omnibus bill with a $460 billion package on Wednesday to avoid a government shutdown on Friday. The Uniparty strikes again as Republicans fail to use their leverage to include new border security restrictions. At 1,050 pages, the spending bill leaves out pretty much everything Chip Roy (R-TX), and the Freedom Caucus wanted in the bill. The Freedom Caucus is disappointed with more than 6000 earmarks. The Tea Party calls earmarks "the currency of corruption" that ultimately "fuel spending." The bill passed 339-85. 132 Republicans voted yes, and 83 voted no. Only two Democrats voted no on the bill. 

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) tried to pass off the bill as one that has "deep cuts." However, the bill features minor cuts to the EPA, the ATF, and the FBI. Democrats rejected cuts in areas that were important to the conservative base. Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA09), posted a mega-thread (below) detailing all the ways Republicans surrendered to Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and his pals. Clyde's post shows language that could have been in the spending bill had all Republicans voted against the current package. The Uniparty approved funding for illegal aliens, funding for COVID-19 vaccine passports, all kinds of funding for the implementation of gun laws, funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) offices and initiatives, including CRT training in schools and environmental and climate spending, with climate justice grants funded by the EPA.

Chip Roy supplied some helpful visuals on his Twitter feed, stating the "Swamp Omnibus" would mean "more illegals, less freedom." He also exposed the truth behind Johnson's politician-speak. The cuts failed to offset the fact that congressional spending has managed to "blow past bipartisan spending caps enacted last year by $69 billion." According to Roy, that is $30 billion more than Pelosi's spending, which was signed into law less than a year ago. 

In RINO speak, this bill "clears the deck," according to the Swamp Glossary. However, it is more accurately a way to merely kick the can down the road, something Congress has become egregiously good at doing. 

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) exposed the particulars of the CBO numbers or outlays. Massie asserts cuts touted by Johnson and others are nothing more than "gimmicks" that gaslight Americans into believing their fight was strong. His chart for the six areas of appropriation based on CBO numbers is featured below. A breakdown of FY24 Community Project funding can be found here. The six categories addressed in the spending bill are:

  • Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies 
  • Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies
  • Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
  • Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies
  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
  • Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

Hidden Items and "Gimmicks" in Spending Bill

One of the things hidden in the Omnibus is the electronic tracking of cattle. That means "$15 million of electronic identification (EID) tags and related infrastructure needed for stakeholders to comply." Some in the conservative universe worry it will be a way to exert pressure on the beef industry by limiting the number of people who can own a cow, which will most likely result in costly regulations for farmers and cattlemen. Massie also believes that most of Schumer's 170 earmarks "have no federal nexus or constitutional basis." 

Libs of TikTok did yeoman's duty by raking through the bill to find that one of Pennsylvania's Senator John Fetterman's (D-PA) $1 million earmarks was to fund the William Way LGBTQ community center. He says he rescinded it when he realized that taxpayer money would go in part to sex kink fetish parties. 

Fiscal hawk David Ditch with the Heritage agrees with Massie about the gimmicks. Congress used recissions of funding and emergency designations to finagle the spending. These designations allow Congress to make "fake cuts" that do not count against spending limits. Ditch's mega-thread details the miraculous accounting wizardry that substitutes for true fiscal responsibility. 

The Republicans' summary of the Appropriations Bill boasts of a bill that "dramatically reduce[s] the use of off-book resources and budgetary gimmicks," contrary to Massie's and Ditch's claims. The summary also states that spending comes "under the President's request by more than $100 billion." They also claim these are the first "overall cuts to non-defense, non-VA spending in almost a decade." The bill approves "$227,330,000, of which no more than 6 percent shall remain available until September 30, 2025" for the Foreign Agricultural Service. The Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship program falls under the services for foreign agriculture. Borlaug is a global organization focusing on "food security" and other agricultural DEI initiatives. In the same section on p. 166 of the bill, "$1,619,107,000 will remain available until expended for the Food for Peace Act" for commodities abroad.


Will there be Enforcement of Foreign Investments in Agricultural Land?

Foreign investments in U.S. agricultural land are "addressed" to protect national security. The top-line summary states there is improved tracking of foreign-owned land and, the Secretary of Agriculture must review agricultural transactions, and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) must be notified of agricultural land transactions of "national security concern." However, there is no evidence in the document of how the U.S. would follow through or act upon foreign investments in U.S. agricultural land. In fact, a January 18, 2024, GAO report on the matter reveals the USDA does a lousy job of collecting, tracking, and sharing the data on a timely or reliable basis. According to the report, U.S. agricultural land grew to about 43.4 million acres in 2022. I found nothing in the bill to indicate there are or will be robust measures in place to protect American interests from foreign agricultural land investments. In some states, foreign corporations can circumvent the rules preventing them from controlling farmland. Statutory language varies from state to state. 

It looks as though a positive aspect of this spending bill may be that it is supportive of veterans. It "fully funds" veterans' health programs and allegedly protects the 2nd Amendment rights of veterans by requiring a judge's consent before sending information to the FBI about veterans. 

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