Earlier this week, the Senate voted to advance an omnibus spending bill. Sprawling 4,155 pages, the legislation contains some $1.7 trillion worth of expenditures.
The bill has encountered significant criticism, with one high-level Republican saying that it’s a prime example of what needs to change on Capitol Hill.
Congressman opposes bills “that nobody can read”
Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise is expected to take over the position of House Majority Leader in January, and according to Breitbart, he recently laid out a plan for reforming the way bills are written.
“One of the things we’ve talked about is actually changing the way the entire appropriations process works,” Breitbart quoted Scalise as telling Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday.
“And as majority leader, I’ve already laid out a schedule, working with [Texas Republican] Rep. Kay Granger, who’s going to be Chair of the Appropriations Committee, so that we can actually pass all of the bills through the House before summer, get them over to the Senate,” he explained
“But we need to lay down a marker early that the Senate has to do their job and not wait until the midnight hour,” Scalise insisted.
“This has become a problem that’s gone on for years now, where the Senate waits until September 30, they just do [continuing resolution] after [continuing resolution], short-term funding bills because they know they can wait until Christmas Eve, throw something together in this big omnibus bill where they have everything under the sun that nobody can read.
“We have to change that way of doing business and we have to lay that marker down early,” the Louisiana lawmaker went on to declare.
Wall Street Journal columnist says bill is the “ugliest” she’s ever seen
Scalise is far from being alone in criticizing the omnibus bill’s incredible size and unwieldiness, as Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel attacked it in a series of tweets on Tuesday.
“This ‘omnibus’ is one of the ugliest, least transparent bits of lawmaking I’ve ever seen–and that’s saying something,” Strassel complained.
“It isn’t just the spending, though the new domestic numbers are gross, given the trillions spent in the past few years,” she added.
“It’s also that Congress, in a new trick, is attaching dozens of pieces of stand-alone legislation to this–retirement changes; public lands management; healthcare policy; cosmetics regulation; electoral count act changes; horseracing rules,” she continued.
Strassel argued that each of these provisions “deserves a full debate and a roll call vote, so that Americans can see where their representatives stand.”
“Instead, this monstrosity is cooked in a back room, and members can claim they had no choice but to vote against a shutdown–ducking accountability.”