Liberals Unleash Lame Duck Power Grab

I’m sure it wasn’t their intention, but big-spending Democrats proved this author right today. Senator Harry Reid and his fellow liberals have unveiled a massive spend-fest and power-grab on Capitol Hill. They introduced this $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill during the lame duck session of Congress, which would allow the same representatives the voters just ran out of town on a rail to make all spending decisions for the year 2011. It shows the Left desperate to cling to power and shut down the voters’ will at all costs — just as this author forecast.

The bill, which is nearly-2,000-page long, legislates $1.1 trillion in “discretionary spending.” The bill includes $1.25 billion funding for ObamaCare, a key provision of which a federal judge has declared unconstitutional and which the voters clearly repudiated in November. The bill is so irresponsible that it spends more money than Barack Obama requested on some programs.

This budget-buster includes at least $8 billion in earmarks for special interests back home. According to Politico, among the almost 6,600 pet projects Democrats shoehorned into the bill is $8 million for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate. (The Heritage Foundation reports the amount as $500,000; however, one dollar is too much to commemorate the Senate’s most notorious AAA member.) Heritage reports that just a few of its other earmarks include such vital measures as:

  • $200,000 to install solar panels at the Community Food Bank, Inc., in Arizona;
  • $700,000 to reconstruct Norwood Drive in Pennsylvania;
  • $500,000 for Denver Bike Sharing;
  • 100,000 for the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Transportation Museum in Columbus, Mississippi;
  • $3.5 million to research Formosan Subterranean Termites in New Orleans;
  • $1 million for peanut research in Athens and Tifton, Georgia;
  • $500,000 for oyster safety in Florida;
  • $600,000 for the Lewis and Clark Legacy Trail in North Dakota;
  • $750,000 for the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Project in California;
  • $125,000 to develop a walking trail in Mississippi.

Despite the fiscal irresponsibility and utter shamelessness of this bill, some RINOs are considering voting for it. Lame duck Republicans Bob Bennett — trounced by a Tea Party candidate specifically because of actions like this — has said it is “my intention” to vote for the bill. Ohio’s George Voinovich, retiring but not soon enough, may do the same, as may Susan Collins.

The massive spending on unpopular programs, unleashed just as Congress was about to adjourn for the Christmas holiday, has brought familiar Republican cries that “The Democrats just don’t get it.” Arizona Republican Rep. Jeff Flake said: “This omnibus was written as if the election in November never happened. Voters explicitly rejected runaway spending. Congress clearly didn’t get the message. If President Obama did, he will veto this bill.”

On the contrary, Obama got the message — and that is exactly why he and his party’s leadership are shoving this bill through.

This bill will keep the new and overwhelmingly Republican Congress, elected by pledging to cut spending and reduce federal bureaucracy, from having any voice in the budget process for a full year. It locks in Obama’s massive spending hikes for a year, increasing the already bloated “discretionary” budget. It allows Obama and his free-spending minions to charge all their priorities. And in 2012, when Tea Party favorites seek re-election, it allows Democrats to say, “The budget for 2011, the first year the new Congress was in session, was higher than under Speaker Pelosi.” The Democrats get their priorities in the most thuggish manner, and the Republicans will be saddled with the blame for a budget they never had the opportunity to vote on.

Congressional liberals are following the path I forecast they would: running roughshod over the people’s will and forcing as many left-wing policies on the nation as possible. I wrote: “Look for an aggressive agenda in the lame duck session of Congress, focused especially on passing the DREAM Act and repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’” Harry Reid has promised to keep the lame suck session going until January, if necessary, to push these measures, the budget, and the START Treaty through Congress.

As I noted, this will not end after January. Next year, look for a spike in federal regulatory activity by the EPA and other agencies, and for Obama to rule by executive order.

The good news is the Republican Congress will be in a position to deny Obama’s ability to achieve at least some of his agenda through legal means. The better news is the American people are clearly behind them. The bad news is, as long as his hands are on the levers of power, the nation will never be safe from unconstitutional power grabs and assaults.

Trust me: I predicted it.