The 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Omnibus)

Congress is Addicted to Spending YOUR Money
Congress is Addicted to Spending YOUR Money

The $1.3 trillion 2018 “Omnibus Spending Bill” officially became the “Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) of 2018” when it was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 23, 2018.

Obviously, the passage of the Act avoids a government shutdown, and gets us out of the cycle of endless “Continuing Resolutions Acts” which fund the government for only a few weeks or months at a time.

But the 2018 CAA really only provides funding to run the Federal government for the remainder of fiscal 2018 – until September 30th … only another 6 months – $1.3 trillion for just 6 months.

So just what does $1.3 trillion of YOUR tax dollars buy?  Well the big picture is that defense spending will increase to $80 billion over previously authorized spending levels, while domestic spending will rise $63 billion.  But here’s a breakdown of what else that $1.3 trillion check pays for…

Border wall:

  • Only $1.57 billion for barriers along the U.S. border with Mexico (the Trump administration estimates they need about $20 billion to complete a new and contiguous wall)
    • $251 million is earmarked specifically for “secondary fencing” near San Diego, where fencing is already in place… so no new, additional barrier at all
    • $445 million is for the replacement of existing fencing in that area… again no new, additional barrier
    • The rest is for planning, design and technology — not for wall construction
  • Incredibly, the Dems managed to get this clause written into the CAA; any barriers authorized to be built under the act must be “operationally effective designs” already deployed as of last March, meaning none of the new prototype wall formations being looked at by the Trump administration can be built

Immigration enforcement:

  • Funding was increased for both the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • However, the CAA specifically limits new hiring of ICE agents and mandates that ICE can have no more than 40,354 immigrants in detention as of September 30th of 2018… I’m at a loss to understand how that makes America safer

Countering Russian influence on global politics:

  • $380 million for ‘election security’ grants to states wishing to improve their election processes, which comes after the Senate Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan list of recommendations to states and the federal government to bolster election security
  • Lawmakers also included $100 million for a new “Countering Russian Influence Fund” – not at all clear how that money will be spent, or by whom

Military pay raise:

  • A paltry 2.4 percent pay raise for military personnel, which barely matches the rise in U.S. cost of living increases, and doesn’t come close to compensating for the substandard pay increases (or lack thereof) during the Obama administration
  • $144 billion for new weapons systems and for the long-overdue repair of existing weapons systems which have fallen into severe disrepair, such as our U.S. Navy carrier-based fighter fleet
  • Civilian federal employees – many of whom work for the Department of Defense – get a 1.9 percent pay raise

Internal Revenue Service:

  • Despite the administration’s attempts to cut the IRS’ budget, the CAA provides the agency with $11.4 billion this year – a $196 million increase over 2017

National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS):

  • The NICS is the federally mandated system for determining if prospective firearms or explosives buyers’ name and birth year match those of a person who is not eligible to buy those controlled items
  • The CAA provides additional funding to federal agencies and states that comply with the system; those that do not, will be ‘penalized’… somehow (unclear)

Protection for schools:

  • More than $2 billion to train school officials and law enforcement officers to identify the early signs of potential violence
  • Also pays to install metal detectors

State legalization of Marijuana:

  • A provision in this new spending measure actually BLOCKS the U.S. Department of Justice from spending money to PREVENT states from “implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

The FBI:

  • $9.03 billion for salaries and expenses, a $263 million increase over 2017, and actually $307 million more than the Trump administration requested
  • The FBI also gets $300 million in counterintelligence funding to be used specifically to combat Russian hacking

The Opioid epidemic:

  • $4.6 billion across multiple federal agencies (mostly in the Department of Justice) to help state and local governments tackle the Opioid issue
  • That’s a $3 billion increase over 2017

U.S. Capitol Police:

  • $426 million for the U.S. Capitol Police, $33.2 million more than 2017, and $4.2 million above the actual FY2018 budget request
  • $7.5 million specifically to enhance protection of members of Congress through increased training, equipment and technology-related support items
  • Funding for additional personnel to increase screening and pre-screening efforts
  • See, we can pull out the stops to protect our Congress and President using men with guns, but these same bastards will vote AGAINST average citizens doing the same thing

Public broadcasting:

  • Government funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will remain at $465 million, about the same level as the past several years… so I guess Sesame Street is safe for now

Planned Parenthood:

  • Unbelievably, this corrupt bunch of baby-killers – already proven to be trafficking in the resale of the aborted children they hack out of their mother’s wombs – will continue to receive approximately $500 million in federal funding during 2018… but they promise they won’t use any of that to fund abortions

The Taylor Force Act:

  • Included in the CAA is the enforcement aspect of the Taylor Force Act (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_Force_Act), named after an American tourist who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv on March 8th, 2016 in a stabbing attack in that injured eleven other people
  • Because the Palestinian terrorist died while committing an act of terrorism, the killer’s relatives are paid a monthly pension equal to several times the average monthly Palestinian wage by the Palestinian Authority’s Martyr’s Fund
  • The Taylor Force Act curtails certain economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority and their terrorist leader Mahmoud Abbas, until they stop financially supporting Arab terrorists and their families

The Johnson Amendment:

  • A provision in the CAA will specifically KEEP IN PLACE the federal ban on tax-exempt churches from engaging in political activity, known as the Johnson Amendment
  • The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the U.S. tax code, since 1954, that prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations (that’s nearly all American churches) from endorsing, or opposing, political candidates
  • Conservatives, including President Donald Trump, argue that the Johnson Amendment restricts the free speech rights of churches and other religious groups

The National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) and similar organizations:

  • Federal funding for the NEA actually goes UP, climbing to $152.8 million, a $3 million increase over the last fiscal year… President Trump had proposed eliminating the NEA entirely
  • The NEA is a complete waste of U.S. taxpayer dollars; just a few of the projects the NEA has funded included:
    • $845,000 to support film festivals which showcased movies like “Wawd Ahp,” a short film in which a rapper decapitates himself, then has sex with his own severed head in a bathtub; and “Eczemus,” which uses stop-motion animation to portray a man urinating a stream of blood while pummeling a baby bird to death and watching his dog defecate
    • $495,000 to recreate the smells of a medieval town in a museum
    • Nine grants totaling $280,000 to fund plays promoting LGBTQ lifestyles in 2017 alone
    • One grant gave out $20,000 of U.S. taxpayer dollars for “Piss Christ” a photo of a small plastic crucifix submerged in the artist’s urine
  • The National Gallery of Art gets $165.9 million, a $1.04 million jump in funding
  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will receive $40.5 million, which is $4 million more than the last fiscal year

Other miscellaneous items:

  • An expansion of the low-income housing tax credit (I’m not really clear on how that would require any actual funding)
  • Funding for programs which promote Internet broadband access in rural areas of America
  • More money for Veterans’ Hospitals and Veterans’ Homes… there’s a good thing
  • More money for the National Park Service… there’s another good thing

… and of course, dozens of nice, juicy chunks of pork to bring along any nay-sayers from the GOP and even a few Democrats, like $540 million for a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River in New York – a pet project of Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

So, once again, these line items should make most Liberal Americans happy, at the same time they probably piss off most Conservative Americans.

Why did President Trump sign this wasteful, chock-full-o-pork bill?  Part of the answer is pretty simple.  Congress (both Houses and both parties) had him over a barrel – a pork barrel!  Ya see what I did there?  Election day is fast approaching and the millionaire club that is our Congress needed something to take back home to help them win elections.  The President needs Republicans to win in November, so he can continue to move his agenda forward.

Of course, if President Trump had the audacity to veto this bill, it’s likely that the Congress would have outvoted his veto and proceeded with this spending anyway, and the resulting government shutdown would have been laid out entirely at the President’s feet.

But the subtler and more important reason President Trump signed this crap bill into law is because he knows that the U.S. is very likely headed into a war with North Korea in the very near future.  He’s spent this past year touring our military bases, walking the decks of decaying aircraft carriers, seeing the fleets of military aircraft grounded for lack of spare parts, and listened to his Admirals and Generals tell him of the ruin brought upon our once magnificent military during eight years of abuse and neglect under the Obama administration.

The sad truth is that both Houses and both parties are addicted to spending OUR MONEY just as fast as they possibly can!  Until we get term limits (and there’s no sign of THAT any time soon) that addiction to spending will not change, because it equates directly into campaign financing.

 

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