CROmnibus: The $1 Trillion Betrayal
Flush from an unprecedented nationwide GOP victory in this November’s elections, House and Senate GOP leadership determined that their essential first course of action should be to snatch defeat from its jaws. They have brought forth a spending bill for 2015 that gives President Obama almost everything he wants, while disenfranchising the very voters who delivered the GOP victory.
The $1.014 trillion Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, (HR 83), has been dubbed “CROmnibus” as it is a combined continuing resolution (CR) and Omnibus spending bill. It will provide full funding for 11 of the 12 annual appropriations bills to the end of FY 2015 (September 30th), and a short term continuing resolution to February 27 for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The 1,603 Page Cromnibus
Speaker Boehner has said he would ensure members a minimum of 72 hours to read legislation. Instead, following former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s innovative “pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it” policy, there will only be a tiny window of no more than 52 hours to read, analyze and vote on a trillion dollar spending bill that is 1,603 pages long. For reference, the Bible (NKJV) is only 1,200 pages. In 2010, incoming Speaker Boehner sang a different tune, “I do not believe that having 2,000-page bills on the House floor serves anyone’s best interests, not the House, not for the members and certainly not for the American people,” he said. But he also said he was going to cut spending…
Well, since this monstrosity went public at around 8:30 Tuesday night, countless eyes have been poring over its provisions to make sure we don’t have to pass it to find out what’s in it. Following are some of the worst:
1. Explanatory Statement
Right from the start, the very first provision indicates this is a new animal:
Sec. 4 Explanatory Statement (P 4.)
The explanatory statement regarding this Act, printed in the House of Representatives section of the Congressional Record on or about December 11, 2014 by the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations of the House, shall have the same effect with respect to the allocation of funds and implementation of divisions A through K of this Act as if it were a joint explanatory statement of a committee of conference.
What it says in plain English is that the appropriations committee chairman will have authority to write in changes to any of the appropriations bills after the bill is passed. Usually this is done by a conference committee before the vote and indicates how and where they would like to see monies spent. This provision could allow the chairman to sneak in something or make other changes after the vote!
2. Executive Amnesty Is Fully Funded
The bill withholds funding for 451 separate activities, but none for executive amnesty. It provides at least $2.5 billion to handle this year’s influx of approximately 252,600 illegals. Most of the programs existed beforehand, but the legislation makes clear that increases have been provided to cover the additional costs:
Health and Human Services: $948 million for HHS’s Unaccompanied Alien Children program, $80 million more than fiscal year 2014, specifically to accommodate the “more than 57,000 children” apprehended in 2014. According to the Democrats, “It will also support legal services for children as they seek safety in the United States from extreme violence and abuse in their home countries.” This mantra is part of the Democrats’ effort to reclassify illegal aliens as “refugees,” a classification they clearly do not warrant. See p. 34 of Democrat bill summary.
Social Security: The following convoluted language actually gives illegals greater access to Social Security. By limiting denials to individuals whose actions have “formed the basis for a conviction…” implicitly everyone else is eligible, including those 4.5 million amnestied illegals:
None of the funds appropriated in this Act shall be expended or obligated by the Commissioner of Social Security, for purposes of administering Social Security benefit payments under title II of the Social Security Act, to process any claim for credit for a quarter of coverage based on work performed under a social security account number that is not the claimant’s number and the performance of such work under such number has formed the basis for a conviction of the claimant of a violation of section 208(a)(6) or (7) of the Social Security Act. (PP. 958-959).
Department of Education: “$14 million for grants to all State educational agencies within States with at least one county where 50 or more unaccompanied children have been released to sponsors since January 1, 2014…” (P. 910) Furthermore, local agencies will be given subgrants for “supplemental academic and non-academic services and supports to immigrant children and youth.”
Department of State: $932 million. Includes a provision to assist Central American countries in improving their border security. (PP. 1303 -- 1306). No funds appear to be allocated specifically to this activity but the Democrats’ bill summary identifies $260 million “to respond to a surge of unaccompanied children from Central America coming to the U.S. The funds will be used to implement a prevention and response strategy focused on border security and the reintegration of migrants, as well as the causes of the migration, including programs to improve education and employment, support families, counter gangs, coyotes and drug cartels and professionalize police forces.” See p. 53.
Note that the above does not refer to U.S. border security but that of Central American countries -- an absurd gesture. The three Northern Triangle states of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador facilitated this year’s migration. Their borders are much tighter than ours. If they wanted to shut them down, they could. Flush $260 million.
Providing a short-term CR for DHS was supposed to make it appear that the GOP was going to challenge Obama’s illegal executive amnesty next year, because DHS agencies are to process new applicants under the executive order. But there is no language in the DHS CR defunding amnesty. Bill writers claimed they could not insert defund language into the DHS CR because affected programs are self-funded with user fees. Yet the bill had language restricting other user-fee based programs in other agencies. And if they couldn’t defund it now, how could they next year when the CR expires?
Between now and February 27, Obama’s executive action is fully funded, and the CR expires after the program kicks in. Meanwhile, DHS is rushing to hire new personnel to process the illegals expected to apply for the amnesty. There were so many lies and deceptions in this exercise it was almost impossible to keep up.
The GOP House leadership wants amnesty. Rep. Pete Sessions has said publicly that Republicans did not intend to repatriate the illegals who overwhelmed the border in 2014. Regarding any immigration “reform,” Sessions emphasized that the plan, “even in our wildest dream, would not be to remove any person that might be here, unless they were dangerous to this country and had committed a crime.” They structured the CROmnibus specifically to give Obama what he wants, allowing him to take the heat for it while they pretend to oppose it. Their real goal is to pass comprehensive immigration “reform” in 2015 that will look much like George W. Bush’s failed effort in 2007.
The Daily Caller’s Neil Munro quoted a GOP Hill aide: “GOP leaders want to block and complicate the anti-amnesty fight because the GOP might win the fight against Obama… That victory would derail their plans for an GOP-designed amnesty in 2015, and complicate their efforts to keep immigration out of the 2016 election...”
The Leadership’s amnesty goals defy all logic. Those illegals brought with them a dictionary of new diseases, including most likely, the Enterovirus outbreak responsible for at least 8 deaths and numerous cases of serious paralysis. Illegals commit heinous crimes in disproportionate numbers. A major reason the GOP swept elections nationwide is that most Americans -- including Democrats and Hispanic Americans -- do not like Obama’s open borders policies and want illegals sent home, not to remain here stealing jobs and overburdening our welfare system -- already stressed to the max. Poll after poll indicates this.
On Wednesday, an amendment was proposed that would block funding for Obama’s executive amnesty. One of the amendment’s co-sponsors was Dave Brat, the Virginia legislator who threw Eric Cantor out of office. The amendment probably won’t get a fair hearing but good on him for trying.
3. Full Funding for Obamacare
Clever language says “no new funding” for Obamacare. But Obamacare was fully funded in the CR passed in September to keep the government open until December 11, including the contentious abortion funding and other issues. Now funding will be provided for the full fiscal year. This means no Obamacare repeal this year, and as it gradually sinks its tentacles into our Nation’s heart, it will be increasingly difficult to rip out. If a Republican becomes president in 2016, by then it will be so entrenched they won’t dare risk political capital to remove it. Difficult to believe, but the GOP Leadership appears to want Obamacare almost as much as the Democrats.
4. Millions More Muslim Refugees
Syrian Refugees $3.06 billion has been provided, $1.01 billion above the President’s request for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons. (P. 52 Democrat summary). Recall that in September Simon Henshaw, deputy assistant secretary of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, announced: “Next year, you will see thousands [of Syrians] entering the US. We are committed to a large program on a par with other large [refugee resettlement] programs in the past… Our commitment is to do thousands a year over many years,” he said. There are over 1 million Syrian refugees in Turkey who have fled Syria’s civil war. “Our resettlement program from Turkey is one of our largest in the world, and it will continue to grow,” he added. Refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran will also benefit. So if you like Dearbornistan, prepare for many more towns like it.
5. Aid to Syrian Rebels
Half a Billion to Nice Terrorists “$500,000,000 … to provide assistance, including training, equipment, supplies, sustainment and stipends, to appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups or individuals for the following purposes: defending the Syrian people from attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and securing territory controlled by the Syrian opposition; protecting the United States, its friends and allies, and the Syrian people from the threats posed by terrorists in Syria; and promoting the conditions for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Syria.”. Weren’t our friends in Libya “appropriately vetted” too? The bill denies use of these funds for “procurement or transfer of man portable air defense systems.” But how does DoD plan to enforce that? (PP 426-427).
6. A Bunch More Objectionable Provisions
- EPA gets to keep on imposing “greenhouse gas” regulations that are strangling coal, while provisions reining in EPA were stripped from the bill.
- Provisions supporting gun rights were removed.
- $5.4 billion for Ebola efforts in Africa -- more than provided to fight ISIS.
- The bill contains phony budget gimmicks, but still violates spending caps
- Too many others to list
Club for Growth is urging all members of Congress to vote "NO” on the Cromnibus (HR 83), as is Heritage Action for America, the political action arm of the Heritage Foundation. Conservatives may have an unlikely ally in Senator Elizabeth Warren. Warren has become the Democrat’s latest folk hero following the ignoble flameout of Wendy “Abortion Barbie” Davis. Warren has called on Democrats to deny support until one objectionable provision regarding the Dodd-Frank law is removed. The Teamsters have weighed in as well, asking members not to support Cromnibus because of changes to multi-employer pension legislation. Both sides may be willing to consider a short term 90 day CR should the CROmnibus fail to pass, but the White House understandably prefers the monster.
This bill sets horrible precedents; most importantly it blatantly dismisses overwhelming popular opposition to both executive amnesty and Obamacare. The GOP majority was elected to take action, and not the action preferred by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Obama and the Democrats, but that demanded by taxpaying voters. If allowed to stand, these two policies will rip our country apart and ensure that the GOP majority, as usual, is very short-lived.
James Simpson is an economist, former White House budget analyst, businessman and investigative journalist. His articles have been published at American Thinker, Accuracy in Media, Breitbart, Washington Times, WorldNetDaily, and others. His regular column is DC Independent Examiner. Follow Jim on Twitter & Facebook
 A continuing resolution simply funds the government at current levels for a certain specified period without making any programmatic changes.