18 Republican senators betray their constituents and vote for the $1.7-trillion omnibus bill

When D.C. has the determination, its members can work together to climb any mountain.  Alas, these accomplishments are often a bane to the well-being of the nation.

There was more proof of it yesterday, when the notorious $1.7-trillion omnibus bill was passed in the Senate by a vote of 68-29.

The bill in question spans 4,155 pages.  It's impossible that any of the senators who voted for the bill have actually read and comprehend the impact of this bill.

Yet all efforts were spent to pass it.

Senators in D.C., who must have been exhausted from the constant exercise of repeated standing ovations for Ukrainian president Zelensky during his address to a joint meeting of Congress, nonetheless burned their midnight oil, perhaps striking shady deals with colleagues, to ensure the passage of the bill.

As they were reaching the finishing line, Republican Mike Lee of Utah placed an obstacle by introducing an amendment that would have prevented the Biden administration from rescinding Title 42.

Title 42 allows U.S. border officials to expel migrants and aspiring asylum-seekers owing to COVID-19.  Title 42 was set to expire, but the Supreme Court issued a temporary order to retain these provisions.

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer was obviously concerned that "centrist" Democrats would support Lee's amendment.  If Lee's amendment were to pass in the Senate, it would essentially render the omnibus bill dead on arrival once in the House, where progressive congressional Democrats support ending Title 42.

Lee's amendment cut funding for Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas's office unless the Biden administration reinstates the Trump-era Title 42 policy, so old fox Schumer engaged in a crafty tactic to dodge Lee's amendment.

Schumer collaborated with Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) to develop an amendment similar to Lee's that increases border funding and extends the Title 42 policy.

Sinema's and Tester's proposal was a watered down version of Lee's.  It would serve Democrat interests by granting $85 million for immigration judges to speed up asylum claims.

The purpose was never for the amendment to pass, but instead to provide "centrist" Democrats with an excuse.  They could claim that they voted to extend the Title 42 policy in Sinema's and Tester's amendment hence they had no reason to vote for Lee's amendment, which they could claim did the very same thing.

In the end, the Sinema and Tester amendment failed by 10-87, but it achieved its purpose by consuming votes to doom Lee's amendment by 47-50.

The next step was a vote on the floor.

The $1.7-trillion omnibus bill passed the Senate with the help of eighteen Senate Republicans and all Democrats.

So what are the specifics of the bill?

The bill grants $45 billion in military, humanitarian, and economic aid for Ukraine and funds to replenish Pentagon stockpiles of weapons that the U.S. sent to Ukraine, along with additional aid for NATO allies.

This adds to the $66 billion of taxpayers' money lawmakers have already approved for Ukraine.  To put this in perspective, American taxpayers have given more aid to Ukraine in 2022 than Afghanistan, Israel, and Egypt combined in 2020.  The amount of U.S. aid to Ukraine in just a few months has surpassed three of the largest recipients of U.S. military aid in history.

There are no tracking or accounting measures for these funds for Ukraine.

The same bill prohibits U.S. Customs and Border Protection from spending more than $1.5 billion for "border security technology and capabilities, except for technology and capabilities to improve Border Patrol processing."

Apart from dispatching aid to Ukraine, the bill consists of many of Democrats' pet ideas, which were chronicled by U.S. congressman Dan Bishop in a Twitter thread.

The bill grants around $575 million towards "family planning" and "reproductive health," including in areas where population growth "threatens biodiversity."

The bill grants around  $1.2 million for LGBT students at San Diego Community College District and $3 million for a New York LGBT museum and $750,000 to the Trans Latina Coalition.

The bill provides $2.6 billion for U.S. attorneys "to further support prosecutions related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol and domestic terrorism cases."  This is a euphemism for targeting political opponents.

The bill funds the creation of a new "pandemic czar" in the White House; there is no clarity about the powers of this czar.  It could be Fauci on steroids.

The bill eliminates Medicaid coverage protection from the public health emergency.  Millions of people who enrolled in the Medicaid public health insurance program during the COVID-19 pandemic could lose their coverage in April 2023.  Since the Democrats are doing this, there is no media outrage.

The bill includes a plan to change the Electoral Count Act, which helps Democrats engaged in electoral fraud.  It raises the requirement for objections to a state's electoral votes from one member of the House and one senator to 20 percent of the members from each chamber.

The bill adds to the debt, which is already at $31 trillion. 

It grants Joe Biden a legislative victory.

Yet eighteen Republicans readily jumped on board to support this bill. 

Make no mistake: this support is driven not by principles, but by self-interest.  Perhaps Schumer struck some quid pro quo deals with these senators.  Part of it was probably scorn for the MAGA wing of the party they want to purge from D.C.

Apart from Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Mike Braun (Idaho), and Mike Lee (Utah) few Republicans made much noise the contents of this lengthy and expensive bill and the manner in which it was rushed.

The conduct of the 18 Republicans who voted for the bill highlights the urgent need for recall facilities for every elected politician.

The bill heads to the House, where it is likely to pass.

The passage of this bill is unprecedented because it seizes the power of the purse from the incoming GOP House until October 2023.  The authority to decide spending is among the most important powers for a political party holding a majority in the House.  Undercutting that power for 10 months is anti-democratic because the people voted to give full control of the House to the GOP for 24 months.

But since the Democrats are doing it, the media "defenders of democracy" were silent.

It is said that an ineffective and unreliable ally is much worse than a sworn enemy.  The enemy is doing what is expected by working against your interests and attacking you.  But the real betrayal occurs when your ally sides with your adversary.

These eighteen Republicans have turned the U.S. into a one-party system driven by self-interest only. 

The names of these GOP Senators must be remembered:

  • Roy Blunt (MO),
  • John Boozman (AR),
  • Shelley Moore Capito (WV),
  • Susan Collins (ME),
  • John Cornyn (TX),
  • Tom Cotton (AR),
  • Lindsey Graham (SC),
  • Jim Inhofe (OK),
  • Mitch McConnell (KY),
  • Jerry Moran (KS),
  • Lisa Murkowski (AK),
  • Robert Portman (OH),
  • Mitt Romney (UT),
  • Mike Rounds (SD),
  • Richard Shelby (AL),
  • John Thune (SD),
  • Roger Wicker (MS),
  • Todd Young (IN).

Image: Free image, Pixabay license, no attribution required. 

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