In a startling admission by a legacy media journalist, the New York Times Chief Washington Correspondent Carl Hulse confessed to the reason the omnibus bill will sail through Congress. It is loaded with “pork.”
Further, Hulse told PBS’ “Washington Week” that much of the blame rests with the heads of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) and Vice-Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) have loaded down the legislation with “a bunch of earmarks.”
The pair are retiring, and Hulse noted that they are taking full advantage of their last chance to push pet projects through in the spending bill.
Hulse stated that “they’ll probably get a deal, and it’s the oldest reason in the books, it’s pork.” He added that the chairman and vice-chairman have included concessions “for a lot of people” — including themselves.
Both know that with Republicans taking the House majority in January, a continuing resolution or a new bill written next month will exclude their prized earmarks.
"I'm looking at Mitch McConnell when I say this:
"DO YOUR JOB, @LeaderMcConnell! Do your job and follow the wishes of the American people who gave a majority to Republicans in the House of Representatives"
"And let's STOP this bill"
More on Dems' last-minute spending spree: pic.twitter.com/Zv0Igmk7G3
— Rep. Chip Roy Press Office (@RepChipRoy) December 14, 2022
Hulse also believed that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is worried that, even with the House majority, the GOP will not be able to pass a new funding bill.
Leahy announced last week that the framework on the massive omnibus package had been agreed upon. He called it a “bipartisan, bicameral framework that should allow us to finish an omnibus appropriations bill that can pass the House and Senate and be signed into law by the President.”
With the short-term funding measure passed, lawmakers have until Dec. 23 to pass the package and avoid a government shutdown. Successful passage would fund the government through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
Negotiators continue to work through snags over the disparity between the domestic budget and defense spending. Predictably, Republicans want to shore up funding for the military while Democrats are fighting to increase the amount of tax dollars earmarked for social programs.
Many in the GOP prefer to have passing the omnibus package delayed until the party assumes the House majority in January. This would presumably give Republicans the opportunity to trim the pork from the spending bill.
Democrats oppose these efforts for obvious reasons, including the potential removal of pet projects from the final product.
Their united front while still controlling Congress along with the pressure of concluding the process before the Christmas break unfortunately means the package will likely survive as currently written. And that means a loss for the American taxpayer.