Heritage Foundation Press Release on Omnibus Bill

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Finally, from the respected HERITAGE FOUNDATION we read the following press release issued moments after the omnibus bill was unveiled:

Omnibus a Missed Opportunity to Rein in Wasteful Spending

WASHINGTON December 16, 2015 – Congress has released a $1.1 trillion spending omnibus that—with about $50 billion in spending authority above the Budget Control Act—Heritage Foundation experts call a “missed opportunity to rein in wasteful and excessive spending.

“While higher spending levels were agreed to back in November, Congress had no obligation to spend up to the cap,” said Paul Winfree, director of Heritage’s Thomas A. Roe Institute for economic policy studies. “This bill also contains a number of budget gimmicks that allow the bill to spend billions more than the November agreement.”

Spending limits present a ceiling, not a goal, Winfree contends. “With annual interest costs on the debt on course to reach nearly $800 billion within 10 years, Congress should have used this as an opportunity to enact meaningful policy reforms and embrace the budget they agreed to earlier this year. This omnibus also shortchanges defense at a time when national security should be a priority by using the war fund to pay for non-security programs.”

When it comes to leveraging the omnibus to govern with policy riders, Heritage experts conclude that Congress mostly disappointed. From continuing funds for abortion-providers like Planned Parenthood to failing to restrict taxpayer dollars for the Obama administration’s illegal and overreaching waters of the United States rule, there isn’t much to laud in this bill.

Ending the ban on oil exports will create more economic opportunities for Americans, increase employment and economic growth, and augment the overall efficiency of global oil markets. Unfortunately, the bill also gives the oil industry a special handout by providing small domestic refiners with a tax credit for the costs they incur from transporting oil.

The bill also continues a provision to prohibit CMS Program Management funds from being used to make payments under Obamacare’s Risk Corridor program. This will prohibit the administration from using undedicated funds to bailout unprofitable qualified health insurance plans in the individual and small group markets.

On the tax extenders bill that was also released, research fellow Curtis Dubay says Congress once again dropped the ball by not going through each policy in the package—making those that reflect sound policy permanent, and eliminating those that are not sound policy permanently in a revenue neutral way.

“Further complicating matters is that Congress included a delay of certain Obamacare taxes without reducing Obamacare spending, including the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost health insurance plans,” Dubay notes. “This is the wrong approach to that tax, which should instead be restructured into a more useful cap on the tax-free amount of employer-provided health insurance.”

A Message to Congress

Written by Dale Bartscher

The Family Heritage Alliance Action’s message to those representing
“We The People” in the US Congress is clear and it’s essence is found in the words
of an unknown author:
“Don’t pray for a lighter burden. Pray for a stronger back.”

dale_legislatorsIt was a flying trip putting 750 miles on my car in less than 12 hours but it was more than worth the effort! FHA Policy Analysis Ed Randazzo and I received a gracious invitation to attend a reception in Sioux Falls on Thursday, August 6. Our South Dakota US Representative Kristi Noem hosted this event. Her traveling guest, on this day, was US Representative and former Republican Vice-Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

A hundred plus patriots filled the room that evening. This face-to-face encounter with two Christian conservative leaders in the US House gave me, as your FHA Executive Director, an opportunity to address with each of them several family valued issues they will soon be dealing with in Congress.

When Congress does return on September 8, they will have little time to deal with some very important legislation such as bills –

  • to defund Planned Parenthood;
  • to prohibit abortions over 20 weeks (Pain Capable Bill);
  • and to pass the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA).

It seems to us that Conservatives in both the House and Senate, like Noem and Ryan, need to find ‘must-pass legislation’ to attach these three important bills to. As standalone legislation, each of them face a Presidential veto and currently there are not enough votes to override his veto.

Pierre Bynum, Chaplain and National Prayer Director for the Family Research Council (FRC) recently shared this urgent plea: “FADA cannot wait. So much hangs on religious liberty. Without it, conscientious objectors to the HHS mandate (e.g., the Little Sisters of the Poor, Christian Universities, etc.) and same-sex marriage (e.g., wedding vendors, chaplains, county clerks, etc.) will all be in jeopardy.”

Today as Christians let us STAND to encourage those who represent us in DC to move these three important pieces of legislation along in the best form possible for their ultimate passage. Psalm 11:7 (MSG) echoes this sentiment, “God’s business is putting things right; he loves getting the lines straight, Setting us straight. Once we’re standing tall, we can look him straight in the eye.”