Key Vote Alert: “NO” SENATE AMENDMENT TO H.R. 1158 AND “NO” ON SENATE AMENDMENT TO H.R. 1865, THE END-OF-YEAR SPENDING AGREEMENT AKA THE “DOUBLE-DECKER BUS”
Club for Growth opposes the Senate Amendment to H.R. 1158, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, and the Senate Amendment to H.R. 1865, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, and urges all Representatives and Senators to vote no. The legislation is expected to be considered soon in the House of Representatives and Senate. The results of both of the votes will be included in the Club for Growth Foundation’s 2019 Congressional Scorecard.
This legislation spends at the discretionary spending levels of this budget-busting Bipartisan Budget Act, which increased the FY2020 spending cap by over $171 billion and is about a 5:1 ratio of higher spending over revenue cuts on the repeal of the Obamacare taxes on an annualized basis.
The “Double-Decker Bus” is a spending agreement that has been split into two appropriations bills. Additionally, the Double-Decker Bus includes many anomalies that do not belong on spending bills, including anomalies that extend the authorizations of several expiring federal programs, such as a 7-year reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), and reauthorizations of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Temporary Assistants for Needy Families (TANF) through the end of the fiscal year. The bill also waives statutory Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO).
Additionally, the bill includes supplemental appropriations for natural disaster relief that is not subject to the budget caps. Congress has been unable to complete meaningful reforms on expiring federal programs and is instead ramming everything through on two gigantic last-minute spending bills. The spending levels of this bill will accommodate a deficit of over $1 trillion for FY2020.
Though many Members feel that a robust defense budget is required to maintain military readiness and national security, a large threat to our defense and national security remains the national debt, and a Defense Business Board report showed $125 billion in administrative waste in Pentagon business operations. A moment of reckoning will be upon Members when net interest payments exceed our defense budget in just a few years.
Last month, Club for Growth warned Members of Congress against passing a 4-week Continuing Resolution that expired on December 20th because it would back up Members of Congress against a deadline that was certain to force Senators and Representatives into supporting a last-minute deal before Christmas. Members of Congress can probably find provisions they support within the thousands of pages of legislation in the Double-Decker Bus. However, full consideration of this massive piece of legislation should alarm Members of Congress and force them to realize they have abdicated their legislative authority to the Appropriations Committees and Congressional Leadership.
The bill also includes a provision to bailout pensions for thousands of coal miners. This is in essence, an earmark to Members that have fiercely advocated for the pension bailout.
On the bright side, the legislation repeals the Cadillac tax, the 2.3 percent Medical Device Tax, and a health insurance fee. These Obamacare-era taxes have caused health care costs to skyrocket and their repeal is welcomed, although an appropriations bill should not be the legislative vehicle to repeal these taxes. A better course of action would be repealing these Obamacare taxes along with Obamacare’s spending.
Club for Growth Foundation’s Congressional Scorecard for the 116th Congress provides a comprehensive rating of how well or how poorly each member of Congress supports pro-growth, free-market policies and will be distributed to the public.