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A Bigger, Badder and Uglier Budget

Thursday March 22nd, 2018   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 6:34am PDT   •  

83911106 - spending costs budget speedometer measure results 3d illustration It was only a matter of time after the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2017 became law, but now, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are set to fully commit to a bipartisan budget for the U.S. government that, if anything, adds to what MyGovCost has previously described as President Trump’s “really ugly” budget proposal.

The Associated Press’ Andrew Taylor and Lisa Mascaro have the story of how something that was already going to be really ugly became even worse as legislators turned the spending knob up past 11:

Congressional leaders finalized a sweeping $1.3 trillion budget bill Wednesday that substantially boosts military and domestic spending but leaves behind young immigrant “Dreamers,” deprives President Donald Trump some of his border wall money and takes only incremental steps to address gun violence.

As negotiators stumbled toward an end-of-the-week deadline to fund the government or face a federal shutdown, House Speaker Paul Ryan dashed to the White House amid concerns Trump’s support was wavering. The White House later said the president backed the legislation, even as some conservative Republicans balked at the size of the spending increases and the rush to pass the bill.

Talks continued into Wednesday evening before the 2,232-page text was finally released.

“No bill of this size is perfect,” Ryan said. “But this legislation addresses important priorities and makes us stronger at home and abroad.”

Well, that’s an understatement, isn’t it?

If you’re inclined to attempt to read all 2,232-page text of the omnibus budget deal, here it is in all its glory, provided that you define glory as meaning an absence of fiscal discipline.

Mike DeBonis, Ed O’Keefe and Erica Werner of the Washington Post take on the challenge of describing “what Congress is stuffing into its $1.3 trillion spending bill”:

The “omnibus” appropriations bill doles out funding for the remainder of fiscal 2018 — that is, until Sept. 30 — to virtually every federal department and agency pursuant to the two-year budget agreement Congress reached in February. Under that agreement, defense spending generally favored by Republicans is set to jump $80 billion over previously authorized spending levels, while domestic spending favored by Democrats rises by $63 billion. The defense funding includes a 2.4 percent pay raise for military personnel and $144 billion for Pentagon hardware. The domestic spending is scattered across the rest of the federal government, but lawmakers are highlighting increases in funding for infrastructure, medical research, veterans programs and efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. Civilian federal employees get a 1.9 percent pay raise, breaking parity with the military for the first time in several years.

Oh, but it’s worse than that. Many of the agencies that were specifically targeted for spending cuts by the Trump administration will instead either see their funding hold level or rise. That outcome means that a bipartisan coalition of U.S. politicians are unwilling to meaningfully restrain some of the most wasteful aspects of federal spending that provide very little value to U.S. taxpayers, that in many cases, count as little more than corporate welfare or bureaucrat employment programs.

The U.S. Congress will be voting over the next two days to pass the bill before sending it to the Oval Office for President Trump’s signature.

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March 2018