If Congress succeeds in advancing the proposed $2.3 trillion omnibus spending bill to the President’s desk, the taxpayers will be on the hook for billions of dollars appropriated to special interest foreign aid, even as American citizens are still hurting from government imposed COVID shutdowns.
The 5,593-page omnibus spending bill was posted online Monday afternoon, just hours before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said a vote would be held. This scheduling made it impossible for any elected official to have read what the bill contained.
Even as the “fact checkers” on social media – and for the many sensationalized mainstream media outlets – scrambled to make sure the country understood that spendthrift taxpayer allocations to foreign entities were not embedded in the COVID relief package, but instead that the COVID relief package was embedded as part of the larger $2.3 trillion spending bill, Christmas did come early for a cadre of foreign states.
Some of the items included in the bill, which is meant to fund our federal government for the next fiscal year:
- $169,739,000 to Vietnam, including $19 million to remediate dioxins (page 1476)
- “Unspecified funds” for not-for-profit gender-accessible education institutions in Kabul, Afghanistan (page 1477)
- $198,323,000 to Bangladesh, including $23.5 million to support Burmese refugees and an additional $23.3 million for democracy programs (page 1485)
- $130,265,000 to Nepal for development and democracy programs (page 1485)
- $15 million for Pakistani democracy programs and an additional $10 million for “gender programs” (page 1486)
- $15 million for Sri Lanka so they can refurbish a high endurance cutter patrol boat (page 1489)
- $505,925,000 to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama to address the migration of unaccompanied, undocumented minors to the United States” (pages 1490-1491)
- $461,375,000 to Colombia for programs related to counter-narcotics and human rights (pages 1494-1496)
- $74.8 million to the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (page 1498)
- $33 million for democracy programs for Venezuela (page 1498)
- “Unspecified funds” to Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Curacao, and Trinidad and Tobago to mitigate the impacted of refugees from Venezuela (page 1499)
- $132,025,000 for “assistance” for Georgia (page 1499)
- $453 million for assistance for Ukraine (page 1500)
- $500 million to Israel for “Israeli Cooperative Programs” (page 341)
In just what is listed here – and there is more in the legislation, the American taxpayers are on the hook for over $2.189 trillion! Read the report here.
US Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), blasted the bill before the details even emerged saying, “Just another bill we have to pass before the American people discover all the goodies that special interests jammed into it over the past week.”
We still don’t have text yet for this massive spending bill, and we’ll likely be expected to vote on it later today.
Just another bill we have to pass before the American people discover all the goodies that special interests jammed into it over the past week. https://t.co/l2A6ygSEPF
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) December 21, 2020
To compare, the COVID relief package that Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), spared over prior to the election secured just $900 billion in aid for the American people and American small business with even some of that funding going to commercial airlines and Amtrack.
Six Senators voted no on the omnibus spending bill: Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Rick Scott (R-FL).
Cruz, as he has done I the past, railed against the process as a whole, tweeting out, “It’s ABSURD to have a $2.5 trillion spending bill negotiated in secret and then – hours later – demand an up-or-down vote on a bill nobody has had time to read.”
.@AOC is right.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) December 21, 2020
And Lee laid down the gauntlet tweeting, “This process, by which members of Congress are asked to defer blindly to legislation negotiated entirely in secret by four of their colleagues, must come to an end.”
1/4 This is the spending bill under consideration in Congress today. I received it just moments ago, and will likely be asked to vote on it late tonight. It’s 5,593 pages long. I know there are some good things in it. I’m equally confident that there are bad things in it. pic.twitter.com/SoWXnEWYfV
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) December 21, 2020
The COVID stimulus package reached by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, by comparison, offers only $600 to Americans after almost a full year of economic disruptions and lockdowns.
The language of the legislation is currently ping-ponging in the House and Senate before final votes on the measure.