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Here's What's In Their Rotten $1.01 Trillion Spending Bill

“While not everyone got everything they wanted, such compromises must be made in a divided government,” Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) said.
Here's What's In Their Rotten $1.01 Trillion Spending Bill
Image from: Geoff Livingston

I wish Obama would veto the damned thing and dare the Republicans to bring on a government shutdown -- but he won't. He's a Democrat, and they're the grownups. So everyone will call this a "reasonable compromise" while regular people get screwed. For more details, click through to the Washington Post:

Congressional leaders unveiled a massive $1.01 trillion spending bill Tuesday night that will keep most of the federal government funded through September.The legislation is expected to pass in the coming days and will allow the incoming Republican-controlled Congress to clear the decks of lingering spending issues while setting the stage for a prolonged fight with President Obama over immigration policy.

At 1,603 pages, the bill includes at least $1.2 billion for agencies to deal with the influx of unaccompanied immigrant children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. There’s also money to fight the rise of the Islamic State and $5.4 billion to fight the threat of Ebola. But there are also significant changes to campaign finance laws and potential cuts to retiree pension plans. Democrats were cheering bigger budgets for enforcement at agencies created after the 2008 economic collapse.

House leaders are planning to introduce a stopgap bill to give the House and Senate a few more days to pass the final measure and avoid a government shutdown Thursday night. Extending current funding for a short period has happened before, but doing so this year will provide an embarrassing climax to one of the most fruitless congressional sessions in history.

[...] Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), who led the talks as leaders of the Senate and House appropriations committees, called the bill a fair deal.

“While not everyone got everything they wanted, such compromises must be made in a divided government,” they said in a statement.The bill is packed with policy instructions, called “riders,” that were the subject of months of discussions between Democrats and Republicans.

One of the most notable changes includes dramatically expanding the amount of money that wealthy political donors could give the national parties, drastically undercutting the 2002 landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance overhaul. Top donors would be allowed to give three times the annual cap on national party donations to three additional party committees set up for the purposes of the presidential conventions, building expenses and election recounts.


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For the first time, Congress also would allow the benefits of current retirees to be severely cut, part of an effort to save some of the nation’s most distressed pension plans.

The bill authorizes a 1 percent pay raise for military service members and allows a 1 percent pay raise for federal employees, ordered by Obama, to begin in January. Lawmakers again banned or limited certain federal agency conferences and employee awards. The bill also ends a 5 percent discount on tobacco products sold at military exchanges.

At domestic agencies, the EPA’s budget would be cut by $60 million, and the IRS would lose $345.6 million. The nation’s tax agency also would be banned from targeting organizations seeking tax-exempt status based on their ideological beliefs.

About those pensions:

The measure, attached to a massive $1.01 trillion spending bill, would alter 40 years of federal law and could affect millions of workers, many of them part of a shrinking corps of middle-income employees in businesses such as trucking, construction and supermarkets.

“We have to do something to allow these plans to make the corrections and adjustments they need to keep these plans viable,” said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), who along with Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) led efforts to hammer out a deal.

The idea is reluctantly supported by some unions and retirement fund managers who see it as the only way to salvage pensions in plans that are in imminent danger of running out of money. But it also has stirred strong opposition from retirees who could face deep pension cuts and from advocates eager to keep retiree pensions sacrosanct, even in cases when funds are in a deep financial hole. The advocates argue that allowing cuts to plans would open the door to trims for other retirees later.

Of course it will. Working people are expendable. Haven't we learned that lesson yet?

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