By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
The Senate passed a $447 billion omnibus spending bill over the weekend, one that increases federal spending at government agencies by some $48 billion, a 12 percent increase from 2009. According to the Wall Street Journal, "That increase—when inflation is negligible—is in addition to the $311 billion in stimulus already authorized or out the door for these programs. Adding this new stash means that federal agencies will have received a nearly 70% increase in the last two years."
That whopping 70 percent increase in spending on government programs also means that Congress will now have to vote to "raise the federal debt ceiling by at least $1.8 trillion," according to the Washington Post. Note the Post reports they'll raise the debt ceiling "BY" $1.8 trillion, not "TO" $1.8 trillion.
Really, what planet are these Democrats on? When the president unveiled his much-anticipated "jobs" package last week—he's too smart to call it a second stimulus plan—it seemed like he spent a lot more time talking about tax incentives for winterizing our homes than about helping businesses create jobs. In fact, some pundits called it "cash for caulkers." All joking aside, the proposals add even more to the uncertainty facing small business owners right now, whether it's from cap and trade, healthcare, or even the on-again off-again one-year capital gains tax cut he's proposing for new investments in small business stock. It's no wonder with so much unpredictability that businesses can't plan ahead, much less hire new workers.
When you combine this massive spending bill with the trillion-dollar-plus healthcare reform proposals Congress is moving towards, you have to wonder. Earlier this week, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri announced she'd "absolutely" vote against healthcare reform if it added to the deficit. Later she joined Democratic Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin in voting against the omnibus spending bill, and Bayh urged the president to veto the whole thing. Bayh was quoted in Politico saying that Washington politicians "are totally out of touch with the sacrifices middle-class Americans are making ... We have to take the credit card away from the politicians who just want to spend, spend, spend." The Republicans couldn't have said it better.