AUSTIN, Texas — In a narrow 216-209 vote Thursday night, the House of Representatives passed a “CRomnibus” spending bill, despite sharp criticism from both Republicans and Democrats. In Texas, where Republicans swept the statewide offices by double digit margins of victory, and tea party conservatives gained ground in the Legislature, grassroots activists were especially outraged.
The awkward-sounding name — “continuing resolution” or “CR,” plus “omnibus” spending bill, or “CRomnibus” — fails to adequately convey the unwieldiness of this 1,603 page bill that lawmakers were given a mere 48 hours to read. The bill is the result of Congress procrastinating on their fundamental duty to manage the nation’s budget as they scrambled to reach a deal that would avoid a government shutdown before they all leave Washington for the holidays. The final vote for passage, which included support from 162 Republicans and 57 Democrats, came just a few hours before the federal government’s funding authority was scheduled to expire.
Among the hundreds of pages of the CRomnibus bill are provisions that fund ObamaCare, Obama’s executive orders granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, and some controversial pro-abortion measures; plus other sections that loosen campaign finance laws that regulate fundraising by political parties, attempt to block the District of Columbia from legalizing marijuana, and amend the Dodd-Frank financial regulations. The bill also includes a predictably long list of pork,including $19 million to save rhinoceroses from poaching and a re-authorization of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s casino crony kickback, the Travel Promotion Act.
House Speaker John Boehner championed the CRomnibus bill, and praised it as a “responsible” and “bipartisan” effort after it passed. Boehner attempted to appease unhappy conservatives by characterizing the bill as a strategic step to wait for Republicans to retake control of the Senate in January, as Breitbart News’ Charlie Spiering reported. Still, many activists were dissatisfied with Boehner’s efforts and felt that the Republicans could have held out for a more conservative bill. Breitbart Texas collected reaction from grassroots leaders around the state while the CRomnibus bill was being debated and after its passage.
Joseph Wade Miller, South Central Regional Coordinator for Heritage Action:
“Texas will bear a disproportionate brunt of the negative effects of this bill,” said Miller, “as it will act as a magnet for more illegal entry into this country which will have a disproportionate affect on border states like Texas by straining local and state institutions and services, like healthcare, education, policing, etc.”
Miller identified the funding of most of Obamacare as the biggest immediate downside to the CR, directly harming healthcare access and costs for millions of Texans.
“It will fund Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty,” he added. “The average fiscal burden for each illegal household is $14,387 a year. Obama’s amnesty will increase that burden as access to benefits and entitlements increases.”
Cyndi Lawrence, President, Katy Tea Party:
“Texas grassroots are waiting to see how this transpires,” said Lawrence. “We are watching our Representatives’ votes very closely. We simply can not continue to allow this out of control spending on the backs of hard working middle class Americans.”
“We here in Texas have already felt the ramifications of amnesty and we do not want it shoved our throats,” she continued. “There are plenty of people wanting to get citizenship legally that have to wait years and years for that status. Why does D.C. give these illegals a free pass?”
Robin Lennon, Co-Founder, Kingwood Tea Party:
We the People have just given control of the Senate back to the Republicans,” said Lennon, in a statement provided to Breitbart Texas, “and in this Lame Duck period, we are getting ready to pass an Omnibus budget bill that fully funds the very actions, duplicated and/or law-breaking agencies, policies, laws, and Presidential fiats we voted against in November.
“Once again, after electing legislators to faithfully defend the Constitution and laws of our Nation as they promised when running, are instead enabling the Democrats in their unsustainable and nation-wrecking policies,” continued Lennon. “A reasonable course for the Republicans would have been to separate various sections of the Omnibus and vote on the separately: singling out the ACA and amnesty for complete defunding, deleting all the pork and earmarks in the bill before passing short-term CR’s that would expire in February, when the debate can begin on how best to roll back the size, scope, spending, and tyranny that is our Government today.”
“Anything less is Groundhog Day Redux, and will seriously endanger the existence of the Republican Party as we know it today in the future,” concluded Lennon. “The House must reassert its constitutional authority to control the Power of the Purse, or else we will have to take the ability to tax away from the Federal government and place it solely in the States’ hands.”
Ken Emanuelson, North Dallas Liberty Center:
“I do not believe that having 2,000 page bills on the House floor serves anyone’s best interests, not the House, not for the members, and certainly not for the American people,” Emanuelson told Breitbart Texas. “They ignored the cries of outrage from the the American people by forcing a vote on bill after bill without giving lawmakers enough time to even read the bill.”
Katrina Pierson, founder, Garland Tea Party and spokeswoman, Tea Party Leadership Fund:
“Americans voted against the outrageous governance of the Obama administration Democrats, [but] the CRomnibus bill is an offensive trillion dollar bill that is yet another example of how government is failing the American public.”
Frustrated, Pierson has been disappointed but not surprised to see so little “backbone” by Republicans. Even though Democrats hold control until next year, “the time is now and the place is Washington DC regardless of which party is in control,” said Pierson, but Congressional Republicans are not even making “the case for more responsible government and in normal order.”
Russ Ramsland, Dallas Metro Park City/Preston Hollow Leadership Forum:
Ramsland believes the grassroots finds the CRomnibus offensive and discouraging because “Republicans don’t seem any more interested in defending the Constitution than Obama, despite their rhetoric. They have all taken an oath to defend the Constitution, so where is that?”
He would like to see a formal censure of the President for his executive amnesty order, a rider defunding the enactment of a short term Continuing Resolution to ensure that the newly elected Congress can be in control of the spending next year instead of Harry Reid and the outgoing Democrats.
“The incredible irony in Washington is that Boehner is reaching out to the most liberal Democrats and trying to kow-tow to their wishes in order to gain their support for the CRominbus, and doing nothing towards reaching out to the conservative base that just handed them their greatest election victory, arguably in history.”
Ramsland added, “All in all, it makes it extremely difficult to believe the Republicans will govern differently than the Democrats, preferring instead to merely govern with a different label, but the same mentality.”
Bob Price and Merrill Hope contributed to this report.
Photo credit: David Iliff, License CC-BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia Commons.
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