Ryan-led House Wagers On Vegas Debate to Distract From $1.6 Trillion Deal

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, (R-WI) speaks during a Politico interview at the Grand Hyatt on December 15, 2015 in Washington DC. Ryan was interviewed by Politico's Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen during a Politico Playbook Breakfast. (Photo by
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Washington, DC

They say “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” That didn’t happen with last night’s Las Vegas-based Republican debate, but back in D.C., Capitol Hill lawmakers were doing everything they could to keep what happened in Washington within the Beltway, at least for another day.

If you bet on the House Speaker Ryan era ushering in a new sense of transparency on Capitol Hill, last night’s actions may cause you to think again; the House GOP doubled-down on the traditional Friday night news dump with a Las Vegas debate late-night news dump for a mega-budget deal certain to help keep America in the red for years.

As The Hill points out, “Ryan unveiled the details of the agreement while the political world was fixated on the fifth GOP presidential debate in Las Vegas.”

Pollster and Fox News analyst Pat Caddell summed up the spending portion of the bill yesterday on Breitbart News Daily:

“Look at what’s happening there,” Caddell tells host Stephen K. Bannon on Breitbart News Daily, referring to the current $1.1 trillion “omnibus” spending bill, “which I guarantee you will be one of the greatest giveaways to special interests ever devised.” Caddell blasted Republicans for “giving away the store,” saying they are “handing over everything” to the Democrats in order to allow oil companies to export fuel.

“It’s about incompetence of government,” said Caddell, adding, not only is it incompetent but “it’s falling apart right before our eyes and a super-majority of Americans across the board agree….”

Also per The Hill, “The full text of the 2009-page omnibus bill was posted online early Wednesday morning at about 1:30 a.m.” In essence, the GOP got much of what it wanted, the Democrats got much of what they wanted … and the American people will get spun like a Las Vegas roulette wheel, assuming the news cycle eventually turns away from the Vegas debate to the $1.6 trillion bill.

“While not getting everything we wanted, the Speaker noted that both packages include many provisions that Republicans have long fought for,” she said.

The deal also extends the state and local sales tax deduction indefinitely, another one of Reid’s priorities, as well as the deduction for teachers’ out-of-pocket classroom expenses.

It locks in the minimum 9 percent low-income housing tax credit rate floor and the employer wage credit for employees on active military duty.

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership, scored a victory with the inclusion of language extending a mass transit tax benefit for the long term. His office estimates it would save riders on the Long Island Rail Road more than $1,300 a year.

Schumer argues mass transit riders should get the same tax benefit as people who commute by car. Under current law, the monthly exclusion for employer-provided parking benefits is $250.

The omnibus also includes a $8.1 billion extension of the healthcare and compensation benefits for rescue workers who responded to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Some conservatives are vowing to vote against the spending bill because it does not include language to halt the administration’s program to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said “there’s a lot of reason for Republicans to vote for it.” But he declined to predict how many Republicans would support it.