Who Wrote the Omnibus? Four Lawmakers, Many Lobbyists

Allison Shelley/Getty Images
Allison Shelley/Getty Images

The ugly work that went into the massive pork-filled omnibus spending bill snaking its way through congress is now starting to be exposed.

And it’s not for the faint at heart. Members of congress had little input in the bill and didn’t even in many cases know what was in it.

Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, in a blistering interview Thursday night, shed some light on the details.

According to Sessions, lawmakers found out what was in the bill by talking to lobbyists, who had a better idea than they did as to what was being included in the bill. “No member of even the House and Senate knew what was going on,” he told Portland, Oregon talk show host Lars Larson. “Special interests did because we heard from lobbyists what some things were being considered.”

Sessions went on to note that basically four members of congress put the deal together without consulting their colleagues. “It’s not right for ultimately four members, in secret — for reasons we have no understanding of — to make critical decisions on things,” he said.

Sessions also bristled and how the bill was quickly presented to members of congress with little time to consider it. “This kind of process is unhealthy … because in a matter of panic before Christmas we’re told ‘you either vote for this bill or shut the government down and that would be a colossal disaster.’”

Back in 2010,  then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was roundly criticized for the secrecy that shrouded her efforts to push through the health care reform bill. She famously decreed, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.”

The Democrats lost the majority in House as a result of the 2010 elections. Republicans have held the majority since.

But the secrecy endures.


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