Funding Our Priorities

Last week, Congress voted on and passed a bipartisan spending bill that will fund the federal government through the rest of the bookkeeping year. This legislation, also known as an omnibus, combines twelve different appropriations bills into a single bill.

This year the omnibus contributed to $165 billion in overall spending cuts since 2010, while protecting jobs, strengthening our nation’s national security, and directing funds to many vital parts of our government. It also includes several provisions and budget cuts directed at areas where the government has overstepped its bounds.

For example, the IRS budget has been cut by $345.6 million amid reports earlier this year of gross incompetence and abuse of power, and Obamacare will not receive another dollar in new spending.

Farmers and ranchers will receive needed relief from regulatory overreach by the EPA. The spending bill cuts the agency’s staffing to its lowest levels since 1989 and requires them to withdraw a new rule under the Clean Water Act that would’ve allowed government regulation of on-farm irrigation ditches or ponds.

This bill also does not provide a single dime for President Obama’s unilateral executive amnesty.

In fact, it challenges the president’s entire approach on immigration by withholding yearlong funding for the Department of Homeland Security. This sets up a real debate on amnesty and illegal immigration for next month so the new Republican majority in the House and Senate can fully weigh in on the issue.

Apart from signing or vetoing legislation, the president’s responsibility is to implement the law, not write the law or rule by decree. The showdown on the president’s immigration policy will occur next year and there will be several more debates throughout the rest of his two years in office.

It’s clear from the recent election that President Obama’s unpopular policies are what cost many of his fellow Democrats their job in Congress. As a result, Republicans will take control of the Senate and have the largest majority in the House since the 1920’s.

The shift in power means we now have a new set of chairmen and chairwomen who control the hearing schedule, we now have the ability to control the appropriations process, and the Senate will now control the confirmation process – meaning they do not have to approve executive appointments or treaty proposals.

Through his actions and rhetoric over the course of the last six years, the president has made himself into a lame duck. He is beyond salvaging his failed agenda. His only remaining option is to drag the rest of us down through political gamesmanship, and I will not be complicit in allowing that to happen.

This spending agreement isn’t perfect, but it represents real priorities and most importantly keeps the federal government open. It keeps the USDA offices open; it keeps Social Security offices open; and it ensures our country’s servicemen and women receive their hard earned paychecks.

We now have an opportunity to return to a regular legislative order. The president’s policies have caused grief not only to his own party, but the American people at large. In the 114th Congress, I look forward to reversing this trend by supporting commonsense policies that will get our country back on track.

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