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Pro-Omnibus: Something for everyone

EDITORIAL
March 25. 2018 1:37AM

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks, as he stands next to Congress' $1.3 trillion spending bill, during a signing ceremony, in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., March 23, 2018. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)



Even in Washington D.C., these days, $1.3 trillion is a lot of money.

That means there was plenty of money to go around in the omnibus appropriations bill approved by Congress last week. Don't worry. Our grandchildren are good for it.

As soon as Republican leadership released the text of the 2,232-page spending bill on Wednesday night, members of Congress sent their staff scurrying through it like seniors searching the yearbook to see how many times their picture made it in.

The flood of press releases from politicians taking credit for spending your money began soon after.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster "welcomed the inclusion of funding for the Northern Border Regional Commission," which increased from $10 million to $15 million a year in the omnibus. We are fairly certain the U.S.-Canadian border did not increase by 50 percent in the last year.

Sen. Maggie Hassan took credit for helping to secure $3.3 billion to combat the opioid crisis.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen touted this, along with a nationwide PFC water contamination study, increased funding for grants from the Office on Violence Against Women, and federal funding to pay for at-sea monitoring fees that were being passed on to local fishing boats.

This is how spending works in Washington. Everyone takes credit for dollars flowing back to their districts. No one takes responsibility for the mounting federal debt, now over $21 trillion, and counting.

There's a lot to like in the omnibus. And that is precisely the problem. Increasing spending on popular programs is, of course, popular. Long-term fiscal discipline remains popular only in theory.

It is a good thing Congress has figured out how to fund the federal government for more than a few weeks at a time. It is frustrating that the only way Congress can do its job is by spending increasingly ridiculous sums of money.


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