The bill includes a few reforms, but generally fails to block President Obama’s various power grabs. So while the bill lifts the ban on oil exports, it does not block the administration’s dangerous effort to extend environmental regulations over small pools of water on private property.
The omnibus comes on the heels of the October budget deal that overspent the sequester caps by $80 billion over two years. That budget‐buster created a precedent for Congress to likely add hundreds of billions more in spending over the coming decade. The new omnibus sticks to the inflated October discretionary amounts, but then adds $160 billion in new spending over the coming decade by extending various “refundable” tax credits.
The highway bill signed into law a few weeks ago was another spending orgy engineered by Republican leaders. Highway and transit spending has soared 48 percent over the past 10 years, creating a giant gap in the highway trust fund. The GOP solution to the problem: increase spending even more over the next five years, including spending on wasteful transit, and then use budget gimmicks to pretend to pay for it.
All this spending is going to land like a ton of bricks on the desk of the next president. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), federal debt held by the public will be $14 trillion and growing quickly when the new president enters office in 2017. Deficits of $500 billion or more his first couple years will be rising toward $1 trillion by the early 2020s.