Record prices may be forcing Americans to cut back -- but not Democrats. Thanks to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Congress just rammed through a massive $1.5 trillion government spending bill that this maxed-out country can't afford. That didn't seem to matter to the majority party, who piled everything from their radical wish list onto a package that was supposed to be about Ukrainian relief. Turns out, the only aid Joe Biden's party really cares about is political.
To Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), it represented the absolute worst of Congress. "Bear in mind," he explained on "Washington Watch," "this should have been 12 separate bills that were marked up in the Appropriations Committee and then heard individually on the floor -- where individual members would have a chance to offer their amendments as it came through the process. None of that happened." Instead, Democratic leaders dropped 2,700 pages of bill text on members at 2:30 a.m. and gave them less than a day to comb through it.
One of the few bright spots of the rush was that Democrats didn't have time to start a war over the Hyde amendment. That language, which stops taxpayer dollars from funding abortion, was kept in the base language of the bill -- thanks in large part to the Republicans on the Appropriations Committee. But, as Burgess argued, "The negatives far outweighed any positives... The whole process was wrong. The bill was too big. It came to us too late. We should do better... Let regular order proceed, and let members be heard. We are the representatives of the people that send us there, and if you shut out our voices, basically you're shutting up the people's voice.
Over in the Senate, where Republicans could have stopped the bill, the pressure to pass the Ukrainian aid won out. By a 68-31 vote, they sent the package to President Biden's desk -- with more than a little outrage from conservatives. "We should have passed funding for Ukraine two weeks ago," Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) fumed. "But instead, Democrats held it hostage so it could ram through thousands of earmarks, Green New Deal programs, the hiring of 10,000 IRS agents and other woke priorities buried in thousands of pages. This is a ridiculous process."
Like the House, senators had very little time to read the language -- which, apart from the 12 appropriations bills for government agencies, also included 20 other proposals that should have had standalone consideration. The controversial Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was one of them, along with whole bills like the "Israel Relations Normalization Act" or the "Burial Equity for Guards and Reserves Act." (The full list is in the index on pages 3 and 4 of the House-passed text.)
Both parties took the opportunity to stuff the package with pork, racking up a whopping $10 billion dollars in unrelated projects. To the Democrats' fury, new COVID relief was pulled from the House version of the package at the last minute which, as Burgess explained, was one of the only positive things about the entire process. Initially, the House -- at the GOP's insistence -- was going to pay for that pandemic aid with some of the unspent dollars of previous packages. In the end, Midwest Democrats revolted, insisting their states haven't gotten their fair share.
Once again, the Left leans on its dangerous new trend of buying votes with taxpayer dollars. We saw them try this same stunt last year when they took over the House and Senate and shamelessly fought to send direct payments to Americans -- including people in prison. It was so inconceivable that PolitiFact was forced to do a story on the rumor and concede that it was true. "Senate Democrats just voted to give stimulus checks to criminals in prison," Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) tweeted. "They haven't lost their jobs, they aren't worried about paying rent or buying groceries."
Democratic operatives have even copped to the party's self-serving motives, admitting, "All of this is part of the stew you need to put together to create a post-pandemic, economic boom in 2022... And if you succeed, there is a clear argument to make that Joe Biden and a Democratic Congress came in, got to work, rescued the economy and put money in your pocket. You can see the ads. But it's an ugly path to get there."
Ugly, indeed. As Politico pointed out last year, "Whatever political benefits were supposed to accrue from that package have seemingly faded. The public's support for the direct payments has been overtaken by its concerns about the lingering pandemic." A half-year later, those concerns aren't just COVID. They're sky-high inflation, jacked-up prices, supply shortages, war in Ukraine, global unrest, and a host of other things that voters won't easily forget -- no matter how much money Democrats send them.
** Tune into TBN's "Huckabee" this Saturday at 8 p.m. (ET) or Sunday at 9 p.m. (ET) to hear me discuss the push for woke ideology -- and how it's dividing America.