Open letter: the "CRomnibus" funding bill & more hostage-taking
December 12, 2014
Here we go again.
Government funding bills over the last few years have taken on a depressingly familiar pattern: hostage-taking. "Give us what we want, or the government shuts down."
This time, the so-called "CRomnibus bill" to emerge from the House of Representatives has a whole goody-bag of Christmas gifts for the privileged: rollback of what few restrictions (Dodd-Frank) emerged to try to prevent financial institutions gambling the country away—again—for their own profit, injecting even more big-donation money into an already-corrupt campaign finance system, cutting funding for the IRS (making avoidance and evasion of tax by the biggest earners that much easier), and cutting funding for the EPA not only at a time when global warming is an ever-growing universal threat, but in a year when twice large swaths of Americans found themselves WITHOUT CLEAN DRINKING WATER.
There has been been argument, from the White House and elsewhere, that "we should take the deal we can get." But if all of these issues are ones that Democrats are willing to concede even before Republicans move in to take control of the Senate, how much MORE will be given up in the next two years? How many long-term, major, structural concessions must Democrats make in order to get even short-term funding passed?
What few "concessions" Republicans have made in this bill are transitory. Funding for DHS is continued only through February, while other funding goes through September, ensuring that Republicans will quickly be able to pass punitive measures against what they characterize as "immigration amnesty." The campaign against "Obamacare" is likely to be a key point of Republican policy leading up to the 2016 elections, so allowing its funding to continue for now just allows that issue to be front and center to their own advantage.
Republicans have given up essentially nothing, while Democrats—and the vast majority of Americans—have to give up much under the bill. And rather than exhibiting leadership for America, far too many Democrats are sounding the bell of "you have to go along to get along," a theme to which, certainly of late, Republicans NEVER subscribe.
This bill is a bad bill. Saying "but it could be worse" only ensures that worse is on the near horizon. Don't just pass this bill as it stands.