Is This The Beginning of Change We Can Believe In?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, citing lack of votes, has killed the 1,924 page Omnibus spending bill he had introduced last week.

In a Wall Street Journal editorial Kimberley Strassel provides a dramatic narrative of the events leading up to the defeat of the Democrats’ $1.1 trillion, Omnibus spending bill, including some 6,000 earmarks.

The wretched Omnibus was the Democrats’ last desperate attempt to control spending in 2011,  Even with an overwhelming majority in both the House and the Senate, they failed to enact a 2011 budget and the twelve Appropriations bills that would fund government’s departments and agencies through the end of fiscal 2011.  So they tried to wrap all twelve appropriations into one, incomprehensible colossus.

After several days of uncertainty The Democrats’ plan to divide the GOP by offering earmarks that would have smuggled some pork into wobbly Republican Senators’ home states failed spectacularly.  Majority Leader Harry Reid was forced to withdraw the Omnibus after several Democrats joined the united Republicans against it.

Has the GOP finally grown a spine?  Will the new Congress follow up with genuine spending cuts?  There certainly is reason to hope.  And not a moment too soon.  As the table shows there have already been substantial spending increases in the first two months of the 2011 fiscal year, October and November.

The cost of Unemployment benefits is up even though there were 1.3 million fewer people receiving benefits.  The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to meddle in local public schools or to insure crops.  Yet those two programs saw the biggest windfall increases.  Its doubtful that there is a reasonable explanation for such a large increase in the Department of Energy, which has utterly failed to achieve it’s original mission of ensuring an abundant supply cheap energy.

It appears the new Republican House of Representatives will have to act with great urgency to rein in stubborn, automatic spending increases.

No funds have been authorized to hire the staff and do the bureaucratic work to implement ObamaCare, including drafting thousands of new regulations.  If the Republicans are serious about their campaign pledge to repeal or otherwise paralyze ObamaCare the Democrats have handed them a terrific opportunity.  They can pass appropriations bills that forbid spending any funds to implement the various provisions of ObamaCare.

With a few notable exceptions Republican Senators and Congressmen have been disappointing in their willingness to “go along and get along” during the past half century of rapid expansion in the power, reach and cost of the federal government.  But if they are now committed not only to smaller increases but to genuine decreases in government’s cost and power, defeating this Omnibus is a great start.

Here at Liberty Works We’ll continue to be optimistic but vigilant.

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