Our Voices Arkansas

The Voices of Grassroots Conservatives Across Arkansas

Dec 21, 2014

That Christmas Tree Spending Bill

Just like Santa, we made a list, but this one’s all about the good and bad pieces of that 1700-page “CRomnibus” spending bill Congress just passed. Representative Marcy Kaptur, an Ohio Democrat and a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, criticized the $1.1 trillion “Christmas tree bill” decorated with “dangerous and unwelcome, nongermane riders,”...

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christmas-tree-spending-billJust like Santa, we made a list, but this one’s all about the good and bad pieces of that 1700-page “CRomnibus” spending bill Congress just passed.

Representative Marcy Kaptur, an Ohio Democrat and a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, criticized the $1.1 trillion “Christmas tree bill” decorated with “dangerous and unwelcome, nongermane riders,” but Republican Speaker John Boehner said “this bipartisan bill was needed to keep the government open” and get us back to regular order in Congress.

We’ll let you decide … bad or good?  The bill includes provisions for:

rd-squiggle  a pay freeze for the vice president and certain senior political appointees

rd-squiggle  relief to nonprofit Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans that have certain tax breaks that were threatened by Obamacare

rd-squiggle  $94 billion for new military equipment, including 87 Blackhawk helicopters, 38 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and two attack submarines

rd-squiggle  a 1% military pay raise

rd-squiggle  a hike in the amount a single donor can give to national party committees from $97,000 to as much as $777,600

rd-squiggle  keeping the federal government from requiring less salt in school lunches

rd-squiggle  exempting schools from school lunch guidelines requiring whole-grain pasta and tortillas

rd-squiggle  $485 million in aid to countries to counter Russian aggression in their part of the world

rd-squiggle  $69 million in additional funding to process veterans’ disability claims

rd-squiggle  $30 million in new funding for the National Institutes of Health (for a total of $30B)

rd-squiggle  increased funding for Alzheimer’s, cancer and brain research via the NIH

rd-squiggle  $5.4 billion in emergency funds to fight Ebola in West Africa

rd-squiggle  $64 billion in war funds to combat the rise of the Islamic State and for overseas operations in Iraq and Afghanistan

rd-squiggle  $4.5 million for the Agriculture Department to fight plant diseases (particularly a disease that’s threatening the U.S. citrus industry)

rd-squiggle  $2 million to address a virus hurting the U.S. pork industry

rd-squiggle  $93 million in additional funds for the FBI

rd-squiggle  $21 million additional funds for the Drug Enforcement Agency

rd-squiggle  $367 million to combat prescription drug abuse

rd-squiggle  $46 million in new funds to boost U.S. embassy security world-wide

rd-squiggle  an increase the maximum Pell Grant to $5,830

rd-squiggle  allowing white potatoes to be added to the federal food program that assists women and children

rd-squiggle  keeping Washington D.C. from using federal or state funds to implement the legalization of marijuana that the voters passed

rd-squiggle  banning the Department of Justice from using federal funds to oppose state medical-marijuana laws (cannot raid marijuana dispensaries in legal-marijuana states, for example)

rd-squiggle  the withdrawal of a new rule defining how the Clean Water Act applies to certain agricultural conservation practices and preventing the Army Corps of Engineers from regulating farm ponds and irrigation ditches under the Clean Water Act

rd-squiggle  keeping the EPA from restricting methane produced by livestock

rd-squiggle  additional money for an unnamed “heritage area” specified in Section 157 of title I of Public Law 106-291 (which established a national heritage area in Wheeling, W.Va., to celebrate the area’s role in American history)

rd-squiggle  renewing a travel promotion program championed by the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid and Las Vegas casinos

rd-squiggle  cuts in EPA funding by $60 million and further reducing staffing levels to lowest point since 1989

rd-squiggle  preventing the EPA regulation of lead used in ammunition

rd-squiggle  preventing the EPA from putting the sage-grouse on the Endangered Species List

rd-squiggle  repeal of Dodd-Frank requirements that required banks to set up affiliates—that were ineligible for federal benefits—in order to deal in riskier forms of derivatives trading called “swaps”

rd-squiggle  additional funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission

rd-squiggle  cuts in IRS funding by $345.6 million (lowest funding levels since 2008)

rd-squiggle  allowing underfunded multi-employer pension plans to cut benefits for millions of current retirees

rd-squiggle  banning the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the U.S. (still allows transfer to other countries)

rd-squiggle  easing trucker scheduling regulations originally implemented to prevent driver fatigue

rd-squiggle  $1 million “to compensate ranchers for livestock killed by wolves”

rd-squiggle  $2 million to stop the spread of invasive quagga and zebra mussels into the western U.S.

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