5 Reasons Why Democrats Should Vote “No” on the CRomnibus

    167
    6
    SHARE

    (It passed, 219-206, with 57 Dems and 162 Republicans voting “aye.” 139 Dems and 67 Republicans voted “nay.” – promoted by lowkell)

    There are so many bad parts to the “CRomnibus” that’s being debated right now in Congress, it’s hard to know where to start. Despite how bad it is, the Obama administration is pushing hard to pass it, under the theory that things will only get worse next year, when Teapublicans take over the Senate. And while I DO agree that things will get worse next year, there’s just so much bad stuff in the CRomnibus, my conclusion is that Democrats should vote no and force Boehner to supply all the votes from his caucus. If he can’t, then let him compromise for once, take out the worst provisions of this bill (I’ve listed just a few below), and then rely on unanimous/near-unanimous Democrats, plus a handful of sane Republicans, to pass it if that’s what it takes. With that, here are 5 reasons why Democrats should vote “no” on the CRomnibus.

    1. It sucks for the environment and clean energy. For instance: it cuts the EPA’s budget by $60 million, when we should be cranking UP the EPA’s budget; it blocks regulation of lead ammunition which is deadly to wildlife; and it “would allow the Ex-Im Bank and OPIC to finance coal-fired power plants abroad, despite the fact that the Ex-Im Bank adopted guidelines last year that prohibited the financing of most coal-fired power plants, unless they used carbon capture technology.”

    2. It gives “Wall Street two early Christmas presents”. The biggest problem is that it “repeals the swaps pushout rule,” which “put new limits on how banks that receive taxpayer backing can use high-risk financial instruments known as a swaps, which were a key driver of the last financial crisis.”

    3. It’s also a big Christmas present – for tax evaders. “The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) enforcement division budget is being cut to under $4.9 billion for 2015.”

    4. It worsens the role of money in politics and continues the selling of our “democracy” – or whatever is left of it – to the wealthy, corporations, etc.. “The cromnibus moves the decimal point on that cap, allowing annual contributions of up to $324,000 to the Republican or Democratic national committees. An expert who helped draft that landmark campaign finance reform law told Bloomberg the deal is ‘an unholy alliance to emasculate the national party contribution limits that were enacted to prevent corruption.'”

    5. It’s long past time for Democrats to stand up to right-wing bullies. As our friend Kindler tweets, “Dear Democrats: the way to deal with bullies is not to let them beat you up a little bit.  It’s to fight back until they lay off.” I’d just add that we’ve seen this over and over again throughout Barack Obama’s presidency, and I’m not convinced it’s ever really ended well (e.g., sequestration anyone? letting just a small percentage of the idiotic Bush tax cuts expire?).

    • Source

      As retiring Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia said in January, “Democrats will ask, ‘What have we done to ourselves?'”

      “This particular experience, as with many others, has validated my decision to leave,” Moran said.

      Moran told reporters that Republicans needed 80 Democrats to vote for the cromnibus for it to pass. He predicted Democrats could probably get between 50 and 60.

    • kindler

      …growing up in the Chicago Public Schools!  ;-(

      My opinion is this — yes, you need to make some compromises in a divided government.  But this is NOT the way to do it — sticking a rider that increases campaign contributions TEN TIMES in the back of a 1600 page bill with zero discussion or debate?  

      I dare Mitch McConnell or any of the other clowns who slipped that in there to tell me to my face that that’s how a free and open democracy works.  If we stand for anything, we need to stand up against this elitist perversion of the core principles upon which this country was founded.  

    • Source

      “It is very up in the air,” Representative Gerry Connolly, D-Virginia, said after the vote on the rule. “The vote on the rule was the easier of the two votes for them,” he said of Republicans. “They’re in worse shape on the bill itself; they need a lot of Democratic votes, maybe more than we were thinking.”

    • Congressman Connolly Votes for Funding Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown

      Calls His Support for ‘Cromnibus’ Bill a ‘Hold-Your-Nose Vote’

      WASHINGTON – Congressman Gerry Connolly joined a bipartisan coalition of House members Thursday night in voting for legislation to fund the federal government until September 30, 2015, the end of the fiscal year.   President Obama announced his support for the funding measure.

      Calling his support for the so-called “Cromnibus” bill “a hold your nose vote,” Connolly said it was bad policy for the House majority to refuse to set aside its ideological agenda and take the country to the brink of another government shutdown before finally bringing a funding bill to the floor.

      “There is much to celebrate in this bill, and there is much to reject,” Connolly said. “Absent a perfect world, however, I had to weigh two basic questions: Can we afford to risk another government shutdown, and will the budget numbers and policy riders improve in the next, all-Republican-controlled Congress?”

      Connolly said his answer to both questions “is a decisive No.”  Accordingly, he voted for the omnibus compromise for fiscal 2015.

      Congressman Connolly’s full statement on his vote is below:

      “The bill before the House today is not a perfect bill, and certainly not the bill I would have written. For me, and many of my colleagues, this represents another “hold-your-nose vote.” But it does represent some modicum of compromise that I hope carries Congress into a more productive New Year.

      “This package ensures that funding levels in the next fiscal year are more robust than we could hope for, and expect, from a GOP majority in both the House and Senate next Congress.

      “It also protects critical investments in our shared Northern Virginia priorities, specifically, maintaining the federal government’s $150 million commitment to Metro in partnership with Virginia, Maryland, and DC, expanding investments in research and development and medical research funding, and offering some budget certainty for our Northern Virginia contracting community that provides critical services to the federal government.

      “And, after years of enduring pay freezes, furloughs, and contributing more than $114 billion in deficit reduction – sacrifices no other group was asked to do — federal employees will finally receive a pay raise. I will continue to push Congress to pass my FAIR Act legislation that would provide federal employees the true compensation they deserve, and I hope this is a signal of the end to the House majority’s unrelenting political demagoguery of our federal workforce.

      “While both sides of the aisle were forced to make sacrifices for this compromise, it troubles me that the House majority was once again unwilling to set aside its own ideological agenda.

      “House Republicans continued their assault on the environment, cutting funding to EPA by more than $2.2 billion from 2010 levels, almost a 21% reduction, and scaling back Clean Water Act protections. They’ve slashed more than $345.6 million from the IRS, leaving billions of uncollected tax revenue — and lost deficit reduction — on the table. They’ve furthered their efforts to hand over our elections to the highest bidder by weakening campaign finance legislation. They once again refuse to give the District of Columbia basic autonomy over its own finances and governance. And they’ve set up inevitable gridlock on important border security and immigration challenges by refusing to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security. These don’t represent our Northern Virginia values.

      “On foreign affairs, this bill is an equally mixed bag. It contains essential funding for the fight against ISIL and our efforts to stem the spread of Ebola. It also enforces a policy of non-recognition with regard to Russian sovereignty over Crimea that I have long-championed and believe to be the foundation of U.S. policy towards the Russia-invoked crisis in Ukraine. However, this bill allows military assistance to continue to flow to the el-Sisi government without making progress on human rights or strengthening Egyptian democratic institutions.    

      “This is a hold-your-nose vote for many of us. There is much to celebrate in this bill, and there is much to reject. Absent a perfect world, however, I had to weigh two basic questions: Can we afford to risk another government shutdown, and will the budget numbers and policy riders improve in the next, all Republican controlled Congress? My answer to both questions is a decisive No. Accordingly, I voted for the omnibus compromise for fiscal 2015.”

       

    • fendertweed

      I worked there for ~26 years …I’m not saying vote for this bill or don’t (there are some terrible things in it) but …

      … the cut here is a drop in the bucket compared to the cuts that Obama has imposed on EPA since 2010.

      Under Obama, EPA’s budget has been cut ~20%.  He is a joke when it comes to environmental issues when the rubber hits the road, i.e., when it comes to actually funding things.

      So this bill is not good but compared to the self-inflicted slashing by Obama, it’s piddling.  You can’t blame right-wing bullies for this, Obama has gone along with and even proposed cuts nearly every year at EPA.

      The state of the Agency has declined as far and as fast under Obama (maybe faster in areas like enforcement) than it did under Bush II, as horrible as he was.

      One of the great fallacies in politics is Democratic support for the environment.  Reagan was a disaster.  Bush I actually had the most professional and highly functional EPA management team I saw in the last 30 yrs.  The decline started precipitously under Clinton, accelerated under Bush II, and has been raised to new levels of utter incompetence and open cronyism under Obama.  The quality of appointments to senior management positions under Obama is appallingly bad.  

      It gives me no pleasure to say this, but those are the facts as I saw and lived them daily as an enforcement manager for more than 20 years.

      And just to short-circuit any knee-jerk partisan comments, I am not a Republican.  I despise the Republicans.  But I am disgusted at what I’ve seen from the Dems in the past 5 years (plus Clinton’s term).

    • Jim B

      When a republican votes for a republican they know pretty much what they are getting not so much for democrats.

      Obama in this past week has shown he is out to lunch. First the torture deal and now corporate give away.