By week’s end, Congress will likely dole out 1,300,000,000,000 dollars in a massive thousand-plus page spending bill.
- That is $1.3 trillion.
- That is the equivalent of 130 million years of an average American’s taxes.
- That is the market value of Amazon and Facebook combined.
- That is the same amount that the federal government spent during its first 170 years.
- That is more than the net worth of the 20 richest people in the world.
And unless your Senator and Congressmen is in leadership – he or she has not seen the bill yet. But your representatives will have to vote on it tomorrow or Thursday – likely without any opportunity to change how a single dollar is spent.
The massive bill will fund everything from the Department of Defense to the National Endowment for the Arts. It will likely contain many critical and controversial non-spending policy provisions (called riders because they catch a ride on a must- pass spending bill). This is the pinnacle of Congress representing their constituents by prioritizing and directing where our tax dollars should go. Yet most of them will be completely shut out of the process.
To understand why the process is run this way – all you need to do is look at this headline: Departing Appropriations Chairmen Set to Reap Omnibus Bounty. Rather than publicly debating and amending this massive spending bill that, all the decisions are made behind closed doors and rolled out at the last minute for Congress to vote on wholesale. Take it or leave it – but if you leave it, the government shuts down.
This binary budgeting process precludes any possibility for Congress to eliminate non-essential programs and redirect those resources to ensure important programs receive adequate funding. Instead of debating how to eliminate the litany of waste, fraud, abuse, and duplication throughout the federal government – such as $630,000 for empty parking spaces or million on unused cars – your member of Congress has been relegated to the controller of an on/off switch.
To say that the Congressional budgeting process is broken is a massive understatement. Add this to the list why the American people – especially the younger Americans that will be stuck footing the bill for this irresponsible governance – must say that enough is enough.