Entries in Omnibus (2)


Earmark Hypocrisy? GOP Leaders Grilled on Spending

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and John Thune, R-S.D., held a press conference Wednesday to rip the Democrats' new 1,924-page, $1.1-trillion omnibus bill for containing $8 billion worth of earmarks.

"The bill is loaded up with pork projects, and it shouldn't get a vote," Thune said.

"I think this is an outrage," railed Cornyn.

But Thune and Cornyn have tens of millions of dollars for their own earmarks in the bill, including Thune's request for $8 million for B-1 bomber fleet maintenance and Cornyn's request for $1.6 million for the Texas Army National Guard Counter-Drug Task Force.

"How do you have any credibility on this?" ABC's Jon Karl asked.

"Because we're going to vote against the bill," said Cornyn. "This is the wrong way to do business."

"Senator, were you wrong when you put these earmarks in before?," Karl asked.

"Karl, this is not just about earmarks," said Cornyn. "Earmarks are a symptom of wasteful Washington spending that the American people have said they want reformed. We agree with them, and that's why we will vote against this bill. But you're missing the story if you think it's just about earmarks. This is about a flawed process of sweetheart deals cut behind closed doors, and a big bill, a spending bill, dropped on the American people and on us on December the 14th, without adequate time to amend it and debate it and to reveal to the American people what is in it so they can cast their judgment."

"So I think -- I think that's to me the context. And we've said very clearly -- we voted for an earmark moratorium. We will abide by that, and we will reject any earmarks requested by us or anyone else, because that's what the American people told us they want."

"Is that an acknowledgement that what you did was wrong, to include the earmarks in the first place?," Karl said.

"I think you've asked the question about five times, and I've tried to answer it to the best of my ability," Cornyn responded.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 


A Week Away From Government Shutdown, Senate Set to Take Up Omnibus

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For all the talk about taxes lately, the Senate’s only must-do issue in the lame-duck session is extending government funding into next year, a fight that appears set to take place late next week.

Senators are up against a clear deadline: the latest continuing resolution to keep the government running ends at 12:01a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19. Either Congress acts before then or there is a federal shutdown.

The House has already acted. On Wednesday, the lower chamber of Congress passed a new continuing resolution worth $1.1 trillion to fund the government through the end of the 2011 fiscal year. The House bill contains a two-year freeze on federal civilian worker pay, resolves revenue discrepancies with the Senate’s food safety bill, includes a provision that bans the transfer of terrorism suspects from the Guantanamo Bay prison to the US, provides $513 billion overall for the Pentagon and freezes discretionary spending at 2010 levels.

But the Senate next week is likely to amend the bill into a $1.1 trillion omnibus measure crafted by Sen. Daniel Inouye, chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill will reportedly provide around $20 billion more than the House one.

Whatever happens, it will have to happen fast. The Senate is set to have its first procedural vote on the tax bill Monday, so it is likely that the chamber will not take up the omnibus until Wednesday at the earliest. That would mean that both the Senate and the House would have to pass it by the end of Saturday if lawmakers are to avert a government shutdown.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio