Five Things Wrong With Congress’s Omnibus Spending Bill

Five Things Wrong With Congress’s Omnibus Spending Bill

Congress is running out of time to fund the government, and last night, they came to a $1.1 trillion agreement. But they’re not letting this crisis go to waste – the omnibus bill is packed with special interest handouts and riders that will weaken our democracy.

The $1.1 trillion omnibus bill President Obama just signed is packed with special interest handouts and riders that will weaken our democracy.  

Here are five major problems in it you should know about:

Helps the Wealthy Buy More Political Power

A provision pushed by Sen. Mitch McConnell raises the maximum amount lawmakers can solicit from individual donors for their party committees each election from $259,200 to $1,555,200 — that’s a 500% increase. No wonder they had to sneak it in – the provision is on page 1,599 of 1,603 of the bill.

Blocks Voting Rights in Washington, DC

The nearly 650,000 residents of our nation’s capital – more than live in Vermont or Wyoming — still lack full voting rights and voting representation in Congress. This bill just makes it worse, by prohibiting the District from using its own tax dollars to try to give its citizens a voice in our federal government.

Keeps Dark Money in the Dark

President Obama has the authority to require companies that contract with the federal government to disclose their political contributions – just like he did with the minimum wage. It’s one of the few ways he can curb the dark money flooding our elections without going through Congress, but unsurprisingly, this bill takes away that option. The IRS, tasked with keeping an eye on dark money groups, will also see its budget cut by $345.6 million to the lowest level since 2008.

Freezes Funding For Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission is gearing up to announce historic Open Internet rules in early 2015, but this bill, which freezes their funding at $340 million, makes that a lot harder. That’s great news for the big telecoms, who gave millions to members of Congress this election– and now, they’re getting their money’s worth.

Pays Back Big Election Spenders

The bill weakens rules on Wall Street and backs up big banks’ risky bets with federal funds.  Wall Street institutions spent over $435.9 million in the 2014 elections to elect a Congress that works for them – but they’re not the only ones whose bets are paying off. The bill also cuts the EPA’s funding, which Big Oil is sure to celebrate, and it includes a provision that the NRA, which spent $27.4 million in 2014, asked for by name.