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Congressman Jason Smith

Representing the 8th District of Missouri

Capitol Report: $1.1 Trillion Bill Should Not be Rushed Through Congress

Jan 17, 2014
Weekly Capitol Report

This week the House of Representatives voted on a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund government activity through October of this year. I opposed the bill, also known as an Omnibus Appropriations. Since my campaign for Congress, I have advocated for an open and transparent appropriations process. This omnibus appropriations bill was rushed through Congress at the last minute without a single hearing. If we ever hope to reign in our crushing national debt, we must return to regular order with the appropriations process.

In years past, the appropriations process worked more responsibly.  Historically, the House Appropriations Committee would write 12 different funding bills that would have hearings in the committee and then receive time on the House floor for debate and amendments. This Omnibus bill is a combination of all 12 normal appropriations. Not a single hearing was held to debate the bill in committee. No amendments were allowed on the bill. Members were given very little time to debate the bill on the House floor. I cannot in good conscience vote for a $1.1 trillion bill that has not been properly vetted.

This massive spending bill was made available to Members of Congress less than 48 hours before it was voted on. The bill is 1,582 pages long. I find it hard to believe that anyone had the time needed to study the legislation. We learned with ObamaCare what happens when Congress rushes massive new legislation to a vote before the bill can be read. We must stop repeating the same mistakes.

The Omnibus Bill funds ObamaCare, while hurting rural communities and schools in Missouri. Included in the bill is funding for the President’s healthcare law, including subsidies for health insurance plans that provide abortion services. Taxpayer dollars should never be used to fund abortions. While this bill funds ObamaCare, it does not fund the $1.2 million for PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) which is owed to small towns, school districts and counties throughout our Eighth Congressional District. Removing vital funding from rural Missouri to pay for ObamaCare is simply wrong.

While I appreciate efforts to keep the federal government open for business, I could not support a 1,582 page bills that spends over $1.1 trillion dollars when I did not even have the opportunity to be part of the process. Bottom line, if Congress wants to get our fiscal house is order and to start paying down our nation’s massive national debt, we must restore regular order to the appropriations process.