Omnibus double whammy: The Dems’ lame-duck land grabs
Yesterday, Senate Democrats dropped their 1,924-page omnibus spending bomb on Capitol Hill. My column today reports on the other omnibus bomb up their sleeves — a massive omnibus land grab that Dingy Harry Reid vowed yesterday to bring up before the stretched-out lame-duck session ends. It’s green pork galore: “Reid’s staff sees a natural resources omnibus as a rare chance for members to bring something home to their districts and therefore worth the extra time needed to see such a large bill through to completion.”
Many of the items on the enviros’ wish list have been divvied up between the omnibus spending bill and the omnibus lands bill. (I’ve uploaded them both below for easy reference.) A San Francisco Bay restoration grant program pushed by Sen. Boxer (p. 874), Great Lakes watershed program (p. 626), Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta heritage designation (p.880), and Montana forest and watershed plan pushed by Sen. Tester (p. 897) are among the eco-goodies stuffed into the omnibus spending bill. Dozens of other land grabs have been bundled together in the omnibus lands bill, including several projects in Reid’s home state of Nevada, as I note below.
Sen. Tester’s GOP opponent summed up the transparency-evading tactics perfectly:
Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, who many Republicans hope will run against Tester in 2012, slammed the inclusion of Tester’s bill in the spending package without undergoing a full committee hearings process in both chambers.
“This is government at its worst,” Rehberg said. “These are exactly the sort of underhanded tactics the American people rejected in November. Apparently, the message didn’t get through.” He called it “a shameful attempt to force-feed Montanans another dose of big-government.”
Not just Montanans. All of us.