After a rather stinging threat to veto it, President Trump relented and signed Congress’ $1.3 trillion spending bill on Friday.
Maybe it was a good thing, maybe not. But we know who’s cheering the most: Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell.
Trump reluctantly signed the bill to avoid a government shutdown Friday at midnight.
The two engineered the omnibus spending bill – which doesn’t deal with the so-called “Dreamers,” doesn’t fund President Trump’s border wall and will create massive deficits. But what it does do is give Senate employees a massive pay increase.
The bill will raise the salaries of “officers and employees” of the United States Senate by $12.6 million in the coming year.
The new bill increases the budget of the Senate to almost one billion dollars, at $919.9 million. That’s up by $50 million from last year.
Justifying the increase, the summary states “the increase provides funding necessary for critical modernization and upgrades of the Senate financial management system and investments in IT security.”
The House also decided to increase their budget, but not their salaries. It costs $1.2 billion to run the House of Representatives, a $11 million increase over last year.
The salaries of Senate staffers will go from $182 million to $194.8 million this year. Also, Senators managed to increase their annual “expense account” from $177,000 to $192,000. That’s per year, folks.
But it’s not just fat paychecks that are the shocker. Being an “omnibus” bill, there’s plenty of bizarre pork to go around, including $4 million to combat “excessive alcohol use” through the Centers for Disease Control; $15 million to “study” “high-obesity counties,” and a bizarre $2 million to prevent “elderly falls.” (That’s a lot of walkers.)
Not enough? The bill spends more than $8 million in what’s called “breastfeeding grants” and mandates the feds to “improve wine label accuracy.”
There’s $1 million for the “Cultural Antiquities Task Force,” whatever that is; $6.25 million for the “Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation;” $7 million for promoting international conservation (not US conservation, international conservation) and $10 million for “disadvantaged Egyptian students.”
The bill increases farm subsidies, provides $50 million to “recognize signs of gun violence,” $380 million for local jurisdictions to update their voting technology and a budget of $6 billion to the National Science Foundation.
Yes, despite an official ban on “earmarks,” there’s plenty to go around.
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On – 24 Mar, 2018 By Robert Gehl