(Ben Sargent via GoComics.com)
Well, the spending bill has been unveiled, and to call it a dog’s breakfast would be a slur on the gustatory fastidiousness of the average street cur. Per the Washington Post:
Congressional negotiators unveiled a $1.1 trillion funding bill late Monday that would ease sharp spending cuts known as the sequester while providing fresh cash for new priorities, including President Obama’s push to expand early-childhood education.
The 1,582-page bill would fully restore cuts to Head Start, partially restore cuts to medical research and job training programs, and finance new programs to combat sexual assault in the military. It would also give all federal workers a 1 percent raise…
The White House and leaders of both parties praised the measure, which would fund federal agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year and end the lingering threat of a government shutdown when the current funding bill expires at midnight Wednesday….
The measure would continue a ban on transferring terrorism detainees at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to sites in the United States. It would also withhold additional funding for the government of Afghanistan until the country agrees to a new bilateral security agreement. And the measure would ban foreign aid for Libya until Secretary of State John F. Kerry “confirms Libyan cooperation” with ongoing investigations into the Sept. 11, 2012, attack at the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.
The measure would also provide new congressional backing for Obama’s strategy of continuing aid to Egypt, despite a law that forbids U.S. military aid to governments that have taken power by military coup, as Egypt’s interim military-backed government did in July.
Several issues regarding gun control are also included in the bill. The legislation restricts the Justice and Homeland Security departments from establishing programs similar to the “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking effort. In response to allegations that the administration has been stockpiling ammunition for use by federal agents, the measure also requires Homeland Security to provide detailed reports on its purchase and use of ammunition….
The NYTimes chooses to look on the bright side:
… The hefty bill, filed in the House on Monday night, neutralized almost all of the 134 policy provisions that House Republicans had hoped to include, with negotiators opting for cooperation over confrontation after the 16-day government shutdown in October…
The compromises may be difficult to accept for conservative Republicans, many of whom campaigned in 2010 vowing never to vote on a phone-book-size bill they have not had time to read. And because many of them will balk, the bill will have to have bipartisan support to pass.
Republican and Democratic leaders said they believed they would easily get majorities in the House and Senate, but not without loud protests from both the right and the left.
… What’s most telling is to compare the numbers now with spending levels six years ago for fiscal 2008 — the last full budget cycle under Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush.
Total discretionary spending for 2008 was $1.176 trillion, more than half of which, or $642.1 billion, was designated for the Pentagon and military operations — in Iraq then as well as Afghanistan.
That left $534.4 billion among the 11 other appropriations bills, almost exactly what will be the case now in the 2014 omnibus. The big difference is inflation. And when the Bush dollars are adjusted upward to reflect changes in the cost of living since 2008, it shows that Obama will be left with about 10 percent, or $53 billion, less than his predecessor.
And it’ll all have to be done again, come September! Apart from reminding ourselves that half a loaf is supposed to be better than no bread, what’s on the agenda for the day?