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First things . . . Richard Falknor on 01 Jan 2016 09:02 pm

The Omnibus: The Moral Failure of the House Conservatives — Did They Even Try To Derail The Omnibus Express?

The left-leaning Politico got it right when they declared “Conservatives give Ryan a pass on budget deal they despise” —

“But unlike past fiscal battles, when lawmakers took shots at GOP leaders and tried to tank bills, this time conservatives are largely holding their fire. Even as they vow to oppose the package, many are still praising Speaker Paul Ryan’s handling of the $1.1 trillion spending bill and $680 billion in tax breaks.” (Highlighting Forum’s)
“Virginia Republican Dave Brat, a Freedom Caucus member who also sits on the budget panel, said Ryan has also gained support because he has been ‘credible on regular order’ — Congress-speak for empowering committees and rank-and-file members — and has already teed up the budget process for the beginning of 2016, a starting point unheard of in recent years.
‘The end product here is just cleaning the barn; it’s a disaster,’ Brat said of the spending and tax deal. ‘We’re breaking our pledge on the budget caps to the American people, we’ve lost fiscal discipline, and we’re throwing it all on the next generation.’
But in the same breath, Brat praised Ryan: ‘Not only is he saying the right things, he is lining it up to do the right things … and then leadership can’t hijack the budget at the end of the year and throw in the kitchen sink, which we just did.’
Praise from members of the conservative flank is a sign that they believe Ryan (R-Wis.) is trying to chart a new course in his nascent speakership. The conservatives feel more included in the process and said Ryan’s staff has been vocal about wanting their feedback. But the lawmakers are also planning to watch the speaker closely in 2016, when they say he’ll have more control over the appropriations process and Boehner can’t be blamed.” (Highlighting Forum’s)

But PowerLine’s Paul Mirengoff has a sharper perspective in his “GOP leadership caves on Gosar Amendment”–

“From the Politico article, it’s clear that Freedom Caucus members like that Ryan is giving them face time. This represents the triumph of vanity over principle. Ryan is playing these folks and they seem happy enough to be played. (Highlighting Forum’s)
Ted Cruz likes to talk about the ‘Washington Cartel’ — the leaders from both parties who, he says, make sure business continues as usual, to the people’s detriment. Cruz’s rhetoric seemed extravagant to me, but now I wonder whether it is apt.”

Last week Mirengoff added further insights in his “The problem with Speaker Ryan in one headline”–

“[Amber] Phillips’ [WP] article does a good job of explaining how Ryan managed to sell out conservatives without drawing the ire of his conservative colleagues. She demonstrates the problem with House conservatives in two paragraphs:
Ryan managed to negotiate a spending bill with Democrats in the same manner and with largely the same outcomes that Boehner likely would have. But Ryan did it without earning the same kind of vitriol from the right flank of his party that Boehner likely would have. The group on the right didn’t like the spending bill, and many didn’t vote for it, but they didn’t call Ryan names for negotiating it with Democrats.
Knowing he was at risk of being compared to the politically toxic former speaker during these negotiations, Ryan did his best to subtly draw contrasts with Boehner outside of them — Boehner smokes and drinks; Ryan works out every morning. Boehner stacked powerful committees with his allies; Ryan opened the positions up to the whole House.
Apparently all it takes to turn House conservatives into poodles is a morning workout and the promise of ‘openness.’ Amazing.” (Highlighting Forum’s)

Who Voted Against The Consolidated Appropriations
Act of 2016 &
The Rule Enabling Its Consideration?

Take a look who voted no on these two bills:

Think about this. If just 40 of the 95 Republican members (42%) who voted against the bill itself had earlier voted against the Rule (together with the 183 Democrats who did so), they might well have brought the Omnibus Railroad to a halt.  

The reasonable and publicly defensible objective would have been to enact a further continuing resolution until mid or late-January (as Americans for Limited Government urged), allowing both the members of the Congress and the public carefully to examine and consider this enormous legislative package.

Daniel Horowitz summed up the Omnibus problem in his “Paul Ryan’s 11 Christmas Gifts to Obama–

“At 1:34 on Wednesday morning [December 16], the party of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan dropped their Christmas package off at the White House lawn in the form of a 2,009-page omnibus spending bill and a 233-page tax subsidy bill.  The House plans to vote on the tax bill today and the spending bill tomorrow [December 18].  The enormity of this betrayal is breathtaking. At the same time, however, it perfectly illustrates why the American people are done with the Republican Party as currently constituted, as witnessed by the direction of the presidential primary.  Amazingly, many ‘D.C. conservatives’ are giving Paul Ryan a pass.” (Highlighting Forum’s)

Perhaps even a seriously organized pushback of House conservatives against rushing this monstrous Omnibus to approval might have failed — with Nancy Pelosi getting enough Democrats and Ryan enough Republican Poodles to get the House to approve a Rule giving the green light to the Omnibus Railroad before Christmas.

But if House conservatives had pushed back hard against the GOP leadership on the Omnibus, whatever the outcome, they would have kept their credibility — and their honor — for the future.

* * * * * * * * *

For readers’ quick reference, the following articles make it very clear what this Omnibus should have accomplished, and suggest just some of the damage already identified in that lamentable measure.

“By locking in the President’s refugee, immigration, and spending priorities, Ryan’s bill is designed to keep these fights out of Congress by getting them off the table for good. Delivering Obama these wins–and pushing these issues beyond the purview of Congress–will suppress public attention to the issues and, in so doing, will boost the candidacy of the Republican establishment’s preferred presidential contenders, who favor President Obama’s immigration agenda.” (Highlighting Forum’s)

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