A lot is going on in the world right now, so you may have missed the federal government’s latest shenanigans. This week, the House of Representatives voted to pass a $1.5 trillion spending budget—even though almost none of our representatives had actually read the bill that they were voting on.
The House voted Wednesday to pass a multi-trillion-dollar “omnibus” spending bill that lumped the entire federal budget process into two votes. The final legislation was more than 2,700 pages!
Big picture, the outlined budget for fiscal year 2022 includes everything from increased military spending to increased domestic spending. In the fine print, it’s got everything from funding for a lefty environmentalist wet dream scheme known as a “Civilian Climate Corps,” to pay raises for soldiers, to billions in crony earmarks for projects in lawmakers’ home districts. (Go here for more details in this great breakdown by Isaac Saul of Tangle).
The scope of this spending legislation is astonishing.
But what’s so farcical about these developments is that members of Congress only received the 2,700+ page bill’s text at around 2:30 am Wednesday morning. They voted on it Wednesday afternoon! So, only members of leadership and those select few members chosen to huddle behind closed doors and draft the legislation actually knew what was in it.
I spoke to several congressional staffers who confirmed that their offices had less than 24 hours after receiving the 2,700+ page bill to decide their vote on it. They essentially had to vote blindly based on the big-picture analysis and headline summaries they were given. It was metaphysically impossible for their teams to skim—let alone read—the entire legislation before the vote.
And, of course, if they voted against this bill, they will now be accused of opposing pay increases for soldiers and being obstructionists who shut down the government.
To put it mildly, this system is incredibly messed up.
Whether you want the federal government limited to a very minor scope (like I do), love big government, or are even a literal Communist, we should all demand better than this simply as a matter of good governance. It’s reckless and offensive beyond description for lawmakers to vote to spend this much of our money without even getting time to read what they are voting on.
Thankfully, some leaders in the liberty movement are speaking out against this insanity.
“No member of Congress—no person—can read, understand, and analyze 2,741 pages and $1.5 trillion in spending in just a few hours,” quipped former congressman Justin Amash. “Voting for such a thing is beyond irresponsible. To do so is to place your political ambitions above your responsibility to the people you represent.”
“Do you think there is a single person in the U.S. who believes that Congress is filled with speed readers capable of digesting thousands of pages in a matter of hours?” Senator Rand Paul wryly asked.
“The 2741-page omnibus with a $1.5 trillion price tag that was released in the middle of the night is a perfect example of why Congress needs time to read the bills,” the libertarian-leaning Kentucky Republican continued.
In light of the recent $1.5 trillion spending package, I’m renewing my call for the Senate to pass my Read the Bills resolution which would provide sufficient time for legislation to be thoroughly reviewed.
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) March 11, 2022
Paul isn’t just complaining, the senator actually has a legislative solution for this dysfunction. His “Read the Bills” resolution would force leadership to give Congress enough time to actually do their due diligence before spending our money.
“My resolution would require bills, amendments, and conference reports to be filed for 1 day for every 20 pages before they can be considered, while leaving legislators room to act in emergencies,” Paul explained. “If my resolution was enacted, the current omnibus bill would take 137 days to be called for a vote in the Senate. Which would allow enough time for Congress to actually READ THE BILLS and understand their impact.”
Americans shouldn’t stand for the insane, dysfunctional status quo in Congress, where establishment leaders in both parties draft monstrous spending bills full of waste and handouts then force them on our representatives with hours before a vote to avoid proper scrutiny of their corruption. Enough is enough.