The House and Senate increased their own budgets in the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package.
The Senate increased its total salaries of officers and employees by $12.6 million in the 2,232-page bill that lawmakers had fewer than 48 hours to read and vote on. The bill avoids a government shutdown that would take place at midnight on Friday.
The approval rating of Congress is near a record low — but that hasn’t stopped America’s lawmakers from essentially giving themselves bonuses.
“The Senate increased its total salaries of officers and employees by $12.6 million in the 2,232-page bill that lawmakers had fewer than 48 hours to read and vote on,” reported The Washington Free Beacon. “The legislation increases the Senate budget to $919.9 million, up $48.8 million from fiscal year 2017,” explained the Beacon. “Meanwhile, the House of Representatives increased its budget to $1.2 billion, which is $10.9 million above 2017 levels.”
“Salaries of staffers in the Senate are also set for an increase,” the Beacon continued. “Division I of the legislation breaks down the total salaries of officers and employees, which are being raised from $182 million in 2017 to $194.8 million in the final bill, an increase of $12.58 million.”
“The Senate also increased its expense account, as expense allowances are going from $177,000 to $192,000, an increase of $15,000. Committee offices got an increase of $22.9 million in salaries, from $181.5 million in 2017 to $204.4 million in the final bill,” stated the online newspaper.
President Trump, a man known for his expensive tastes and gold-plated luxury furnishings, seemed ashamed by the out of control spending. On Friday, he scolded lawmakers for the “ridiculous situation that took place over the last week,” after previously threatening to veto the massive funding package.
“There are a lot of things we shouldn’t have had in this bill but we were, in a sense, forced if we want to build our military, we were forced to have,” Trump said, according to CNN.
“Shame, shame. A pox on both Houses – and parties. $1.3 trillion. Busts budget caps. 2200 pages, with just hours to try to read it,” Senator Paul posted on Facebook.
What’s included in Congress’ $1.3 trillion spending bill?
The measure includes $380 million for election security grants, which comes after the Senate Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan list of recommendations to states and the federal government to bolster election security.
Funding that can be used for the controversial Gateway project, which aims to bolster railway infrastructure between New York and New Jersey, is included in the omnibus.
Tax bill fix
The omnibus contains a fix to the GOP’s tax bill known as the “grain glitch” that had incentivized grain farmers to sell their product to co-ops at a disadvantage to other private buyers. In exchange, Democrats earned a boost to the affordable housing tax credit.
The omnibus would increase funding to tackle the nation’s opioid epidemic. It gives more than $4 billion across agencies to help state and local governments tackle the issue. The opioid crisis has long been considered a bipartisan issue in Congress.
The omnibus includes a proposal that would not allow a restaurant owner to “pool” tips and redistribute them among employees, something that was proposed by the Labor Department in December.
The omnibus also includes —
- An increase in Child Care and Development Block Grants
- An increase in the daily pay for federal jury duty from $40 to $50
- An expansion of the low-income housing tax credit
- More money for the National Park Service
- More money for veterans’ hospitals and veterans’ homes
- A pay raise for the troops
- $2.3 billion for school safety
- $1.57 billion for border security, including barriers and technology