2,009-page $1.8 trillion spending bill

NYTimes has it:
WASHINGTON — After years of dysfunction and abysmal public approval ratings, a chastened, even beaten-down Congress on Friday passed a $1.8 trillion package of spending and tax cuts with remarkably little rancor.

The sweeping deal was the product of a convergence of forces: Speaker Paul D. Ryan's deftness in pacifying rebellious conservatives, the recognition by Republicans that a government shutdown could cripple them in the races for the White House and Senate and a recovering economy that helped end an era of austerity.

The relatively swift passage of the prodigious year-end package — by wide margins in the House and in the Senate — in many respects showed lawmakers bowing to the hard realities of a divided government.

President Obama quickly signed the measure, praised Mr. Ryan for his work and acknowledged the sacrifice of his predecessor as speaker, John A. Boehner, for also making the accord possible.

The agreement also showed just how easily a fractious legislature can seem functional again when there is agreement to spend more money, adding at least $2 trillion in debt over the next 20 years, according to the Committee for a Responsible Budget, a nonpartisan group.

NYTimes readers:

Socrates is a trusted commenter Downtown Verona, NJ
“This bill is even referred to as a Christmas tree bill because special interests get special presents, all in ornaments on this tree,” Representative Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas, said in a speech on the House floor on Thursday.

“Like many shoppers out there, they put it all on the credit card, except that it’s your credit card,” Mr. Doggett said, adding, “If you add this much debt unpaid for in a fiscally irresponsible way you begin to jeopardize retirement security, Medicare and Social Security, because those so-called entitlements are next up on the chopping block.”

Deficit spending has never felt so good as it did while using the Congressional American Express Card.

Why pay cash....when you can use a stolen credit card from the American taxpayers ?

"A $1.4 billion increase for military construction projects"....and no sign of paying for them anywhere in sight.


Merry Christmas, America !!!

The Congressional practical joke is on you.

Julian Fernandez
A 2000+ page, passed-in-the week-before-Christmas Omnibus Spending Bill. Glory!

Another huge tax break for corporations and the wealthy, $573,000,000,000 for the military. Our 40-year ban on the export of oil, gone. Pennies for renewables. Pennies for infrastructure repair. The meat you buy will no longer need to be labeled with country of origin. Looking forward to Chinese chicken in my supermarket by spring.

This is a list of very generous gifts from our senators and representatives to their major contributors. Paid for by you and me. Happy Holidays!

ProSkeptic New York City
I would just love to see the breakdown on the over $600 billion in tax cuts. I'm willing to bet a year's salary that the bill greatly favors wealthy individuals and corporations. Call me cynical. Where are the deficit hawks when you need them? And where's the tally of the votes in the House? Was it only the Freedom Caucus who voted against, or were there perhaps some principled liberals as well?

Nick Metrowsky is a trusted commenter Longmont, Colorado
All the GOP candidates are crying that the government has a huge deficit and they need to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. meanwhile, these same politicians just gave out $620 billion in tax breaks. Governor Kasich, of Ohio, just proposed increasing the Social Security retirement age, lower the benefits paid and cut benefits for wealthy recipients.

There is something very wrong when you have the same political party proposing making lives miserable for million of Americans, while giving their 1% buddies a huge tax cut. What is even worse, the Democrats went along with this and are equally complicit.

People are still hurting from the Congress gutting Glass-Steagall, in 19i99 (thank you Bill Clinton), with stagnant wages and rising costs. meanwhile billions more are going to teh pockets of people who do not need tax cuts.

As a single taxpayer, I am paying more, percent wise, in taxes than a fair number of people in this country. Those who get all the breaks because they have kids, and those who get the breaks because they are the 1%. Where is the relief for us, who are subsidizing everyone else?

Another example why the so called "greatest country in the history of the world" is a giant sham.

K. John Atlanta
Did I miss something? I didn't read one line about putting money in the budget for infrastructure repair to our nations highways and bridges. This would have truly been a win/win for the American economy as well as the American workers.
Something is amiss in the long term thinking of those who make decisions for the American people. Hopefully, we will awaken the first Tuesday in November of 2016. Perhaps this will get both houses of congress' attention.

Matt C Boston, MA
"The package also incorporates legislation that expands the sharing of information between private firms and federal security agencies to prevent cyberattacks."

When you put it that way, it sounds like a sensible measure designed to prevent terrorist plots from coming to fruition. In reality, CISA is another incarnation of policies designed to give the military-intelligence complex even further power to identify, target and destroy ANY citizen, for reasons as vague as unusual internet browsing habits. Except this time it was passed with almost no recognition from the media, and thus no time for interest groups to rally against it once more. The powers that be seized the opportunity to deprive Americans of their right to internet privacy, without so much as a brief snarl of discontent from the masses.

So thank you Congress for having the guts to finally pass a spending bill to fund the government we see on the evening news, and the government that operates in secrecy. I'm sure this well-thought out plan to fight cyberattacks will have no unintended consequences.

craig geary redlands fl
If there is one thing the five Walton heirs, the eco terrorist brothers of Koch Pollution and the hedge fund billionaires need, it's another gift from Congress.
Paid for by the declining middle and underpaid working class.
No War on Christmas here.

Jana Hesser Providence, RI

While there is a lot of garbage in this bill such as military spending, deep inside there is a little time bomb that will accelerate the demise of dirty fossil fuels. For the first time ever tax credits for wind power installations do not expire annually.

The five year horizon for tax credits will allow for smooth wind turbine installation planning unleashing a torrent of installations on land and offshore.

This wind power tax credit will progressively be reduced by 20% every year so it will be retired in 5 years (unlike tax credits for dirty and dangerous sources of energy that have been in place for decades). However this provides a sufficient window of opportunity to deliver a strong enough blow to shrink fossil fuel and nuclear energy market share to unsustainable levels.

Brace for the elimination of dirty disease causing air and water in the US and across the planet.


I quote ,"“A small handful of leaders from the two parties got together behind closed doors to decide what the nation’s taxing and spending policies would be for the next year,” Mr. Lee said in a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday. “And then, after several weeks, the negotiators emerged – grand bargain in hand – confident that the people they deliberately excluded from the policy making process would now support all 2,242 pages of the legislative leviathan that they cooked up. This is not how a self-governing – or self-respecting – institution operates, and everyone here knows it.”unquote.

is this democracy ? why a few should get cloistered from the rest ? what guarantee we have that the bill has not been written in favor of big commercial business , bankers and Wall Street against the long-term interests of the middle class and lower classes ? For all we know within the closed room they must have bargained for the amount of money each of them need to get to give their assent. who knows ? This kind of bill without open discussion and putting it up for months of comments from the public making use of media is not the democratic way but expedient corporatocratic way . The government is no more of the people or by the people nor for the people. We want another Lincoln

It's called compromise. That's what makes democracy work. Thank goodness, the Republicans under Paul Ryan's new leadership seem to be regaining their senses. Let's keep observing.

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