• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Tying the Hands of the New Congress

    The lame duck Congress wants to tie the hands of the new Congress, limiting the ability to change government as the voters insisted in November. And just like other legislation such as Obamacare, this plan is being drafted in secret, not in the open.

    Circulating on Capitol Hill is a draft measure—written by the Senate Democratic majority in backrooms—to fund all the federal government not only through fiscal year (FY) 2011 but also partially into FY 2012. This 183-page plan would:

    • Handcuff the ability of newly elected Representatives and Senators to de-fund Obamacare,
    • Restrict the new Congress’s leverage to rescind unused “stimulus” and TARP spending,
    • Have the outgoing Congress dictate spending for more than the usual one year, and
    • Bypass the normal appropriations process of public committee votes, floor debates, and the ability to offer amendments on the floor of the House and Senate.

    This is the same outgoing Congress that failed to do its work on time; it should have passed spending bills before fiscal year 2010 ended on September 30. But they didn’t want the voters to witness just how much they wanted to spend, despite our trillion-dollar-plus annual deficits, so no appropriations bills were passed by Congress, and all but a couple of spending bills never even made it out of committee.

    Now insiders are crafting a take-it-or-leave it omnibus measure—and who knows what they’ll toss in at the last moment.

    Meantime, the federal government is operating on temporary authority known as a continuing resolution (CR), which expires December 18. A series of short-term CRs have kept government going since October 1.

    Rather than appropriating only until the next fiscal year ends on September 30, 2011, the measure calls for over $100 billion in “advance appropriations” for the first quarter of FY 2012. Chief among these is over $86 billion in first quarter payments to states for Medicaid, which was beefed up by the Obamacare legislation. The original White House budget had proposed providing states with “only” $67 billion for that purpose.

    The longer the duration of the CR, the less ability incoming Representatives and Senators have to influence spending. A short-term CR would give them greater leverage to influence the FY 2011 budget, including de-funding several initiatives that could include part of Obamacare.

    And because the plan is being assembled in backrooms by party insiders, it’s likely they’ll tack on more provisions and its current page count of 183 pages would get even bigger. Since it’s happening in secret, it’s anybody’s guess what other issues might be added.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Tying the Hands of the New Congress

    1. Dennis Georgia says:

      This is just normal for the dems and obama. They all speak with "forked tongues, and from both sides of their mouth." We as a people have given our country away to the mionority and the liberal agenda. The working class is gone, those of us that want to sucessfull in life have no reason to try, we only end up giving to those that are to lazy to work.

    2. al mcinally, Wilson, says:

      What ever happened to compromise and discussion to produce something that works and lasts rather than just dirty tricks to get your own way. It's no wonder the government isn't working and just keep going further in debt and has lackluster growth. To have no compromise is to use only one sides view a poor standard for growth.

    3. mark in spokane says:

      Looks like, once again, weve been shafted. Personally I'd like to see the liberals get every thing they want, so the 'stupid' american puplic will wake the hell up, and realize that not one of these people in wash. are on our side in any way. I haven't seen any thing "constitutional" in so many years, that I wonder, are there any rules at all? There will be no change without action, and the american people need the security of their real govt., constitutional govt., again. I think the people deserve exactly as much as their efforts equal. What a shame.

    4. Bobbie says:

      I'd like to believe the new congress is one with integrity and will stand to expose the corruption/fraud and hold the necessary accountable with such reprimand to deter their corrupt, fraudulent way of thinking. This is the people's country and with respect, the people's Constitution doesn't have to be compromised.

    5. Pingback: Morning Bell: Freeze Taxes, Freeze Spending, and Go Home | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    6. Judy S, NYC says:

      Q. If BY PASSING A FUNDING BILL in the lame duck session, does this process effectively 1) BY PASS THE HOUSE FUNDING PROCESS, 2) deny the possibility of future de-funding of Obamacare, 3) deny future use of unspent Tarp and Stimulus monies, and 4) DESTROY THE REGULAR HOUSE FUNDING PROCESS (by rescinding the usual house appropriations process with committee votes, floor debates, and the amendment process)?

      Q. CAN EX. ORDERS TRUMP HOUSE FUNDING PROCESSES including committee votes, floor debates, and the amendment process? Will the full house demand that O's executive order be rescinded?

      Q. Is there a LIST OF ALL THIS PRESIDENT'S EXECUTIVE ORDERS and will the democratic process be trumped as well if permitted to stand?

    7. Pingback: Tying the hands of the new Congress

    8. Bob Mallison says:

      This is an outrageous attitude! Vindictive and irresponsible. Hopefully, their action will lead to another "political slaughter" in 2012. However, if they are successful we will be burdened with more debt.

    9. Linda, Louisiana says:

      I agree with first commentor (Dennis/Georgia); In addition, I have comments regarding dependency on Welfare and Unemployment Benefits and there does not exist incentives for these recipients to not depend on Welfare. In regard to this, if the Democrats get what they want, there will be no incentive for the working and prosperous individuals to work hard and to achieve. If this scenario is allowed to continue, there would be no "Haves" to give to the "Have Nots." I have come to terms with the fact that Obama is a socialist, but it is hard to believe we have such stupid people as the Democrats we have in Congress. Let's pray that God will step in and stop these people from destroying this Nation because it seems that we who oppose this wild and reckless spending can do nothing. We were able to vote some of these people out, but Reid, Pelosi, and their cronies are going crazy and determined to punish us for voting as we did. This is so depressing.

    10. Patsy at Arlington, says:

      I would like to have a count at the entrance to the Super Bowl game, as to how many ticket holders are on unemployment compensation.

    11. larry thompson-Tulsa says:

      I'm a little "fuzzy" on the congressional rules for legislation but, why can't the incoming congress dissolve the continuing resolution enacted by the lame duck congress?

    12. Rivers, Georgia says:

      I voted for conservatives who should uphold the principles they ran on. If I wanted someone to compromise with Obama, Pelosi and Reid I would have voted for a Democrat.

    13. David Risselada Tuls says:

      From my perspective it is going to be very difficult to return to a constitutional form of government. Being a full time college student I am seeing first hand the hateful attitudes toward this great country being shoved down the throats of the younger generations. When I challenge the proffessors, they of course work to turn the whole classes opinion against me. Fixing this country is going to take a whole lot more that just changing the politicians every two years.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.