Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Omnibus Bill Represents Washington's Failure

 Omnibus Means "Everything In"
The Omnibus Sending Bill just passed and signed into law represents all that is wrong with Washington and its failure to face the problems confronting America. An omnibus bill by its nature covers a number of diverse or unrelated topics. Omnibus is derived from Latin and means "for everything" this means an omnibus bill is a single document that places or packages together several measures into one or piece of legislation. Since modern copying techniques and newer printing technology came into use, Washington has gone completely insane replacing quality with quantity. Today they copy and paste together in just a few hours the final details of massively complex legislation that runs into thousands of pages of incomprehensible dribble. Adding to the insanity nobody has the time to read these bills before they are voted on and passed into law. President Trump told the American people during the presidential campaign that as a businessman he would clean up wasteful government spending, this bill is a monument to his failure. Even Trump's claim he would never sign such a bill again will not insulate him from this folly.

Rand Paul Holds 2,232 Page Omnibus Bill
Despite the efforts of Rand Paul and a handful of other conservative Senators to kill it the bill, the upper chamber easily passed the long-awaited $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill early Friday morning. With a 65-32 vote, they sent to the Presidents desk the bill that would lock in federal spending for the remainder of the fiscal year. The final bill that exceeded more than 2,200 pages was printed and released Wednesday morning following a week of all-night bargaining sessions and repeated delays. This means again lawmakers can hide behind claims they had to make the tough choice and accept a flawed compromise or be responsible for a damaging government shutdown that might hurt the economy.

Other than the poor spending decisions omnibus bills are bad in that things often get slipped into them that don't belong there. With little notice after Trumps signed the bill into law a profound change in how the U.S. government treats cloud data became law with little or no debate. It seems that at the last minute Congress tacked the CLOUD Act onto the massive spending bill Wednesday night just ahead of the vote and it also became law Friday morning. The CLOUD Act clarifies how the U.S. government can access data of U.S. citizens needed for law enforcement investigations that is stored on cloud servers outside the country. The CLOUD Act which is tech-backed has raised concerns from privacy and human rights groups in that it changes the way foreign governments request information from U.S. tech companies for similar investigations on their own citizens.

The law calls for the executive branch of government to strike mutual legal-assistance treaties with foreign governments, who would then contact tech companies directly with their requests instead of routing through the DOJ. Tech companies would be able to push back on those requests, but the CLOUD Act removes a layer of judicial review from the process, which critics feel gives too much power to the executive branch in terms of which countries get to be in our information-sharing club. Privacy advocates are worried that some of the protections against signing treaties with countries with poor human-rights records are weak. Foreign governments will also be able to turn over data on U.S. citizens gathered in the course of investigating their own citizens to U.S. law enforcement without a warrant, according to the ACLU.

Returning to the overall idea of the so-called Omnibus Bill.  "It sucks," Senator John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican who opposed the bill said of the spending measure. "No thought whatsoever to adding over a trillion dollars in debt." The truth is Paul and other conservatives pointed out this budget would've been adamantly rejected by Republicans if Obama was still in the White House. Instead, we see Republicans claiming victory because of an $80 billion increase in military spending while Democrats boasted they had included a much needed additional $63 billion in domestic spending. President Trump touted this as the largest increase in military spending ever and signed the bill into law after causing a stir shortly before its passage by threatening to veto it because he says it doesn't protect Dreamers or fully fund his border wall. The bottom-line is that while Trump and the other creatures of Washington think people are too stupid to notice they have failed us again the fact is we do notice.

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