Omnibuses and the Power of the Purse
Don Wolfensberger writes in the Hill:
“House Republicans are reportedly considering bundling all 12 regular appropriations bills into an omnibus measure and passing it prior to the August recess (The Hill, May 31, 2017). Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s financial services subcommittee, is championing the “go ugly early” strategy as a way to avoid a fiscal train wreck in October. The committee’s chairman, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), and the Republican leadership, have not yet weighed-in.
“Based on past experiences with late omnibus money bills, accelerating the process will only exacerbate the harm done because it forfeits up front any remaining control Congress may claim over its constitutionally endowed power of the purse. Granted, making laws has always been an ugly, sausage-making process. But, churning-out sausages, one at a time, is at least visually and intellectually comprehensible. Putting the whole hog on a rapidly spinning skewer, engulfed in a cloud of smoke, has a way of causing the public audience to tear-up and choke in anger and distrust…..”