The New Budget Bill: Still Funds Obamacare, Still Bans Abortion Spending, Still Bans Internet Taxes

-By Warner Todd Huston

The New nine-month budget bill called the CR/Omnibus spending bill is a $1.01 trillion spending bill that is over one thousand pages thick. But it takes care of spending for most of 2015 and one has to wonder why the Republicans pushed a spending bill that will prevent them from affecting spending for most of the entire first year they will be in control?

It is absurd that the GOP didn’t push a continuing resolution that only tides the government over for a few short months because next year the GOP will be in full control of both houses of Congress. Yet, the GOP was not just *sighing* and agreeing with this nine-month spending bill, GOP leadership was pushing it. This is a bill that will cut the GOP out from having any influence on spending for most of their first year they are in control.

Still, many of the hundreds of policy riders–little bits of instruction that affects spending–are good for the conservatives. Of course, some will upset Democrats and some Republicans.

Anyway, here are some of the riders of interest in the new budget bill (in no particular order):

Obamacare Fully Funded

The bill fully funds Obamacare, though it does put a limit to any growth in spending and cuts the budget by $10 million for the “death panel” board called the Independent Payment Advisory Board. It also does not give the IRS any new funding so that the taxing agency can implement the Affordable Care Act.

Clean Water Act

In a victory for farmers, the spending bill will prevent the EPA from taking upon itself the power to regulate farm ponds and ditch water. This is also a victory for Republicans–not to mention the country!

EPA Funding Cut

Speaking of the EPA, its budget was cut by $60 million over last year’s budget. The EPA will get $8.1 billion. This is another decrease. Since 2010 the agency has lost 21 percent of its budget.

No Pot Legalization for Washington DC

The City Council of the District of Columbia will be prohibited from legalizing marijuana and will be forced to hew to the federal ban on pot. On the other hand, federal drug enforcement agencies and law groups will be prevented from interfering in state-based pot industries.

Internet Taxation Ban Stays Put

Despite that Senator Harry Reid wanted this stripped out, the ban on putting a federal tax on sales on the Internet is still in place.

Unions Given a Handout

Section 541 (1) gives unions a $16 million boost in “trade adjustment assistance.”

Internet ICANN Handoff Prevented

Earlier this year Obama announced that he wanted to end the US control over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that assigns new names and numbers on the Internet and hand it over to foreign control. This bill puts an end to that at least until the budget period ends. This section prevents Obama for doing this next year as he wanted to.

Bans Federal Employees from Watching Porn on Computers at Work

No longer will federal Employees be allowed to sit at work and watch porn on federal computer networks. Though how this would actually prevent this is unknown.

Blocks Obama’s Bailout of Medical Insurance Companies

Obama had a plan to bail out big insurance with what he called “risk corridors.” This has been blocked.

Sage-Grouse Listing Blocked

Liberals wanted to put the sage grouse on the list of endangered animals. This would have destroyed the economies of several western states. The move to put the bird on the endangered list was blocked with the CR. There is $15 added to help conserve sage-grouse habitats, though.

Abortion Spending Still Blocked

Staying true to decades of spending rules, federal spending on abortion is still blocked with this new budget.

Amtrak Holds Steady

The wasteful Amtrak national rail system will still get the $1.39 billion it got last year. No increase.

Government Workers Get a Raise

Federal workers will get an undeserved 1 percent raise with this spending bill.

Guantanamo Bay Transfers Prohibited

Obama will once again be prevented from transferring detainees in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to facilities inside the USA. It will not prevent him from transferring detainees to other countries, though.

IRS Funding Cut

The IRS will lose $345.6 million from its budget. The bill also tries to prevent the IRS from targeting organizations seeking tax-exempt status.

Immigration
The bill funds the Department of Homeland Security only through next February. But, as the Washington Post confirms, new money is going to other immigration plans. “But negotiators gave new money for immigration programs at other federal agencies. There’s $948 million for the Department of Health and Human Service’s unaccompanied children program — an $80 million increase. The program provides health and education services to the young migrants. The department also gets $14 million to help school districts absorbing new immigrant students. And the State Department would get $260 million to assist Central American countries from where of the immigrant children are coming.”

Light Bulb Ban Stalled

The ban on incandescent light bulbs is put on hold.

Some Pay freezes, Vice President and Military

Despite that federal workers are getting a raise, pay for the Vice President and other senior officials is frozen but so is the pay for the leaders of our soldiers. Generals and senior staffers of the military will also see a pay freeze.

Assistance to the Palestinian Authority Ended

The Palestinians will no longer get federal assistance but only if the PLA becomes a member of the United Nations. It also prohibits funding for Hamas.

Race To The Top Defunded

The bill ends funding for Obama’s education program.

Michelle’s School Lunch Program Takes a Hit

The spending bill will give state school districts a little more leeway to dump Michelle’s much-hated school lunch requirements. The bill allows schools to dump Michelle’s policies “if the school can demonstrate a hardship.”

For more spending riders, see The Washington Post.

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  • Retired military

    Bonehead Boehner and Muttering McConnel need to both be fired from their leadership positions.

    • ohio granny

      Most of us agree. Wish there was some way to make that happen. Our “representatives” we send to DC mostly don’t give a fig about what “we” want. They will only worry when it is time for reelection.

  • Commander_Chico

    Glad they’re delaying the internet handover from ICANN.

    Especially glad Amtrak is getting money. How much money is spent on the roads between Portland and Miami, also served by Amtrak? Funny how spending on roads is not wasteful, but railroads, yes. Also, are the FAA and CAB fully funded by airport taxes?

    • Paul Hooson

      Rail is still a very important and economical way to ship some goods. A lot of trains run near my nightclub. Railroads are a very important part of our economy.

      • jim_m

        Especially since Warren Buffet owns a shitload of rail stock and is standing in the way of Keystone.

        • Paul Hooson

          I’m hopeful Keystone gets built. Despite many roadblocks, U.S. oil exploration continues to grow as OPEC and other producers lose clout…This is quickly putting the U.S. in the driver seat as to her energy future.

  • Walter_Cronanty

    A couple of questions, with few a comments: 1) While it funds ObamaCare, it “… does not give the IRS any new funding so that the taxing agency can implement the Affordable Care Act.” As a practical matter, doesn’t this hamstring the funding of ObamaCare? From articles I’ve read, the IRS is going to hire from 7,000 to 10,000+ to enforce the monstrosity. How are they going to chase people, tax people, read and enforce the 2 or 3 extra pages on tax returns, enforce against companies, etc.? 2) Blocking the payments for “risk corridors” for insurance companies will surely put a crimp in the companies’ profit projections. They laid down with Obama, and they can suffer with his fleas – but again, does anyone know what the practical effect will be? This would seem to guarantee at least some companies will have to raise rates as they, instead of the taxpayer, will have to eat their losses [what a novel idea – we’ll see if it really happens].
    Thank goodness they’re starting to rein in the EPA – but it’s only a start.
    Wouldn’t you know it, I go out and buy a gross of incandescent bulbs and now they block the ban.
    Other things I like – a lot I don’t like.

  • GarandFan

    Now let’s see if King Barack will sign it.

  • Paul Hooson

    Something to offend everyone here…..Give money to this, take money from that, legislate this, take legislation from that….Surprising anyone would vote for this witches’ brew, let alone sign it….

  • jim_m

    They should cut funding to the entire Dept of Ed. Give the disaster that has become of their sexual assault policy. Today’s WaPo concludes that the Rolling Stone article is a complete hoax, yet obama admin policies caused the UVA administration to summarily suspend dozens of Greek letter organizations because the policy is that an accuser can never be questioned and any accusations must be accepted at face value and the accused have no rights to a defense much less due process.

    Defund the Dept of Ed until they reverse these policies.

    • Hank_M

      Defund it? The Dept of Ed should be shutdown.

      • jim_m

        Agreed. But while defunding it would only require heretofore unprecedented amounts of spine from the GOP, actually getting rid of it is currently utterly impossible.

    • Retired military

      They should have one part time worker in the dept of education.
      Someone to come in at the beginning of the month to write checks to the states for federal funds going to education.

  • Vagabond661

    The GOP is the Democrats bitches. A CR could have been put forth until the new Congress is seated. Instead they propose this monstrosity.

  • Retired military

    Bonehead Boehner puts his foot in his mouth again ” If we dont pass this bill today we will be here until Christmas”
    My response
    SO F*CKING WHAT!!!
    DO YOUR F*CKING JOB YOU POOR WITTLE BABY!!!

    • jim_m

      He needs to catch a junket somewhere where he can work on his tan.

  • Retired military

    I sent Bonehead Boehner some emails that said
    Here use these
    OO
    They are bigger than your balls.

  • Walter_Cronanty

    One other good thing in the budget: “US Spending Bill Blocks Obama’s UN Climate Fund $Billions” http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/11/us-spending-bill-blocks-obamas-un-climate-fund-billions/