Emergency Spending Bill Caught in GOP Whirlpool

Emergency Spending Bill Caught in GOP Whirlpool
Posted by FoM on March 17, 2000 at 20:31:01 PT
By Eric Pianin, Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post
A $9 billion package to help combat Colombian drug traffickers and cover military costs in Kosovo has become bogged down in controversy over spending, with many House conservatives demanding that the measure be scaled back and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) threatening to keep it bottled up.
The emergency measure, a priority of President Clinton and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), was swiftly approved last week by the House Appropriations Committee, 33 to 13.But House GOP leaders yesterday abruptly postponed floor action for at least two weeks following a meeting with angry House conservative activists, who complained that the bill was laced with "pork," and Lott's warning that he would oppose it. House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) conceded that the bill is in trouble and said he is not sure how Hastert and Lott would bridge their differences over the need to pass the bill now."Denny has tried to coordinate with the Senate on everything we've tried to do," DeLay said yesterday at a luncheon with Washington Post editors and reporters. "This is the first time that we've had a major disagreement on the direction of an issue like this."Lott has complained that the supplemental spending bill--containing about $3.8 billion more than Clinton requested--was "bloated." He said he preferred to approve funds for anti-drug activities, Kosovo military spending and other pressing needs through the normal appropriations process later this spring for the coming fiscal year, rather than tacking it onto this year's spending. "No one has been able to define precisely the emergency," John Czwartacki, Lott's press secretary, said yesterday. "Now that we're on the cusp of the new appropriations process, why not do it there?"Lott is on a collision course with Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who agrees with House GOP leaders and appropriators that Congress should work to pass the supplemental spending bill this spring. Stevens plans to mark up a bill next week.The bill approved last week by House appropriators would use part of the surplus to provide $1.7 billion to help Colombia and its Latin American neighbors step up their anti-drug efforts; $2 billion to cover the costs of American forces in Kosovo; $1.6 billion for the Pentagon's soaring fuel costs; $2.2 billion to assist communities and farms ravaged by last fall's Hurricane Floyd, and $600 million to repair storm-damaged roads and bridges.But scores of other projects that were added have drawn the wrath of conservatives, including $20 million for the first phase of construction to replace a Food and Drug Administration laboratory in Los Angeles. "There's a bunch of garbage in there," said Rep. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a leader of conservative activists on spending issues. "It's the same old story: Let's throw everything in the trash can for members."At Hastert's behest, House Appropriations Committee Chairman C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) met with Coburn and other conservatives Wednesday to see if they could iron out their differences. While GOP leaders believe they can muster enough GOP and Democratic votes to pass the emergency measure, they are concerned about alienating the conservatives whose votes will be essential to passing next year's budget and the annual spending bills.Some of the conservatives complained that too much of this year's surplus is going for unnecessary spending and that the leaders should consider offsetting more of the spending. Some, including freshman Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), said the bill should include $10 billion for debt reduction.Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.), who opposes continued U.S. military involvement in Kosovo, favors using the spending bill to set a date for withdrawal of U.S. forces. Campbell and others are also worried about the government getting too involved in efforts to shore up Colombia's tottering democracy and enable its military to step up its war on narcotics traffickers. "I don't think we should spend $1.3 billion for a civil war in a jungle setting," he said.Also complicating passage is a provision that was tucked into the fiscal 2001 budget resolution approved Wednesday by the House Budget Committee that establishes a parliamentary point of order against any bill that cuts into this year's non-Social Security surplus.The measure was added at Toomey's urging as a way of discouraging using this year's surplus for anything but debt reduction. Young was furious that Budget Committee Chairman John R. Kasich (R-Ohio) didn't consult him about a measure that could threaten prospects for passage of the supplemental bill. By Eric PianinWashington Post Staff WriterFriday, March 17, 2000; Page A12  Copyright 2000 The Washington Post CompanyRelated Articles:Guerrilla Economics's Crisis U.S. Is Setting A Trap for Itself In Colombia Articles on FARC & Colombia: 
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Comment #2 posted by dddd on March 18, 2000 at 07:14:15 PT
Correction..It's one penny from $10.00......duh..........dddd
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Comment #1 posted by dddd on March 18, 2000 at 01:55:19 PT
Pork is Bull
This news release is an excellent example of professional propaganda.It is a combination of two main deceptions. First off,it makes it seem like the republicans are making some sort of valiant attempt to speak out against wreckless "pork",and give the appearance that they are defenders against wasteful spending. Secondly,when the bill comes up again,they will pretend that it is much better,,and they can claim that it's O.K.,,now that they cut all the pork out of it. This is finely crafted BULL.The entire bill is about wallowing over to the trough,and porkin'down massive quanities. In a couple of weeks,they will pass the "New and de-porked"version of this sham,and it will be very nearly identical,,,with perhaps a few million trimmed off... A BILLION dollars,is One Thousand MILLION.In other words,one penny from a hundred dollars,is like one million,from a billion.... The bought and paid for media,will describe this as a scaled down version of the original bill,and the republicans who "cut out the pork",will use it to make voters think that they were heroic,and thrifty with the publics money. Just watch how expertly this bill will be spun,and slipped by.........dddd 
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