Gallup released a historic poll this week: The Democrat-controlled 111th Congress, now in its final session, is the most unpopular in the history of the pollster’s surveys.
Given this week’s events, it is not hard to see why. House Democrats’ massive resistance to a popular, bipartisan package to prevent gargantuan income tax hikes on all taxpayers in January shows they learned nothing from this year’s election in which voters handed control of the lower chamber back to Republicans. The lame ducks keep acting as if they are still the top drakes in town, oblivious to the fact that they were plucked and roasted by voters Nov. 2.
But as liberal intransigence on taxes in the House evinces a Congress that is “not getting it,” leading Senate Democrats are doing their colleagues one better by introducing a $1.2 trillion omnibus spending bill that represents an act of stupefying political arrogance.
This omnibus bill exemplifies a Democratic Congress that has been so preoccupied this year with its exceedingly unpopular legislative agenda that it failed to do its basic job — fund government. The Democrats who lead the Senate and House refused to even pass a budget, as required by law and the U.S. Constitution, but now that they are losing power, they want one more spending spectacular before their terms end.
The 2,000-page omnibus bill contains 6,600 earmarks worth $8.3 billion, including funds for such national priorities as termite research and for a charity tied to the late House Democratic porkmeister John Murtha.
The omnibus also funds Obamacare. It increases spending from last year’s levels in a number of departments, immediately after an election in which runaway government spending was such a huge issue. Even worse, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his colleagues pushing this bill presented it as a political gun to the head for Senate Republicans who know the government will shut down if something is not done by Saturday.
Senate Republicans and similarly responsible Democrats should reject the omnibus, along with any other last-minute spending package introduced by the discredited leaders of the 111th Congress.
With the tax-cut compromise headed toward final passage, the only appropriate spending measure for the lame-duck Senate to consider is one that funds the government at current levels until the new Congress is sworn in to start cleaning up the mess. Then they should go home. If they do not, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., should, as he promised, demand reading on the Senate floor of the full text of the omnibus and the proposed START treaty in order to slow-walk the irresponsible 111th Congress and prevent it from doing any more damage to the nation.