Liberals and Conservatives Gripe About $1.1T Bill – ABC News
Exposed to the light of day, a year-end, $1.1 trillion spending bill drew vociferous objections from liberals and milder criticism from conservatives on Wednesday while lawmakers readied a brief, stopgap measure to prevent a government shutdown both parties vowed to avoid.
Democrats complained bitterly about a Republican-backed provision in the $1.1 trillion measure to ease regulations imposed on big banks in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown. They also opposed a separate section that eases limits on campaign contributions to political parties.
The White House declined to state President Barack Obama’s position on the legislation, negotiated in secret over several days by senior lawmakers, including top leaders in both parties and both houses.
“Putting these two things together in the same bill illustrates everything that’s wrong with the political process right now,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.
Republicans countered ? correctly ? that Democratic negotiators initially signed off on both, and Speaker John Boehner rebuffed a request from the Democratic leader, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, to jettison them.
“If Rep. Pelosi doesn’t think her negotiators did a good job, she should discuss it with them,” said Michael Steel, Boehner’s spokesman.
On the other side of the political spectrum, some conservatives grumbled that the measure left the administration’s controversial new immigration policy unchallenged, at least until the end of February. That decision “makes no sense at all. We’ve let the Democrats set their agenda as though we lost the election,” said Rep. John Fleming, R-La.,
Given the opposition of an unknown number of conservatives, Boehner and the Republican high command likely will need at least some Democratic support for the bill to assure its passage in a vote set for Thursday.
Yet the political crossfire left the massive, 1,603-page bill in limbo, its prospects for passage at least temporarily uncertain ? and so, too, chances of a smooth ending for a Congress marked by two-years of intense partisanship. Other legislation awaited approval as lawmakers looked to the year-end exits.
One bill renews expiring tax provisions and a second would bless the administration’s plan to equip and train Syrian rebels fighting Islamic State forces in the Middle East. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., also sought confirmation for nine more of Obama’s appointees to the federal bench and confirmation of a slew of other officials in a final show of political strength before Republicans take control of the Senate in January.
Reaction to the spending bill dwarfed other issues of the day.
Republican rank-and-file members of the House, meeting privately, received an 11-page document prepared by the leadership that said the bill “stops wasteful spending, reins in regulatory overreach, avoids shutdown, improves government.”
One conservative, Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina, said he was pleased. “I think we won on policy (and) the budget numbers are lower than I ever thought it would be,” he said of the measure, which cited the very provision relating to banks that inflamed Democrats.
It would roll back regulations that prohibit financial institutions from using federal deposit insurance to back investments on some complex financial instruments. Supporters said that would help farmers and other borrowers secure loans, and opponents derided as a bailout.