Since the $1.1 trillion bill to fund the government passed the Senate late Saturday, two days after it made it through the House, the outrage on talk radio and the Internet has been focused at what many conservatives deem a "sellout" by Republican lawmakers in ensuring passage of the measure known as "cromnibus."
But with the cromnibus — a word welding of "continuing resolution" and "omnibus" — cleared for the president’s signature, several GOP House members insisted to Newsmax over the weekend that the controversial spending bill actually has much that should please conservatives.
Among its provisions that received little press attention but that should gladden hearts on the right are a $345.6 million reduction in funding for the IRS and the banning of the use of its funds to target groups based on their political beliefs.
In addition, there was a $60 million cut in the Environmental Protection Agency, with the EPA staff level slashed to the lowest it has been since 1989. "Cromnibus" also halts the President’s attempts to increase funding for renewable energy at the expense of traditional energy sources.
The spending measure also includes several provisions to promote the sanctity of life, and the right to keep and bear arms.
There was no additional funding for such administration "favorites" as the International Monetary Fund, the federal education program known as "Race to the Top," and the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Contrary to the claim of several talk radio hosts that the cromnibus "maintains the funding of Obamacare," the bill actually cuts $10 million from the Independent Payment Advisory Board contained within Obamacare and outlaws a taxpayer bailout of insurance companies.
While cromnibus does fund most of the federal government until the fall, it makes a notable exception for the Department of Homeland Security, which is charged with carrying out President Barack Obama’s recent executive orders dealing with an estimated 4 million illegal immigrants.
"A lot of the talk radio hosts made it sound as though Congress simply funded amnesty without a fight, and that just isn’t true," said Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., who won a third term from his Erie County district last month.
"Money for Homeland Security will run out on Feb. 27, and then we will have more than a month to focus on just what the president’s executive orders will do if that department is funded," Kelly said.
After hours of debate, cromnibus passed the House late Thursday by a vote of 219-206, with 67 Republicans breaking with Speaker John Boehner to vote no. On Saturday, it passed the Senate by 56-40 over objections from Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., on the right and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., on the left.
"It was one of the hardest votes I have ever cast," sophomore Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pa., told Newsmax. "But I also believe that this gives us an opportunity to train our sights on immigration in the [Homeland Security] funding debate in February and March, and that was preferable to using a buckshot approach with the entire Continuing Resolution last week."
Both Rothfus and Kelly spoke to Newsmax in New York City, where they were attending the 116th annual gathering of the Pennsylvania Society; the Keystone State’s two senators, Democrat Bob Casey and Republican Pat Toomey, were in Washington voting on the spending bill and thus forced to miss the event.
"Many people felt that if we keep having a total government shutdown over one part of the spending we don’t like, we would just look silly," Kelly said.
"This way, when Congress convenes next year, we will bring to the floor legislation to stop what the president is attempting to do on illegal immigration by executive order. I look forward to it."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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