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The $1 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill Is Out: Now Find Out What's In It (Video)
Heritage Foundation ^ | 1/14/2014 | Marguerite Bowling

Posted on 01/14/2014 1:22:42 PM PST by IbJensen

Late yesterday, Washington lawmakers dropped a massive, 1,582-page spending bill that will fund the entire government for fiscal year 2014.

Known as the omnibus spending bill, the gigantic legislative text works off a budget deal that set spending at $1.012 trillion—$45 billion more than previous spending caps that were agreed upon by a bipartisan majority in 2011.

In other words, your tax dollars will fund this bloated spending bill, which adds to the nation’s debt of $17 trillion.

With so much at stake, The Foundry has posted the actual bill for you to read. Last night and into the early hours of this morning, Heritage’s team of policy experts combed through the bill to produce this comprehensive analysis. It highlights the pork projects, ineffective government programs, and giveaways for corporate cronies included in the omnibus.

But in case you’re pressed for time, here are the highlights of what our experts have documented so far (in 140 characters or less).

Tucked away in Congress’ appropriations bill (Division G, Title II) is funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grants, a program which should instead have been discontinued. DERA grants have been used to pay for new or retrofitted tractors and cherry pickers in Utah ($750,000), electrified parking spaces at a Delaware truck stop ($1 million), a new engine and generators for a 1950s locomotive in Pennsylvania ($1.2 million), school buses in San Diego County ($1.6 million), and new equipment engines for farmers in the San Joaquin Valley ($1.6 million).

The problem has very little to do with the merit of the projects. In fact, some of these projects might be worthwhile.

The problem is that federal tax payers in Pennsylvania shouldn’t be paying for pet projects in California. The kinds of projects these EPA grants go to should be and are best accomplished by private investors or at the state and local levels.

– Katie Tubb is a Research Assistant at the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies.

Let USPS Compete

The Senate omnibus appropriations bill continues two riders (p.541) limiting the Postal Service’s ability to make necessary changes in operations to allow them to return USPS to solvency. Specifically, USPS is barred from discontinuing Saturday deliveries, and from closing rural post offices. Both of these limitations should be removed.

– James Gattuso is a Senior Research Fellow in Regulatory Policy at The Heritage Foundation.

Tax Dollars to UNFPA

The omnibus continues to entangle taxpayer funding with an organization that reportedly has ties to China’s coercive family planning regime. The bill appropriates $35 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Despite continued assertions that UNFPA has been involved in China’s coercive one-child policy, the U.S. government persists in sending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to an organization allegedly complicit in forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations. Congress should eliminate all U.S. contributions to UNFPA as long as the organization persists in working with the Chinese family planning administration.

– Sarah Torre is a policy analyst in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.

Obamacare Funding of Abortion Coverage

By continuing to fund implementation of Obamacare, the omnibus bill would continue to entangle taxpayer dollars in abortion coverage. Taxpayers will foot the bill for federal subsidies for the purchase of health plans on the Obamacare exchanges that went live online Oct. 1, and some of those plans could cover elective abortion. This flood of new funding could significantly increase the number of abortions covered by taxpayer-subsidized plans. According to analysis by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, more than 18,000 additional abortion procedures could be paid for each year. Americans deserve health care reform that increases access, helps decrease costs, and allows individuals and families to choose health care that meets their needs without violating their beliefs or subsidizing coverage of life-ending procedures. To truly protect taxpayers, individuals, and families, Obamacare must be repealed in its entirety to make room for patient-centered reform. Until then, Congress should focus on stopping the implementation of the law before more harm is done.

– Sarah Torre is a policy analyst in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.

Fueling Falsely-Named Transportation “Investments”

Instead of cutting transportation spending in the FY 2014 omnibus, lawmakers have doubled down on spending on federal programs—many of which are outdated, duplicative, or outside of the federal government’s responsibility. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants are one such program, and lawmakers have awarded it whopping $600 million—up $125 million from FY 2013. Begun in the 2009 stimulus bill to generate economic recovery, this grant program has been reincarnated in fiscal years 2010 through 2013, for a total of five rounds grants. This even though President Obama said, “The private sector is doing fine,” in June 2012 (about when $500 million in FY12 TIGER grants were announced) and continues to assert that the economy is doing well.

Government spending does not add to employment in the aggregate or stimulate economic growth. That money also has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is the private sector, through either borrowing or taxation. Government spending means less money that the private sector can put toward creating real jobs, savings, or investment. And if we remember correctly, the original stimulus efforts were further plagued by not-so-shovel-ready projects. New stimulus spending won’t fare any better.

In FY13, $474 million in TIGER grants went to fund 52 projects, including a $16 million, 6-mile pedestrian mall in Fresno, CA; a $10.4 million, so-called “Complete Street Initiative” (a.k.a. non-auto friendly) project in Lee County, FL; and a $20 million trolley car in Kansas City, MO.

While specific projects are not funded in this omnibus bill, it’s guaranteed that this year’s TIGER grants will be more of the same: plainly local projects being paid for by taxpayers across the country instead of those that will purportedly benefit from them. It’s time for Congress to stop throwing good money after bad, and to limit federal involvement to the narrow set of priorities that are truly national in scope.

– Emily Goff is a Research Associate at the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Education Spending Increases Continue Apace

Early childhood education

The omnibus appropriations bill includes increases for Head Start & Early Head Start, as well as $36 million in new funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant (taking the program to $2.36 billion).

Increases funding for Head Start and Early Head Start by $612 million, to $8.6 billion. Head Start has been evaluated by the Department of Health and Human Services and deemed ineffective at improving child outcomes on numerous measures. In December 2012, the HHS released a highly anticipated evaluation of the program. The scientifically rigorous evaluation of more than 5,000 children found that Head Start had little to no impact on cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting practices of participants. On a few measures, access to Head Start had harmful effects on children. Moreover, access to Head Start had no statistically measurable effects on all measures of cognitive ability, including numerous measures of reading, language, and math ability. Policymakers should base decisions about preschool funding and programs on empirical evidence, and the empirical evidence does not support increasing spending on Head Start.


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which provides federal funding to states for students with special needs, is set at $11.5 billion, $498 million above the 2013 post-sequester level. In order to more effectively serve students with disabilities, IDEA should be reformed to allow states to make their IDEA dollars portable, following students to a school or educational option of choice.

Title I funding for low-income school districts is set at $14.4 billion, which is $629 million above the 2013 post-sequester level. To better serve low-income children, Congress should allow states to make their Title I dollars portable. Title I of No Child Left Behind provides federal funding to states in order for the states to provide additional funds to low-income school districts. While the intent of Title I is to provide resources to low-income children, its design is “neither student-centered nor transparent.” Congress should simplify the Title I funding formula and permit states to make Title I funding portable, allowing funding to follow a child to the school of his parents’ choice—public, private, charter, or virtual.

Higher education

The maximum Pell Grant award per student is increased to $5,730. Pell grants, which do not have to be repaid by students, are already funded at historically high levels. Pell grant funding has more than doubled since President Obama took office in 2008; the $34 billion Pell Grant program provides grants to some 9.4 billion students. According to the Congressional Budget Office, from the 2006-2007 school year to the 2010-2011 school year, inflation-adjusted Pell spending increased 158 percent, partly due to an 80 percent increase in the number of recipients. The appropriations bill continues this trend by increasing spending and the maximum grant students can receive.

The TRIO program is increased by $42 million. The TRIO program (made up of the Upward Bound program and other smaller programs), provides federal funding for college counseling and tutoring programs, including helping low-income students apply for college. But as the Brookings Institution recently reported, these federal college preparation programs provide little to no return on investment. “Half a century and billions of dollars after these federal college-preparation programs began, we are left with mostly failed programs interspersed with modest successes.”

– Lindsey Burke is a Will Skillman Fellow in Education at The Heritage Foundation.

Obamacare’s Omnibus Funding Loophole

Funding for Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges and related health insurance regulatory activities is principally funded through the “Program Management” account of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The 2013 appropriation for CMS Program Management was $3.86 billion. The President requested an increase of $1.35 billion (35 percent) for this account, and the Democrat-controlled Senate Appropriation Committee agreed to that request.

The Omnibus Appropriations bill sets the level at $3.67 billion, which equals a 5 percent reduction from the 2013 level. However, the bill also allows CMS to augment that appropriation with the user fees it collects. To fund the operation of the Obamacare exchanges, the Administration has imposed a user fee of 3.5 percent of premium on coverage sold through the exchanges. Thus, while it appears to be a cut in the appropriations for implementation of Obamacare, the Omnibus provides a funding lifeline through user fees.

Of course, the real costs of Obamacare – the entitlement spending through Medicaid expansion and the subsidies – remain on autopilot and underscores the reason why the law should be repealed.

– Edmund F. Haislmaier is a Senior Research Fellow of Health Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Department of Energy’s Wasteful Spending Streak Continues

The Department of Energy continues to waste taxpayer money on activities that can and should be funded entirely by the private sector. Taxpayer dollars spent trying to lower the costs of energy or spent on conventional energy sources is merely another subsidy for energy technologies. In total, the bill allocates $10.2 billion for energy programs within DOE. This includes:

Renewable Energy and Efficiency – $1.9 billion—Much of this spending is largely toward commercialization, which should be undertaken by the private sector. Any government support for technology applicable to efficiency and renewable energy (or any energy) should be part of basic scientific research, for which plenty of funding already exists within the Office of Science.

Oil, Coal and Natural Gas – $562 million—The fossil energy industry makes plenty of money to support its own research and development efforts. Funds that go toward fossil energy either simply offset spending that the private sector would have undertaken or supports efforts that have no market viability.

Nuclear Energy – $889 million —Federal programs to help the existing nuclear industry to operate more efficiently or to build its own workforce should be cut. Further, the Department of Energy should not be picking winners and loser in the reactor technology business. Instead, to the extent that the federal government spends resources related to nuclear energy, those resources should go to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build their regulatory expertise. And finally, any money for nuclear waste that does not support Yucca Mountain should be cut.

Office of Science - $5.1 billion —While federal support for some basic scientific research can be justified, much of the money in the Office of Science goes to programs to advance pet projects or develop technologies to support commercial activities.

ARPA-E – $280 million – The Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) is another energy program designed to fund high-risk, high-reward projects that the private sector would not embark on on its own. The problem is that ARPA-E does not always seem to follow this clear guideline: The federal government has awarded several ARPA-E grants to companies and projects that are neither high-risk nor something that private industry cannot support. Congress must hold ARPA-E accountable to its mission and intended purpose. More scrutiny is necessary to ensure that ARPA-E is not funding projects already receiving private funding or using technicalities to justify those grants. Confining ARPA-E to its mission is critical to the program’s success and could serve as a model for how DOE’s research programs could be restructured. Funding for ARPA-E should be cut until the appropriate reforms are made.

Congress should get serious about removing attempts to drive politically preferred sources of energy – of all kinds – towards commercialization.

– Nicolas Loris is the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow at the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

More Federal Transportation Spending, Bigger Government

In the fiscal year (FY 2014) omnibus bill, appropriators have propagated the false notion that government spending on transportation and infrastructure projects is “essential to growing the nation’s economy and commerce”—in essence, that it will create jobs. And they have missed the myriad opportunities to reduce transportation spending or eliminate related programs that this Heritage Foundation report outlines.

For starters, Congress could swiftly phase out subsidies to airlines to offer service in rural communities, under the decades-old Essential Air Service program. Instead it continues subsidies to air carriers to the tune of $149 million.

Additionally, it could have included provisions aimed at exploring the privatization of the Federal Aviation Administration, a bold, structural policy change with which Canada has experienced success and not compromised safety in the process. Even providing for a study of the benefits and challenges of privatization would have been a positive step forward. Instead, this omnibus bill would spend $12.4 billion on the FAA, which was so politicized when “Sequest-air” caused a media frenzy. While that amount is less than was spent in FY 2013, Congress could have tightened its belt further.

On Amtrak, the National Passenger Railroad Corporation, the bill would spend $1.39 billion in operating and capital subsidies. Instead, lawmakers should make future Amtrak subsidies contingent upon reduced operating costs brought about through competitive contracting for its operations and similar reforms—not reward its poor financial performance.

The transportation provisions in this bill fuel the federal government’s tremendous, overbearing, and unnecessarily expensive involvement in America’s transportation system. Congress should prioritize scaling back that role and instead empower the states. There is plenty of room to re-prioritize at the federal level and reduce spending and, given the nation’s dismal fiscal situation and sluggish economy, Congress had better get started.

– Emily Goff is a Research Associate at the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Hidden Green Handouts

High profile taxpayer-funded failures like Solyndra and Fisker have made it a little more difficult for the feds to play venture capitalist, and deservedly so. But that hasn’t stopped policymakers from using other channels to promote their special interests.

Included in the omnibus bill is $1.5 billion in funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Funds, a loan program for water quality improvement projects, is language that says, “to the extent there are sufficient eligible project applications, not less than 10 percent of the funds made available under this title to each State for Clean Water State Revolving Fund capitalization grants shall be used by the State for projects to address green infrastructure, water or energy efficiency improvements, or other environmentally innovative activities.”

Further, a stipulation as part of the funding for The Export-Import Bank of the United States is that “not less than 10 percent of the aggregate loan, guarantee, and insurance authority available to the Bank under this Act should be used for renewable energy technologies or energy efficiency technologies.”

While not new programs or avenues to subsidize green companies, the continued promotion of handouts is a signal that politicians still don’t get it. We need to be removing subsidies for all sources of energy. Whether a government-backed project succeeds or fails, it is a waste of taxpayer dollars to pick winners and losers among energy technologies. The market does a fine job of determining what makes economic sense and what doesn’t.

– Nicolas Loris is the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow at the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Obsolete Rural Programs

The FY 2014 Omnibus bill continues to fund rural programs that should have been repealed long ago, including the following two examples:

Rural Cooperative Development Grants ($26,050,000): The federal government awards grants to cooperative development centers. These centers provide technical assistance to individuals and entities to help start and expand rural cooperatives and businesses. Taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing consulting services for private businesses. Private entities themselves should seek out and pay for whatever expertise they need for their operations.

Rural Energy for America Program ($3.5 million): Taxpayers are forced to subsidize the development of renewable energy programs for agricultural producers and small rural businesses. It is bad enough that taxpayers are required to subsidize one type of energy over another (picking winners and losers), but they are also forced to subsidize costly and unreliable energy. If producers and small rural businesses seek to develop renewable energy systems, they can and should do so on their own dime.

– Daren Bakst is a Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy at The Heritage Foundation.

No Cuts for National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities

It looks like the budgets for both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) survived with absolutely no reduction in funding, getting $146 million each.

So, just what are some of the essentials that these programs fund? Examples of recent NEH Grants include: • $40,000 for artists to ”spend a year in Rome in the historic setting on the Janiculum, one of the highest hills within the walls of Rome” complete with stipend, studio space, housing and meals •$55K for a traveling exhibition on “Survival Architecture” – artistic solutions for “emergency housing housing necessitated by natural disasters and climate change” •$10K for dance choreography that explores life in a “1961 Oasis trailer,” to be performed in parking lots and community parks with “audience participation” •$10K for a theater program that explores the comic book hero “Wonder Woman” •$10K to a San Francisco theater group for a premiere and touring of a play on same-sex marriage “created in response to the ongoing battle for marriage equality”

Apparently Congress thinks these kinds of grants are so critical that they can’t afford to cut a dime out of NEH or NEA. The House had proposed a 49 percent cut for NEA and NEH — which went nowhere. Perhaps House Appropriation leaders need an NEH grant in the “art” of negotiation.

– Laura Trueman is a Director of Strategic Operations at The Heritage Foundation.

Justice Department Appropriations for 2014

When it comes to the Justice Department, the latest Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2014 (the Act) has some good provisions but others that the House proposed have been dropped. A summary by Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee trumpets the fact that the Senate version dropped provisions that would have prevented Attorney General Eric Holder from challenging state immigration laws as he did with Arizona and a number of other states, as well as another provision that would have prevented Justice grants from being awarded to “sanctuary” cities that refuse to cooperate with the federal government in finding and detaining illegal aliens. So unfortunately, DOJ will be able to continue its assault on states that are trying to help the federal government stem our illegal immigration crisis and sanctuary cities will be able to continue to defy federal law.

In March 2013, the DOJ’s Inspector General issued a devastating report about the rank politicization of the Civil Rights Division and its biased handling of some of its cases, as well as the unchecked harassment and intimidation of Division employees perceived to be Republicans or conservatives. The Act authorizes one million dollars from the $86.4 million appropriated for the IG to be used for a commission that will conduct an independent review of the management and policies of the Civil Rights Division. This has been long needed, particularly in light of the intransigence of the Obama political appointees inside Justice.

Of course, the other thing needed with the Civil Rights Division is a cutback in its budget, which has grown considerably, and gives Eric Holder the resources to file numerous suits challenging common sense voter ID, immigration, and other state laws he does not like. There are also at least two dozen lawyers and support staff in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division who have seemingly had nothing to do since the U.S. Supreme Court declared the coverage formula for Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional in June 2013. These DOJ personnel who worked on Section 5 matters are now on a permanent, extended coffee break – yet not a single one of them has been laid off. This is an enormous waste of taxpayer funds that should have been eliminated by Congress.

The other thing that should have been done but which wasn’t would have been a cutback in the budget of the Community Relations Service inside the Justice Department. This is the office that is supposed to go into communities where there are racial tensions to work at calming things down. During the Zimmerman trial in Florida, however, reports surfaced that the CRS personnel attended meetings in the state trying to stir up trouble and promote protests and racial disharmony and unrest, which was the exact opposite of their mission goal. Unfortunately, CRS receives $12 million in this Act.

Another foolish waste of taxpayer money is $2.5 million for the State Elections Commission of Puerto Rico to conduct “objective, nonpartisan voter education about, and a plebiscite on, options that would resolve Puerto Rico’s future political status.” But Puerto Rico already held a vote on that issue in 2012. Residents pretty much split on the question of whether they wanted to stay a territory or change their political status. There is no reason for the American taxpayers to spend any money on another plebiscite – if the Puerto Rican government wants to do so, why doesn’t it do it on its own dime?

On the plus side, and obviously with Operation Fast and Furious on their minds, lawmakers put a provision in the Act (Sec. 216) that prohibits federal funds from being used “by a Federal law enforcement officer to facilitate the transfer of an operable firearm to an individual if the…officer knows or suspects the individual is an agent of a drug cartel, unless law enforcement personnel of the United States continuously monitor or control the firearm at all times.” Clearly, Congress doesn’t want any more guns “walking” anywhere – particularly into Mexico. On the other hand, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which was primarily responsible for this reckless, out-of-control operation and which appears to have retaliated against the whistle-blowers who exposed this wrongdoing, is given $1.18 billion, which is almost $50 million more than the ATF’s 2013 budget.

– Hans von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

Waste Water, Waste Treatment — Government Waste

On page 436, the Omnibus bill sets aside over $80 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The programs, authorized by the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965, are not specifically defined by the bill. Luckily, the ARC’s website gives us a rundown of how it spent some of its funds last year in 13 states running from New York to Alabama. Here are some highlights: •$200,000 for Alabama Literature and Educational Teacher Training •$100,000 for Energy Efficiency Implementation for Small Cities •$60,000 for University of Alabama Center for Economic Development and Tourism Expansion •$89,888 for the Haleyville Medical Area Sewer •$300,000 for the Winston County Hands On iPads Technology Project •$25,000 for the Chief Ladiga Trail Corridor Planning •$115,153 for Addison Sewer System Improvements •$25,000 for the Bryon Herbert Reece Farm & Interpretive Center •$54,969 for the Hall County Community Based Energy Training and Demonstration Program •$300,000 for the Jackson County Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements •$452,954 for Oral Health Improvement Through Sustainable Local Coalitions •$500,000 KY Appalachian Housing Program Capitalization •$50,000 for Prime Time Family Reading Time •$480,000 Jolly Center Auditorium/Training Center Renovation •$50,000 for the Evergreen Heritage Center Green Site •$50,000 for the Washington County Broadband Impact Study •$250,000 for the Garrett County Broadband Extension Phase I •$30,000 for the Garrett County Heritage Area Strategic Initiative •$250,000 for the Meadow Mountain Trail •$15,000 for the Frostburg Grows, Grow it Local Greenhouse •$100,000 for the Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park Road Improvements •$24,144 for the Mississippi Appalachian Community Learning Project •$101,047 for the Foundation for a Fit Future •$265,376 for the Byhalia Historic School Building Renovation •$30,840 for Promoting Economic Development Through Capacity Building Within the Local Food Community •$100,000 for Building a Clean Energy Economy in Western NC •$100,000 for Western Carolina University Rural Assessment Center for Older Adults •$65,262 for Marcellus/Utica Shale Welder Training •$250,000 for the Center for Advanced Manufacturing •$250,000 for the Somerset Village Historic District Streetscape •$400,000 for the Town Creek Bike Park •$40,000 for Poverty Studies Intern Program at Furman University •$500,000 for the Travelers Rest Performing Arts & Cultural Center •$500,000 for the Birthplace of Country Music Cultural Heritage Center •$338,000 for the Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Music and Arts •$44,415 for the Country Cabin Outdoor Venue Enhancement

– Jack Spencer is a Director of Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Restoring Funding to the Ineffective and Wasteful Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS)

Instead of following the fiscally responsible decision by the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations to terminate the ineffective Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hiring grants, the omnibus spending bill allocates $214 million for the program.

Created in the middle of President Bill Clinton’s first term, COPS promised to add 100,000 new state and local law enforcement officers on the streets by 2000. Research by The Heritage Foundation has demonstrated that COPS not only failed to add 100,000 additional officers to America’s streets, but that it was also ineffective at reducing crime.

State and local officials, not the federal government, are responsible for funding the staffing levels of police departments. By paying for the salaries of police officers, COPS funds the routine, day-to-day functions of police and fire departments. In Federalist No. 45, James Madison wrote:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

When Congress subsidizes local police departments in this manner, it effectively reassigns to the federal government the powers and responsibilities that fall squarely within the expertise, historical control, and constitutional authority of state and local governments. The responsibility to combat ordinary crime at the local level belongs wholly, if not exclusively, to state and local governments.

The COPS program has an extensive track record of poor performance and should be eliminated. These grants also unnecessarily perform functions that are the responsibility of state and local governments. For this particular program, the House Committee on Appropriations originally made a fiscally wise decision and follows the wisdom of our founders and core principles of our government. Restoring funding for the program would signal that Congress has given up on reigning in spending on the wasteful and ineffective program.

– David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. is a Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis at The Heritage Foundation.

Omnibus Continues Funding for the Ineffective and Wasteful FIRE Grants Program

The omnibus spending bill allocates $680 million for Firefighter Grants, an increase of $5.7 million above the previous spending level. Fire grants, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), encompass a number of grant programs. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program subsidizes the routine activities of local fire departments and emergency management organizations. Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grants fund projects to improve the safety of firefighters and the public from fire and related hazards. The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants are intended to increase staffing levels by funding the salaries of career firefighters and paying for recruitment activities for volunteer fire departments.

The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis evaluated the effectiveness of fire grants. The Heritage evaluation compared fire departments that received grants to fire departments that did not receive grants. Fire grants appear to be ineffective at reducing fire casualties. AFG, SAFER, and FP&S grants failed to reduce firefighter deaths, firefighter injuries, civilian deaths, or civilian injuries. Without receiving fire grants, comparison fire departments and grant-funded fire departments were equally successful at preventing fire casualties.

Instead of continuing a wasteful and ineffective program, Congress should move to defund the fire grant program.

– David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. is a Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis at The Heritage Foundation.

“Buy America” Provisions

“Buy America” provisions create as many problems as they solve. Walling off U.S. manufacturing from foreign competition takes away the pressure to innovate at home and makes it difficult to tap into global innovation. Rather than “protect” U.S. manufacturers, such policies will accelerate their atrophy. And that limits government purchasers’ shopping options to a handful of high-priced, second-class goods and services.

– Bryan Riley is a Jay Van Andel Senior Policy Analyst in Trade Policy at The Heritage Foundation.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Government
KEYWORDS: congressionalrats; defeatalllibs; impeachobama; spendingbill; usaonepartysystem
Congress is filled with traitors who compliment the evil regime of the phony Barack HUSSEIN Obama! There are only a handful of honest members of Congress!

Congress has purposely bankrupted this nation. They know it, we know it but the process of getting them out of office is so corrupt and slow and so many don't care and/or are deceived, nothing will change.

1 posted on 01/14/2014 1:22:43 PM PST by IbJensen
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To: IbJensen

The treasonous EXEMPT US Congress is spending
more money arming al Qaeda
and protecting corruption
than protecting Americans or the border.

Pond scum has more more respect than the EXEMPT Congress.

2 posted on 01/14/2014 1:25:38 PM PST by Diogenesis
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To: IbJensen

There had better be a guillotine in there.

We will need it following CW-II and the resulting capture, conviction, and proper end of ALL LIBERALS.

3 posted on 01/14/2014 1:26:32 PM PST by Da Coyote
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To: IbJensen

I’d like to see ONE amendment to the Constitution.

It makes all government employees from the President on down subject to all the laws and regulations it has enacted, retroactively, no exceptions.

4 posted on 01/14/2014 1:29:22 PM PST by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: IbJensen

Cut right to the bone. Not a spare dime to cut. Every penny spent is precious.

5 posted on 01/14/2014 1:29:41 PM PST by DManA
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To: IbJensen

The Latin ‘omnibus’ literally means ‘for all’.

6 posted on 01/14/2014 1:31:02 PM PST by proxy_user
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To: IbJensen

It is our duty to read this and it is our moral obligation to not depend on someone else’s spin on it. Link below, hat tip to poster #13 on another thread.

7 posted on 01/14/2014 1:42:25 PM PST by blu
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To: blu

..........It is our duty to read this ..............

That becomes impossible unless you know the provisions in the last thirty years of law-making.
I was afraid of this once I read the first page of this new roll of a few thousands of sheets of toilet paper -—

“If, for fiscal year 2014, new budget authority pro
25vided in appropriation Acts exceeds the discretionary

26 spending limit for any category set forth in section 251(c)
1 of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control

2 Act of 1985 due to estimating differences with the Con
3gressional Budget Office, an adjustment to the discre
4tionary spending limit in such category for fiscal year
5 2014 shall be made by the Director of the Office of Man
6agement and Budget in the amount of the excess but not
7 to exceed 0.2 percent of the sum of the adjusted discre
8tionary spending limits for all categories for that fiscal
9 year.

Thus, we can be fully aware that of 535 members of Congress, approximately 535 will not read nor understand more than two pages of all this manure!

8 posted on 01/14/2014 2:18:04 PM PST by Noob1999 (Loose Lips, Sink Ships)
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To: IbJensen

With our obscene “spending bills”, I have to wonder at this point how many countries are meeting in private together (as private as they can anyway) and preparing as they know our demise can’t be far off. These days it seems to me a major problem facing the world is not globull warming and might not even be a nuclear Iran but America’s politicians who can’t stop spending money and relying on the Fed Reserve to run the printing presses at ludicrous speed. We pose a serious threat to the global economy and I can’t see many countries just lying down and taking the financial butthurt.

9 posted on 01/14/2014 2:36:28 PM PST by Ghost of SVR4 (So many are so hopelessly dependent on the government that they will fight to protect it.)
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To: Noob1999

As near as I can tell, this is the language being referred to. Also, please note that this disclaimer appeared on the last 2 budgets I saw.

“(C) Not later than September 30 of the calendar year in
which the fiscal year begins (February 15 in the case of
fiscal year 1986), the Comptroller General shall certify to
the President and the Congress, with respect to each contract
which is proposed to be terminated or modified—
(i) whether the Comptroller General is able to verify
that the estimated outlay savings for the fiscal year
involved are achievable and would be achieved in that
year; and
(ii) whether the ratio between the projected outlay
savings and the anticipated reduction in obligated balances
is reasonable.”

10 posted on 01/14/2014 2:54:48 PM PST by blu
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