Call off the angry mob, because it’s time to have a real conversation about Paul Ryan and the Omnibus. Many of my friends have taken various sides on the issue, why not throw mine out there, as well.
First and foremost, I apologize ahead of time for the length of this post, but there’s a lot to cover.
To begin with, we need to realize how ridiculously hasty we have become. Living in hysteria is exhausting; we’re weary of attempting to fetch the smelling salts for them, and they’ve got to be getting tired of declaring the death of our country every time a patriot pundit updates their status.
So, I recommend the following steps when political news breaks: Read the news, listen to a little Bob Marley, take a few days to read even more news from various perspectives on the issue, practice a few deep breathing exercises while you ponder, make a list of pros and cons, resist the urge to share that rage inducing image of Paul Ryan in a Nazi uniform from any Facebook page with the word “patriot” in the title. Most importantly, answer this short list of questions:
- What are we dealing with?
- What were the other options?
- What would happen if we went with the other options?
- Have I acknowledged the positives?
- Have I been manipulated?
- Do I understand this issue enough to put a curse on someone’s soul?
We shouldn’t need #6, but sometimes people can be irrational beings, doing what we sincerely hope is just their best impersonation of an inebriated Sybil, so it’s necessary. We live in the world of hysteria, where the brash response is celebrated. We’re the societal version of Who’s Line Is It Anyway: Everything’s made up, and the points don’t matter.
Since the “new patriots” tend to invoke the names of the Founders to support their brazen approach, it would serve them well to reevaluate their history. For example, a vast number of our Founding Fathers fully acknowledged that slavery was antithetical to their revolutionary ideals of liberty. They sacrificed the inclusion of such verbiage from the DoI because they knew that they first needed a united and independent country before they tackled such a divisive issue. However, the verbiage they did include in the Founding documents would become the catalyst for the recognition of human rights for all people, which would lead to the abolition of slavery. They knew that to ever end slavery, they had to take deliberate and systematic steps – it took time and strategy.
The Founding Fathers were not impetuous, they were meticulous and wise, knowing that permanent change was the ultimate goal. So when you flip your lid because “defunding Planned Parenthood wasn’t in the spending bill” you’re not acting like a Founding Father, you’re behaving like that irrational child throwing a tantrum at Chuck E. Cheese. Looking at you, Michelle Malkin.
1. What are we dealing with?
As Julie Andrews once sang to a small gang of emotionally detached – yet surprisingly all musically inclined – mischievous children, let’s start at the very beginning; what is the Omnibus bill?
Congress is responsible for putting forth a budget for the 12 appropriation committees’ needs, which include the Legislative Branch, Military, State Operations, Foreign Operations, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, etc., etc., etc… Now, if these were divided into twelve separate categories, they’d be easily digestible.
Well, nothing is easy in government, but you get the point.
However, since our House resembled that dysfunctional family down the street with their twelve kids who keep playing chicken with the cars on the highway, it was really difficult to get all twelve categories settled upon in a reasonable time. Thus, the Omnibus was born.
So as to dodge budget expiration, they bundled all twelve into a giant mess that can either be supported or rejected. Paul Ryan has voiced his opinion on the process.
“I hate omnibus bills and I don’t like doing these last-second bills. … The reason this year is because Harry Reid filibustered all but one appropriations bills and our own caucus seized up in the middle of the summer, unable to pass any appropriations bills because of some poison pill amendments. … We have a new commitment in the Senate to not block appropriation bills and by having this budget agreement that my predecessor put in place we no longer have a dispute over the sequester. The reason for the filibusters is gone. By getting the slate cleaned now, by getting this behind us, we can start our appropriations process early next year and do it the right way, individual bills, all 12 bills, open up the process…do it the way the Founders intended in the first place.”
Right after the deal was passed, he made this statement to reporters:
“You know I don’t like this process, right?” he told reporters. “I mean you know we inherited a process, a cake that was pretty much more than half-baked.”
In short: Due to the short amount of time, in conjunction with previous issues (cough, cough, Freedom Caucus), there wasn’t a vast number of options. That didn’t stop the angry lynch mob of the far right, which really isn’t the “far right,” because they barely represent conservative principles anymore.
2. What were the other options?
Delay or government shutdown.
3. What would happen if we went with the other options?
Delay: Would only delay a deal that was sure to pass. Time constraints would have made change all but impossible. If anything, the delay would have raised more public awareness to a broken system, which would not have been a bad thing, but the results would still be the same. Efforts to delay were noble, but similar to show votes, would not have truly made a difference.
Government Shutdown: No. You may say you want a government shutdown while you’re sharing Breitbart articles and preaching on the greatness of Drudge polls, but you don’t really want that. You say you want a shutdown, and then I have to listen to you complain about how your uncle is a dedicated soldier who is going without pay. I already know he’s going without pay, because I know what a government shutdown entails, and that’s why I didn’t share that photo saying “SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT, WE DON’T NEED THEM” from a Facebook page with a name like “Uncle Sam’s Patriot Eagle Loving Children of George Washington.”
Shutting down the government hurts military families, endangers national security, and stops me from taking my dog to a well manicured park. Which Ryan noted, and you’d know what he said if you pulled your head out of the rage media sands and listened to his statements as opposed to the mangled excerpts in your Tea Party emails.
“We didn’t want to hurt the military. Shutting it down deprives the troops of their pay. It deprives the men and women who are out there fighting for us of their resources. You’ve heard me as a strong, strong critic of Obama’s foreign policy and his ISIS policy. We have to go on offense in the war on terror. We have to go on offense internationally. By shutting the government down, you are bringing the military to a screeching halt. We do not want to use the men and women in our uniform as political pawns in this game. We want to get this behind us.”
Not to mention, if we shut the government down at this point, we can basically hand Hillary her crown and toss our kids into her oven.
“We shut the government down and then won a whole bunch of seats in 2014?!!!!?!? Explain that!”
Okay. Well, counting on a shutdown to win an election is an incredibly risky game. If you look back to Clinton and Bush shutdowns, you’ll find that the benefits swing to the left and right, and have more to do with the political climates at the time than with the shutdown itself. We were destined to sweep in 2014 due to unemployment, Obamacare, 30+ year low in LFP, etc., etc., etc… There’s no real proof that the shutdown was the tipping point, just like there wasn’t in the 90s shutdowns. It has more to do with who’s in charge during a time of instability. After the debacle with the Kamikaze Caucus, and our longstanding GOP front-runner, a shutdown could easily be painted as our problem, aiding Hillary in the election.
4. Have I acknowledged the positives?
With the points mentioned above noted, we actually received a good deal out of the bill (I recommend listening to this interview with Ryan). Our military was given the resources they need, which should be at the top of everyone’s list. We permanently lifted a 40 year ban on the export of crude oil, which removes the handcuffs Russia had on other countries and creates jobs. Democrats tried to sneak in anti-gun riders, as well, and failed. And, despite the hysteria, pro-life riders remained intact.
“BUT SYRIAN REFUGEES!”
An incredibly strict bill passed the House with a veto proof majority, and the Senate will be voting on said bill after the first of the year. The 1.6 billion was not approved specifically for Syrian refugees, it is part of our refugee program, and I don’t know why I should ever have to say this, but we’ve had a refugee budget for a very, very, very long time. This doesn’t just pay for refugees, it pays for preparations and border resources. Text taken directly from the bill:
For necessary expenses for refugee and entrant assistance activities authorized by section 414 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and section 501 of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980, and for carrying out section 462 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, section 235 of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (“TVPA”), section 203 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, and the Torture Victims Relief Act of 1998… [Emphasis added by yours truly]
Brace yourself for this news: Syria is not the only place with refugees, we had funds put aside for refugees long before Syria.
But wait, there’s more!
In Title II of Division O (Other Matters), you’ll find this gem:
TITLE II—TERRORIST TRAVEL PREVENTION AND VISA WAIVER PROGRAM REFORM
Sec. 201. Short title.
Sec. 202. Electronic passport requirement.
Sec. 203. Restriction on use of visa waiver program for aliens who travel to certain countries.
Sec. 204. Designation requirements for program countries.
Sec. 205. Reporting requirements.
Sec. 206. High risk program countries.
Sec. 207. Enhancements to the electronic system for travel authorization.
Sec. 208. Provision of assistance to non-program countries.
Sec. 209. Clerical amendments.
Sec. 210. Sense of Congress.
Look, I kept them linked just for you. Now you don’t even have to make the strenuous journey to Google and type in “Omnibus text” like I did… It takes about an hour to trudge through all of the texts in the links, but the long and short of it, broken down by Paul Ryan, is this:
“But the issue that we learned about in our intelligence briefings was visa waivers. Any radical with one of 38 national passports can get on a plane today in say, Paris, can get on a plane and come here tomorrow for 90 days, no questions asked. That, we believed, was the biggest problem, and we put that in the omnibus bill.”
And don’t forget, we have a bill heading to the Senate that puts extreme restrictions on the intake of Syrian refugees, and said bill has a veto proof majority from the House thanks to Paul Ryan.
Another positive! Title IV: James Zadroga 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Reauthorized. Because, you know, taking care of our 9/11 first responders should be a priority for anyone with a pulse.
But wait, there’s more!
We permanent extended a good deal of tax-cuts. The thing I find hilarious about this particular portion is that conservatives are constantly reminding liberals that letting someone keep their own money isn’t a cost. Yet this bill is released and those same conservatives are hugging static economics like it’s a fluffy new teddy bear, and claiming that tax cuts are a cost. Why? Well, you’re angry about the “MASSIVE SPENDING BILL,” aren’t you? Their double standard worked.
But wait! There’s more!
Possibly the best part of the entire deal. The Omnibus included a provision restricting risk corridors meant to shield insurers. In short, this keeps American tax payers from bailing out insurance companies who were surely counting on being bailed out when they conspired with Obama to get the ACA passed. And who constructed that little ACA termite?
Durbin called Rubio’s provision a “serious problem.”
“Senator Rubio, in his effort to derail the Affordable Care Act in any possible way, changed that language a year ago and now we’re stuck with it,” he said.
See, that’s the sign of a strategic politician. While everyone else plans to put a bill on the President’s desk repealing Obamacare, only to have him veto it, Marco Rubio had enough sense to fly under the radar and drop a bucket of termites in the basement and wait for them to take hold. The former doing absolutely nothing to harm the bill except prove to those suffering under its heavy thumb that it’s Obama’s fault, the latter slowly eating away at the weight-bearing beams required for its survival. You might even say it reeks of a little Founding Father strategy. While he doesn’t get as much notoriety for his action, he did it anyway.
“If the Omnibus is so great, why were Democrats congratulating Ryan on a great deal?!”
Because they know you’re incredibly naive. They love seeing us all running around with pitchforks and rope, searching for a speaker to lynch. They know if they praise him, you’ll instantly begin searching for the tallest tree. In addition, yes, we made a lot of concessions that I wish we didn’t have to, but it’s not like we could send the bill up exactly how we wanted and have Frank Nitti visit the homes of all who opposed. We’re grown-ups, Obama still holds the final signature, and in order to keep the government from shutting down, they had to get a lot out of the bill, as well. However, for our government being the hostile work environment that it is, Paul Ryan and friends got a lot of positives out of the deal.
I’ve said this, quite literally, at least a hundred times: The purpose of a Republican majority during a Democrat presidency is to stop as much as possible, not pass as much as possible.
There was a large number of conservatives – “real conservatives” – who voted for the bill. They all knew there weren’t any other options. Of course everyone running for president adamantly opposed it as a showing of solidarity with The People – including Ryan’s feelings on the “Omnibus” machine – but I’m pretty sure that even they knew there wasn’t much we could do. We won some, we lost some, and the United States didn’t hit the big red self-destruct button.
5. Have I been manipulated?
“@michellemalkin: Ryan-Pelosi spending bill doesn’t defund
@PPact , refugee resettlement, or sanctuary cities. Grassroots ready to defund GOP leadership.”
So here’s a fun story: Defunding Planned Parenthood added to bill, bill vetoed, government shuts down. The end. That’s how that would have gone. Suck it up, guys, Planned Parenthood will remain funded until a Republican president is sitting in the Oval Office. Ryan’s take:
“First of all, we did put the riders on Planned Parenthood to prevent them from having any money going toward abortion – like we have in the past – and we maintained all of our Hyde Amendment protections for pro-life. So we maintained our pro-life riders, but what we realized was the Planned Parenthood defunding bill was going to get filibustered in the Senate, so we weren’t even going to get past the U.S. Senate with a Planned Parenthood bill in the omnibus, so we used the one tool we could use to prevent a filibuster and advance this bill, which is called reconciliation. So we have Planned Parenthood defunded in the reconciliation bill. You can use this bill once a year and we used it for this.”
Basically, what Michelle is saying is that we should have chosen to shut-down the government. That’s just an example, pick your favorite toxic radio/TV host and you’ll find the same type of manipulation. They’re playing you like a fiddle. These people are to the conservative movement what the Bubonic Plague was to Europe, and they even have the unpleasant disposition of a festering sore to go along with their narrative driven rhetoric.
6. Do I understand this issue enough to put a curse on someone’s soul?
In the first place, if you actually went on Paul Ryan’s Facebook Christmas post and told him that he “doesn’t love babies,” you might have serious issues.
In the second place, if rage, fear, and this driving urge to stand on the corner of your street with a cardboard sign that says “Paul Ryan ended the republic,” is what controls you, it might be time to walk away from politics for a little forever. Come on, people! Research, research, research! Read things from multiple different perspectives, read the bills, research the reasoning.
Listen, I hate defending politicians, yet that’s what I’ve spent my last three months doing. Just as I’m not going to stand by and watch the demon possessed second coming of Liberace talk about immigrants like they’re cattle, I’m also not going to hold my tongue when decent men are finally taking charge only to be met with threats of tar and feathers when they try to do their job.
Now, this is officially the longest post I’ve ever written. With that in mind, I’m going to end my ramblings. If you have any specific questions about the bill, leave them in the comments, I would love to research and reply with my thoughts on the matter.
As a bonus, I’ll leave you with Paul Ryan’s thoughts on the new year:
“You’re going to see us put a bill on the president’s desk going after ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood, so we’ll finally get a bill on his desk to veto. … And you’ll see a return to regular order, where men and women in Congress can bring their bills to the floor, make their amendments in order, and we will run Congress the way the Founders intended it to be run. But the most important thing you’ll see is, we think the country’s headed in the wrong direction. We think Obama has transformed us in a bad way. We owe people an alternative, and that’s exactly what we’re going to lay out.”