12.09.2016 1

House rounds out lame duck with belated continuing resolution

By Robert Romano

On Dec. 8,  the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H.R. 2028, the continuing resolution that will keep the government funded until April 28, 2017.

The House waited until the last possible moment, with the current funding bill expiring on Dec. 9. More governing by crisis. Oh, the government’s about to shut down, we have to pass this now. Nonsense. Why could this not have been done weeks ago?

In truth, the short-term continuing resolution should have been the first and last thing the House dealt with this lame duck session after the election.

Instead, the House has been on a marathon passing bills on suspension the past few days, easily surpassing the two-thirds majorities needed to suspend House rules. The margins for passage on these bills were not even close.

One piece of legislation, H.R. 4919, would authorize the Attorney General to oversee a $2 million grant program for human tracking devices. It passed 346 to 66.

Another, H.R. 5790, enhances the scope of whistleblower protections at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It passed 404 to 0.

  1. 2971 creates a National Urban Search and Response System. It passed 405 to 7.

H.R. 6076 provides for long-term medical monitoring of astronauts to better understand the harmful effects of space exploration. It passed 413 to 0.

H.R. 5015 restores severance payments for combat-wounded veterans improperly withheld by the Secretary of Defense via tax withholding, “thus denying them their due compensation and a significant benefit intended by Congress.” The bill reports this has been going on — since 1991. And Congress just got around to fixing this? This bill passed 392 to 0.

H.R. 6427 defines crowdfunding vehicles under U.S. Securities and Exchange laws. It passed 391 to 2.

A courthouse was named in Texas, a forest was named in Washington state, and some land was conveyed in Oklahoma.

And so forth. No bill as of this writing has failed since the marathon began on Dec. 5.

Some of the bills don’t even particularly seem like bad ideas. For example, giving veterans what they earned serving and protecting our nation in combat is a no-brainer.

But if these bills are so popular, why couldn’t they have been passed months ago, before the election? Then at least voters could have held their representatives accountable for their votes, or maybe even have given them some credit.

Oh well, maybe they were just too busy campaigning.

As it is, now that the spending bill is done, the House should just get the heck out of town. Stop passing legislation. Go home already.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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