House Speaker: ‘No More Omnibus Spending Bills’

( – Kevin McCarthy said on March 21st that his tenure as House Speaker is not going to include bloated ‘omnibus’ spending bills that Congress has come to favor.

So-called ‘omnibus’ budget and spending bills take separate big-ticket budget items and combine them into one huge piece of legislation. Lawmakers have to vote yes or no on the entire package, which can hamstring elected officials who may support spending in one area but not another.

“We’re not taking up an omnibus,” McCarthy told reporters in Florida. The speaker said the House would return to the traditional system of passing individual budget bills that let lawmakers consider spending choices separately in committee meetings.

The most recent omnibus federal government budget bill hit an extraordinary $1.7 trillion. Democrats in the last Congress introduced the 4,155-page bill just a few days before that Congress expired and before a new Republican House could take over. The GOP was furious at the move, which combined what would have been 12 separate annual spending bills.

Republicans were dismayed at not having the time to read the thousands of pages, let alone offer amendments. They said former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) rules even allowed House members to vote virtually by computer without even showing up in person for discussion.

When the GOP took control of the house a few days after the passage of the $1.7 trillion bill, they promised to end the practice and return to individual spending bills that each get time for debate in committee.

Republicans have put forward a rules package that will bar spending bills from consideration if those bills increase mandatory spending over 5 to 10 years. The rules would also require any new spending to be offset by corresponding cuts somewhere else.

Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy joined in condemning the omnibus approach, accusing Democrats of “destroying the United States” by spending “money we don’t have.”

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