Nov 10, 2016

Congress Should Reject Another Lame-Duck Disaster

Post by Derek Yale

Arlington, VA – Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce released the following statement today regarding an upcoming lame-duck session of Congress, whereby unaccountable lawmakers will try to saddle taxpayers with increased spending, corporate welfare, and pet projects to the benefit of DC lobbyists and special interests.
 
Freedom Partners Vice President of Policy Andy Koenig issued the following statement:

“The American people rejected business as usual in 2016, so Washington owes it to them to reject business as usual in the lame duck. Lawmakers should not allow Minority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama to pass pork-barrel projects and special interest handouts on their way out the door. When Congress returns, they should pass a clean spending bill and reject passing any additional legislation until the new president and Congress are in place in 2017.”

BACKGROUND

Fiscally responsible lawmakers should reject a lame-duck session of Congress that allows defeated and retiring officials, such as President Obama and Sen. Harry Reid, to award corporate welfare and increase spending during a lame-duck session of Congress. Doing so would open the door to higher spending, backroom deals, and billions in handouts to special interests.
 
A lame-duck spending bill would be a Trojan horse for new and higher spending. Recent history of lame-duck spending bills is a valuable guide:
 
2010 Lame Duck: Congress passed $1.6 trillion in new spending, including billions more in corporate welfare and green energy handouts.
2012 Lame Duck: Congress passed $4.6 trillion in new spending, busting by $24 billion the bipartisan spending caps established in the Budget Control Act of 2011. 
2014 Lame Duck: Congress passed $1.8 trillion in new spending, including nearly 50 special tax breaks costing taxpayers $42 billion. The 2014 “CROmnibus” was the most heavily-lobbied bill of the year, with hundreds of lobbying firms representing over 650 individual clients descending upon Capitol Hill.
 
A lame-duck spending bill would also be a legislative vehicle for renewing billions of dollars in special tax giveaways set to expire on December 31. These include some of the most odious forms of corporate welfare today, which explains why President Obama and Sen. Reid want to pass them as part of end-of-year, “must-pass” legislation. Examples include:
 

  • Tax credits for maintaining private railroad tracks. Cost to taxpayers: $428 million
  • Tax credits for NASCAR and Hollywood movie studios. Cost to taxpayers: $26 million
  • Subsidies for rum producers. Cost to taxpayers: $336 million
  • Renewable energy subsidies. Cost to taxpayers: at least cost $7 billion

  
A lame-duck spending bill would also grease the wheels for a taxpayer bailout of Obamacare. Large private health insurers, unable to afford the crushing costs of Obamacare, which they helped pass in 2010, have been lobbying for billions of additional tax dollars to help cover their losses. Bailing out Obamacare would continue propping up a failed health care law that is raising health insurance prices and limiting choices for hardworking American families.
 
Finally, a lame-duck spending bill could be an opportunity for amending the quorum requirements for the U.S. Export-Import Bank. This change would open the floodgates to more corporate welfare by allowing the bank’s board to approve financing deals worth more than $10 million, something it currently cannot do because it lacks the members necessary for a quorum. It would also confirm Americans’ worst suspicions of Washington: that those with the right connections get ahead, while everyone else falls further behind.