I confess I wasn’t paying attention to what our Federal lawmakers were up to. I was distracted by what Michigan’s lawmakers weren’t up to. Politico reported Congress will likely jack up its spending by 5.8% for fiscal year 2010 and it happened.
The bill, H.R. 2918, adds $4 million for consultants and includes $16.7 million for Senate Appropriations Committee expenses along. There are also huge increases in building and technology funding, ranging from 17.8% to 155%. Congressional leaders’ budgets are increasing an average of about 4%, accounting for $1.2 million among just 7 legislators and the Vice President, whose budget rises to $2.5 million.
One thing that surprised me is the $328.3 million for Capitol Police, including funds to complete the merger with the Library of Congress Police. The funding, $22 million above 2009 levels, maintains the 1,799 police officers and 444 civilian employees. Why do the Capital Police need 1,800 officers? That’s a lot of cops for the Capitol and some office buildings which should be served by DC Police. My city, which probably doesn’t exceed the number of Capitol employees, has 40 sworn officers. Is the Capitol that dangerous? Even with the Library of Congress?
The House already approved the bill 217-190, with 25 not voting. The breakdown was mostly along party lines, with Democrats in favor (212-28) and Republicans opposed (5-162). As for Michigan’s delegation:
|Conyers II, John||14—Detroit||X|
|Ehlers, Vern||03—Grand Rapids||X|
|Kilpatrick, Carolyn Cheeks||13—Detroit||X|
|Levin, Sander||12—Royal Oak||X|
|Miller, Candace||10—Harrison Twp||X|
|Peters, Gary||09—Bloomfield Hills||X|
|Schauer, Mark||07—Battle Creek||X|
|Upton, Fred||06—St. Joseph||X|
At 5:03 on September 30th, the Senate approved the 5.8% increase since the continuing resolution authority through October was embedded in the legislative appropriation. The vote was 62-38, largely along political lines, which should tell you something. Democrats voted overwhelmingly for the bill, 55-3. Michigan’s Carl Levin and Debbie Stabinow, both Democrats, voted in favor.
The bill, H.R. 2918, also includes an earmark of $200,000 for an Omaha, NE, museum. On that basis alone, President Obama should veto the bill, let alone the 1/4-billion increase in legislative costs. Don’t hold your breath, though. H.R. 2918 is less than the President’s budget request and Obama has already accepted earmarks.
In fact, Obama signed this bill into law on October first. What a surprise.