Ok, the title is not a serious question because nobody seems to care what we can and cannot afford. Increase spending, restore programs, give raises, all nice to do to be sure, but at a time when many Americans are not receiving any raise (or don’t have a job) , but are seeing their local and state taxes rise, when many Americans are seeing their 401(k) employer match dissappear along with other benefits, where is the justification for much of this? Where is the prudent spending? Ok, again not serious questions.
The follow is an excerpt from an AP story released December 13.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Democrats overcame a Republican filibuster to clear the way for a vote Sunday on a huge end-of-year $1.1 trillion spending bill that gives budget increases far exceeding inflation to much of the government. The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 60-34 on Saturday to end the GOP filibuster that threatened to hold up the legislation. The final vote would send the measure to President Barack Obama.
The measure pays for Medicare and Medicaid benefits, and boosts spending for the Education Department, the State Department, the Department of Health and Human Services and others.
In the coming week, Congress may try to take a defense spending bill and attach a measure that would raise the $12.1 billion debt ceiling and initiate new spending and tax cut efforts to stimulate jobs.
“We are in a very special kind of economic situation, and frankly, jobs have to be the top priority, and every bill is going to be a jobs bill going forward,” Obama’s top economic adviser, Larry Summers, said on ABC’s “This Week.”
The bill includes $447 billion in operating budgets with about $650 billion in mandatory payments for federal benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid as well as an estimated $3.9 billion for more than 5,000 back-home projects sought by individual lawmakers in both parties.
The bill increases spending by an average of about 10 percent to programs under immediate control of Congress, blending increases for veterans’ programs, NASA and the FBI with a pay raise for federal workers and help for car dealers.
The second-ranking Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, said the measure restores money for programs cut under former President George W. Bush such as popular grant programs for local police departments to purchase equipment and put more officers on the beat.
The legislation also:
Renews a federal loan guarantee program for steel companies.
-Calls for federal worker pay increases averaging 2 percent.