Judging the Omnibus by the Numbers

March 10, 2022

By James Carter

Six months into FY2022, Congress has yet to send a single appropriations bill to President Joe Biden for his signature. Instead, Congress has relied on temporary continuing resolutions to avoid a government shutdown while it worked behind closed doors on legislation to provide permanent funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. On March 9, the House passed the resulting omnibus appropriations package of 2,700 pages after 12 hours of review. The Senate is expected to follow suit within a matter of days or hours.

But what is in the legislation? How does it compare with last year’s funding? Is there cause for concern? Judge the omnibus by the numbers.

2,741: The legislation’s page count. Members of Congress were given 12 hours to read the legislation before a vote. To read the entire bill in the allotted time, the reader would have had to have read 228 pages an hour for twelve uninterrupted hours. By comparison, Leo Tolstoy’s War & Peace runs a relatively pithy 1,225 pages.

2,727: The number of congressional earmarks in the omnibus totaling $4.2 billion. These earmarks include:

$2,000,000: Funding for educating, digitally connecting, and building roads for indigenous coffee producers in Columbia.

$1,600,000: Funding for development for equitable growth of shellfish aquaculture industry in Rhode Island.

$569,000: Funding for removal of derelict lobster pots.

7.9%: The year-over-year rate of inflation in February. The highest in 40 years! Only in Washington, D.C. would this be an excuse for the federal government to spend even more.

2.7%: The measure would provide funding to increase pay for all military personnel, effective January 1, 2022. However, since inflation is nearly double digits, a 2.7% pay increase is a veiled pay cut.

$30.2 trillion: The federal debt as of March 8, 2022. That’s more than $90,000 per American. If Congress has its way, this number will get much, much larger.

$1.5 trillion: The amount appropriated for defense and non-defense discretionary federal spending in the omnibus for FY2022. That’s an increase of $88 billion over FY21 or 6.2%.

$46 billion: The increase in federal non-defense discretionary spending over FY2021. Amounting to a 6.7% increase, Senate Appropriations Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) brags it’s “the largest increase in non-defense programs in four years.”

$428 million: The amount the bill would CUT from Customs and Border Protection. What border crisis? This will worsen the border crisis and lead to more human trafficking and importation of illegal drugs across the border.

$100 million: Funding slated for “environmental justice” programs at the Environmental Protection Agency. Perhaps that money could go towards a border wall instead.

$31.97 million: Taxpayer funding for “Tribal Climate Resiliency.” Shouldn’t we be focused on delivering lower-cost energy now for hardworking Americans?

$0: New funding for border wall construction.

$???: As of now—the day after the House voted to adopt the omnibus package — the Congressional Budget Office has yet to issue an official cost estimate for this legislation.

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