The House of Representatives will soon vote on the House Amendment to Senate Amendment to H.R. 2471, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022. This omnibus package cannot be properly evaluated in 12 hours, contributes to out-of-control spending, includes a 14 percent increase in IRS funding, and contains thousands of earmarks. ATR urges members of Congress to vote “NO” on the non-defense portion of the legislation.
Members have only been given 12 hours to read a 2,741-page bill. This clearly violates the House’s three-day rule, which was designed to ensure lawmakers and other institutions could properly evaluate legislation before it became law.
This bill would exacerbate out-of-control spending. At a time when the national debt has surpassed $30 trillion, this bill would dramatically increase non-defense spending. The legislation provides $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending, including $730 billion in non-defense discretionary funding, a 6.7 percent increase over FY 2021.
In 2020, the U.S. government spent over $6 trillion. In 2021, the U.S. spent $6.82 trillion, or 30% of the economy. The CBO projects that U.S. interest costs will triple within the next decade — from $331 billion this year to $910 billion in 2031, accounting for 12% of the entire federal budget. In 2021, the United States’ interest payments cost roughly $2,600 per household. This level of spending is irresponsible and, certainly, should not be made worse.
This bill would provide the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with a 5.7 percent funding increase. The funding bill includes $12.594 billion in additional funding for the IRS, a 5.7 percent increase. This would be the largest funding increase the IRS has received in two decades. About $5.43 billion of this funding would go explicitly towards enforcement activities like audits and investigations.
Additional IRS funding would lead to the targeting of middle-class taxpayers and small businesses, would fund an already incompetent and corrupt agency, and would be a down payment on Democrats’ larger plan to supersize the agency and give it more power.
The bill contains even more COVID-19 spending. The package contains another $15.6 billion of taxpayer dollars for COVID-19 purposes, $5 billion of which would be spent in other countries. The U.S. government has already spent about $4.6 trillion in response to the pandemic. While this spending is paid for with unobligated balances from previous spending, these dollars could, instead, go towards saving taxpayers’ money in other spending categories.
This omnibus package is packed full of earmarks. According to Republican Study Committee, the package contains 2,727 earmarks from House members totaling $4.2 billion. Earmarks are a lazy, unfair, and corrupt way to circumvent the authorization and appropriations process. They are not a path to unity; they are a road to fiscal ruin for taxpayers.
The bill could worsen surging inflation. By flooding the economy with so much money, excessive government spending of this kind could end up worsening already-painful inflation. In January, inflation surged to 7.5 percent, the highest it has been in 40 years. The average U.S. household spent $3,500 more in 2021 due to inflation, according to a Penn Wharton University of Pennsylvania Budget Model analysis. To make matters worse, inflation is eroding purchasing power and wages are decreasing. Real average hourly earnings dropped by 2.4 percent on an annualized basis.