Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Keep Waste Out of Year-End Spending Deal

Dec 11, 2020 | Other Spending

For Immediate Release

The House has passed and the Senate is set to vote on a one-week continuing resolution to extend government funding through December 18, as lawmakers negotiate details of an omnibus spending bill and COVID relief. It is a priority for policymakers to prevent a government shutdown and provide adequate support to address the current economic and public health crisis. However, politicians must also avoid the temptation to add unpaid-for and unrelated policies to the funding bill.

Below is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

While the rest of the world is changing their holiday plans, Congress seems prepared to pass another piece of Christmas tree legislation. This type of cynical lawmaking should stop.

There is a real need for more COVID relief, and having a government shutdown in the middle of a pandemic would be almost unthinkable. But that’s not an excuse to pile special-interest giveaways on top of must-pass legislation.

There have been reports that policymakers are considering a new round of tax extenders, a massive pension bailout, and a series of gimmicks to evade the spending caps in the name of supporting veterans’ health and improved harbor maintenance. 

In total, we could be talking about more than $100 billion in new borrowing that has nothing to do with funding the government, fighting the pandemic, and rescuing the economy. With so many actual needs, even a fraction of that would be inappropriate.

Congress should pass a waste-free funding package, leaving more time to focus on its top priority: fighting the pandemic. If they have an agreement on some of these extraneous provisions, they need to pay for them.

Taking this pandemic seriously means providing necessary fiscal relief, but also stopping opportunists from sneaking in new spending or tax breaks that wouldn’t withstand normal scrutiny. That’s no way to lead, and it’s no way to govern.

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You can read more about the possible $100 billion in extraneous policies in our blog posted here.

For more information, please contact John Buhl, director of media relations, at buhl@crfb.org.