The OmniStimuDefense Bill

Congressional Dysfunction Strikes Again

Thaddeus R. Winker
The Liberty Hawk
Published in
5 min readDec 23, 2020


The past week has been a bit of a whirlwind with Congress getting close to a compromise on not only the Constitutionally mandated annual funding of the government but also the much delayed and anticipated COVID Stimulus.

They finally reached an agreement on principle after a bipartisan, bicameral group put together a $900 billion proposal that gave everyone something but not everything they wanted. That proposal was used as a basis for the eventual section added to the annual appropriations bill.

The total price of the omnibus was $2.3 trillion and includes, among other things, provisions for a single $600 check to qualifying Americans as part of the stimulus.

The text of the bill was released in the late afternoon of December 21, and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) brought the bill up for votes at 8 PM the same day. This gave members only a few hours to read through and understand over 5,000 pages. There were technical glitches (printers didn’t work, pdfs were corrupted and couldn’t be uploaded), and it was one of the largest bills ever produced in Congress.

The House voted twice on the bill between 8 and 10 PM.

The House split the vote between the two resolutions to allow people to vote against the Defense spending. You can see the votes on the Office of the Clerk’s website.

The whole thing was so rushed. They didn’t even have time to update the title of the bill online. Even as of this writing, the website still lists H.R. 133 as a vote on the United States-Mexico Economic Partnership Act.

The Senate voted on the bill at 10:48 PM.

Once the bill passed the House with a supermajority (i.e., veto-proof), the Senate took up the bill and voted without any amendments or discussion. The Senate voted at nearly 11 PM on a 5,000-page bill that no one read without any discussion or opportunities for amendment.

These people voted on a bill they hadn’t read or discussed publicly after 8 PM! The Senate voted way past the bedtime of the septuagenarians running the place (I hope they still got that early bird special).

There is a lot in the stimulus part of the bill worth praising — the extension of the PPP and federal unemployment benefits — but most of the appropriations are just pork and wasteful spending.

By tacking the stimulus on to the appropriations bill, Congressional leaders muddied the waters. When people look at this mammoth bill, they see funds going to buy missiles for Syria and whole pages about the Dalai Lama. The small fraction of the bill covering foreign aid has been raised to point out that the bill gives more to fund gender theory indoctrination in Pakistan than Americans in need. This is not helpful for the discourse and further damages Congress’s already pitiful reputation and approval rating.

The soon-to-be-former-Congressman Justin Amash (L-MI) has spent much of this year criticizing the legislative process in Congress. There is no transparency and no effort on the part of the Congressional Leadership to actually legislate. They negotiate policy in a backroom and then come out and dictate to their members what they are voting on. There are thousands of bills introduced by members of Congress that have sat without any action for months.

On January 3, 2020, Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) introduced H.R 22, and the only action on it was being referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. People will often enumerate the number of bills that passed the House but never got a vote in the Senate, but no one talks about the sheer volume of bills introduced in the House that never got a vote. Over 16,000 pieces of legislation were introduced in the House or the Senate, but just under 300 made it to the President’s desk.

Out of the 10,549 bills introduced in the House, a mere 1,081 were brought to the floor for a vote — that means just over 10% of the legislation introduced was even considered! The Senate was better where out of the 6,025 bills introduced, only 808 (13%) were brought to the floor.

During the 116th Congress, a measly 1.8% of all legislation introduced made it to the President’s desk. Add to this that Congress works fewer days every year, and I just can’t see any reason why any of these people should be reelected in 2022.

President Trump has threatened to veto the appropriations bill every year since being elected and never once followed through. He has once again threatened to veto the bill and has demanded larger direct stimulus checks to Americans.

Many Democrats have echoed his call and are pushing for a new bill they hope to pass before Christmas — and dared Republicans to oppose it. The amount of posturing and political game playing is getting ridiculous at this point. And, if Trump does veto the bill, he could trigger a government shutdown over New Year’s and force the new Congress (117th) to pass a new appropriations bill immediately to fund the government.

The new Congress will have the same people in charge but new, slimmer majorities and a few new faces eager to make a difference but totally ignorant about how futile their attempts will be.

If this wasn’t such a catastrophic failure of leadership and legislation, the whole thing would be comical. The failure of Congress to legislate transparently and effectively (note: not necessarily efficient manner) is one of the few things that should worry Americans about our Republic. A few very powerful congressional leaders are squashing our voice in the federal government.

At some point in the early 20th or late 19th century, Americans became captives of their own government and the political parties that run it; we have been suffering from Stockholm Syndrome ever since.



Thaddeus R. Winker
The Liberty Hawk

Independent, snarky, constitutionalist who happens to like Dungeons and Dragons and Star Wars.