Monday, March 16, 2009

A Sticky Dickey-Wicker

CNS reports:
On Wednesday, only two days after he lifted President Bush’s executive order banning federal funding of stem cell research that requires the destruction of human embryos, President Barack Obama signed a law that explicitly bans federal funding of any "research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death."

The provision was buried in the 465-page omnibus appropriations bill that Obama signed Wednesday. Known as the Dickey-Wicker amendment, it has been included in the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services every fiscal year since 1996.
How ironic. This is definitely a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing. In this case, it's hard to feel bad about it -- although I'm sure the President is a little embarrassed if anybody other than CNS and Fox News has reported on it. Now unless they rush to reverse themselves, it will be in effect until the end of the fiscal year, September 30.

It's little flubs like this that just make my point for me: omnibus bills are bad. It's bad governance. An Omnibus bill can be defined as a legislative bill which provides for a number of miscellaneous enactments or appropriations. In plain terms, this means "a kitchen sink bill". This is how legislative pork gets passed -- buried in attachments, riders, and amendments to a larger spending bill that "must" get passed.

Ominbus bills are collections of economic flotsam -- stuff that almost nobody wants and can't get passed on its own merits. My Senator, Jim Webb (D-VA), had the nerve to write this to me:
I was pleased to work with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to put this plan into place within a set of targeted parameters for economic renewal.
His cohort, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), fed me the same shovel-ready load of rubbish.
Moving forward, I will continue to work for Virginians to ensure that the funds in the stimulus package are directly targeted to job creation and "shovel ready" initiatives.
Really? This porkulus is "targeted"? Maybe it's targeted in the same way that a Gatling gun is targeted: if we just spray bullets (or money) in a wide enough swath, we just might hit something.

Phooey. Omnibus anathema sit.

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