Spending Our Future Away

A spending bill of $1.27 trillion dollars, laid out by the Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye this week, is under fire from Republicans. The nearly 2,000-page document includes about 6,700 earmarks, requested by both parties. But if neither side can agree, the government will face a possible shutdown. Congressman Jim Matheson, Democratic representative from Utah, joined Varney & Co. this morning to share his opinion.

“I think that this bill has too many special deals in it,” said Rep. Matheson. “There’s no question about it.”

The spending bill is now before the Senate, but even if it passes, it is not a done deal.

“First of all the bill has to come back to the House if the Senate passes it with all those earmarks,” said Rep. Matheson. “I’m going to vote against it and I don’t know if the votes are in the House to pass that bill.”

It is unclear whether or not the bill has enough support. Republican senators who have earmarks in the bill are now saying they will vote against it.

If a deal is not made, the government runs out of money midnight, Saturday. If the bill is defeated, a government shutdown looms, although not ideal for either side.

“Nobody wins if the government shuts down. If you want to make it a partisan issue, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans win if you have a government shutdown,” said Rep. Matheson. “I’d like to think at some point we will prevail and one way or another we are going to avoid that type of situation.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid defended earmarks today, taking aim at both President Obama and Senate Republicans on the issue.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has offered a one-page bill to prevent a government shutdown on Saturday as an alternative to the 1,924 page document offered by democrats.

A vote is expected soon.