What has pork, cash cows, and ritual sacrifice? Why, the Omnibus Spending Bill of 2009, finally speeding through Congress. Yes, that's right, the plain ole budget for fiscal year 2009, which began, by the way, back on October 1, 2008. Democrats in both chambers sat on the bill hoping one of their own would grab the White House--and apparently for good reason. The version that House Democrats rammed through yesterday again zeroes out the Reading First program and also puts a sword through the heart of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship (a.k.a. voucher) program. But it provides mounts of dollars for Head Start and Title I, as well as earmarks-a-plenty (over $8 billion worth, according to one watchdog group). It wasn't enough to throw $100 billion at education via the economic "stimulus" package. House Dems are also intent on stripping out the few federal programs with true promise for poor kids. If this is because of their continued hatred of President Bush, let us remind them: he's back in Texas. It's time to move on. And this bill, of course, now moves on to the Senate.
"House Passes Spending Bill, and Critics are Quick to Point Out Pork," by Robert Pear, New York Times, February 25, 2009
"Summary: 2009 Labor, Health & Education Appropriations," Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives, released February 23, 2009