Saxman: Merry Omnibus Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief Package! YO.

By Chris Saxman

The 5500 +/- page bill that passed Congress last night by wide margins was distributed to our elected representatives shortly before 2pm.

At 200 pages an hour, it would have taken 27.5 hours to read.

It’s known as the Omnibus Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief Package. If you try to find out how your House member voted you can click here and how your Senators voted here.

In doing so, you will see the bill was originally titled “United States – Mexico Economic Partnership Act.”

Not only does it cover much needed Coronavirus Relief, it also contained scores of other bills from other committees which ended up having the final parts negotiated by unelected staffers who will likely spend much of their upcoming lobbying careers working out the finer details as time marches on.

As one congressman texted me early this morning:

Many committee chairs are over 75 and you have young, inexperienced staffers writing legislation.

Twitter followers is the objective.

Yes, the almighty Twitter following that is key to political communications is apparently THE objective for the politicos.

Cynics are often cast aside realists with an axe to grind but let’s be honest here, no one read the damn bill.

Can anyone rightly blame a member of Congress for voting or against the bill?

Instead we get to blame The System. Talk about a feel good moment.

What feels better than blaming all members of Congress and the so-called Swamp?

ANSWER: Getting paid to do it!

Bills of that length will have some very good and some very bad features. After all, how does one vote against Coronavirus Relief?

ANSWER : NO is always the easier vote. One can explain away that the relief wasn’t good enough or that there were parts that should not have been in the bill that had nothing to do with Coronavirus etc…etc…etc…

Example: one issue in the bill relates to health care. It’s known as surprise billing. That part made up almost 500 pages of this “Relief Package” legislation.

What’s in that part you ask? No idea. But it will be law soon.

Every member of Congress is recorded as either voting for everything in the bill or against everything in the bill.

It does not matter how they voted in committee on the bills or on various amendments. All that good, hard legislative work was just jammed into one bill with one vote.

Members of Congress are now on their way home for the holidays waiting to see what they actually voted on which will first appear as horrible social media posts descending upon them either en route or as they arrive.

Which brought to me to recall Eminem’s brilliant rap song from pre-social media 2002 called Lose Yourself. Here are the introductory lyrics, part of the refrain, and the video.

Never heard it? The video has 995 MILLION views.

If you had
One shot
Or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment
Would you capture it
Or just let it slip?


You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.

The reality for a lot of incumbents is that this gives them the longest amount of time possible before they can be held accountable for the vote. Which again is probably both a very good and a very bad thing.

For political campaign consultants, it’s treasure trove of opposition research.

CAN YOU BELIEVE THEY VOTED FOR (or against) THIS????!!! Please click here to donate to my campaign to fix Washington!

It’s one up or down vote. All or nothing.

One shot to get everything passed AFTER the election?

Merry Christmas! Yo Yo Yo.

The first week of New Year will see several very important actions in DC.

  1. Whether or not the slim Democratic majority seats Republicans who barely won House seats in Iowa and New York. Both IA – 2 and NY- 22 have been certified by their respective states. That will be an interesting debate and vote given the backdrop of the Texas lawsuit that was reported to be “overturning elections” “seditious” etc… That vote is on January 3rd.
  2. The election of the Speaker of the House. Nancy Pelosi has the support of the Democratic caucus, but does she have the 218 votes necessary? She cannot afford five defections right now. (See Iowa and New York) Members voting “present” are a negative vote. That vote is also on January 3rd.
  3. January 5th – the Georgia Senate Runoffs and also Special Elections in two Virginia House races. Georgia will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate while the Virginia races will bellwether the 2021 elections in the Commonwealth. Public polling has GOP with very slight leads in Georgia.
  4. January 6th – Joint Session of Congress to consider the Electoral College votes and flesh out possible GOP candidates for president in 2024. Expect Republican House members to challenge certain states.

Hopefully over the holiday break, Congress will read this article from Pew Research on what Biden and Trump Voters say they want their opponents to know about them.

Yet there is a sentiment with which large shares of both Biden and Trump voters agree: a feeling that those who supported the other candidate have little or no understanding of people like them.

We don’t understand each other and it looks like there is zero interest in learning about our Scrooges or their city’s tale.

Meanwhile Russia apparently hacked the Dickens (see what I did there?) out of our government’s computer systems. That’s bad, right?

As George Friedman writes over at Geopolitical Futures, we’ll see…. Actually, we probably won’t.

Intelligence prior to the 20th century was important, but nothing like it is today. It now sprawls in all directions in all nations. The global nature of great power interests generates vast establishments that seem to multiply. We all face the same moral dilemma. We all want to protect our countries. We all reasonably distrust each other. We all build intelligence services generously. They must have a veil of trust, or they can’t work. But in each country, the question is asked: Are they actually competent, and do they tell us the truth? At some point, the solution will not sustain itself.

Speaking of spying, here’s a fun article title Revealed: China suspected of spying on Americans via Caribbean phone networks.

Worried about China? Here’s some hope – McDonald’s sells ‘Spam burger’ with cookie crumbs in China. Mmm…

The sandwich is made of two slices of Spam, a product of Hormel Foods LLC, and Mondelez International’s Oreo cookies, topped with mayonnaise.

Here’s more hope for China in today’s WSJ column by Walter Russell Mead Beijing’s Collision With Christians: As the faith spreads, the Communist Party fears a threat to its political control.

Some projections suggest that by 2030 China could surpass America to have the largest population of Christians in the world.

Expect to hear more about our naval build up against China in the coming months. WSJ Editorial Board opines on that here :

Americans expect a dominant Navy that can deter adversaries while enforcing order on commercial sea lanes.

I’m not sure that we expect that. I doubt very seriously if many Americans know just how much global commerce travels the oceans blue. The UN in a late 2018 report said

Maritime transport is the backbone of international trade and the global economy. Around 80 per cent of global trade by volume and over 70 per cent of global trade by value are carried by sea and are handled by ports worldwide.

One thing is for certain – time marches on.

2021 will be upon us soon. We will be facing ourselves and each other wondering how we have changed. Where are we going? What are we doing? What really matters and what doesn’t?

Most of the change will occur without conscious thought.

Fundamentals have shifted. Gone, but not forgotten, are the old debates about the size, scope, and cost of government. Are core functions still core or have they have been exposed? How private is the private sector anymore? Not just from our own government, but how much do our global adversaries intrude in our businesses?

Is the integration of public and private sectors creating tremendous opportunities while destabilizing our culture at the same time?

All of these changes will impact our economy and our politics. We changed a great deal after the market crash of 2008-09 and the impact has been profound so far.

Some states will win and some will lose. Trends will accelerate or possibly reverse.

They say politics is the art of the possible. Business in the 20’s will be more probable than possible given the consolidation of capital around the globe. The trend lines are unmistakable.

If you had
One shot
Or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment
Would you capture it
Or just let it slip?


You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.


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