Compromise with a Side of Pork

Fiscal cliff bill full of excessive spending, unspecified cuts

January 2, 2013

Republicans expressed dismay at the amount of excessive spending in the fiscal cliff deal that Congress passed Tuesday evening.

"The Senate loaded this up with pork," said Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) Wednesday during an appearance on the Laura Ingraham show. "This bill was filled with both tax extenders and spending."

The spending included an extension of unemployment insurance while the tax breaks include subsidies for electric scooters and wind turbines.

The deal will result in the deficit growing by nearly $4 trillion over ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Issa was the only Republican of the 151 who voted against the bill to speak on the floor in opposition to its passage.

He bemoaned the spending increases and the tax loophole extensions in his speech. "We are taxing $1.2 trillion next year," he said, arguing that the spending increases constitute an effective tax on later generations.

"We’re not getting rid of the NASCAR loophole, we’re not getting rid of the electric motor scooter low speed loophole, we’re not getting rid of a whole lot of tax things that are here," he said.

CNN ran a segment Wednesday morning highlighting the pork included in the bill. CNN specifically noted various tax loopholes, including those for Rum, NASCAR, Railroads, and Hollywood.

Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, noted on CNN that cellulosic biofuels got a tax break in the bill even though "we have never produced cellulosic biofuels that can be used commercially."

Others complained about the expenditures included in the bill.

"What I see is pretty much more spending," said Patrick Louis Knudsen, a budget expert at the Heritage Foundation.

The bill contains $12 billion in unspecified spending cuts but Knudsen expressed doubts that the cuts will ever occur.

"We end up getting more spending up front and the spending reduction doesn’t materialize in the long run," he said.