WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today voted against the $410 billion Omnibus Appropriations for FY09. The Senate voted 62 to 35 in favor of the bill, which will now go to the President for his signature.
“Once again, the Democratic Majority put forward a massive billion dollar spending bill and once again, I am proud to vote no and stand up for Oklahoman and American taxpayers,” Senator Inhofe said. “Each and every time, whether a Republican or Democratic initiative, I have refused to go along with big government spending or big government solutions. This is particularly true in light of the $787 billion spending package Democrats pushed through just in the past few weeks.
“The $410 billion appropriations bill represents an 8% increase in government spending over last year’s appropriations measures at a time when the median household income increase over the past 8 years was only 2.7%, and increase in inflation was 3% over the same period. This is what happens when we fail to get last year’s business done last year. We are forced to combine 9 different appropriations bills into one, which is no way to for Congress to consider funding the federal government.
"Much of the debate over the past week has focused on earmarks included in this bill, which add up to 1% of the total spending in this bill. To be as honest and transparent as possible, I have posted each and every earmark I requested on behalf of my constituents on my website. I want my constituents to be absolutely clear about my position on earmarks. As long as the current process remains, you can bet I will be working to get every dollar I can for Oklahoma. I have a proud record of ensuring that funding for roadway and military infrastructure, hospitals and schools, among other important investments, is brought back to Oklahoma. Importantly, each of my requests has been through the authorization and appropriations process. If anyone has questions about any of these earmarks, I encourage them to contact my office.
“Of much greater concern to me is an important provision in this bill that thus far has received little attention and one that could severely impact transportation projects across Oklahoma and the nation. The implementation of Section 429 could mean that any increase in carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emissions anywhere in the country could be subject to legal challenge. Any permit for a power plant, refinery or road project that increases the volume of traffic anywhere in the U.S. could be subject to litigation if it contributes to total carbon emissions. Lawsuits and ESA-prompted delays could extend past fossil fuel-linked projects too, if those projects could increase greenhouse gas emissions or reduce natural carbon dioxide uptake. If this provision is allowed to stand, it will likely endanger the delivery of the majority of the construction projects funded by the recent stimulus bill, since these projects have not gone through a Section 7 consultation regarding their impacts on the polar bear. This could mean bad news for the recent release of $28 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to state and local transportation authorities to repair and build highways, roads and bridges.
“Also of great concern is that the United States Congress has reversed course on a longstanding bi-partisan policy going back to the Clinton Administration prohibiting U.S. taxpayers funding of U.N. global taxes in annual appropriations bills. Democrats voted against my attempt to reinstate this important U.S. policy and ensure that officials at the U.N. and other international bureaucracies who receive generous funding from U.S. taxpayers do not pursue or implement policies of international taxes on U.S. taxpayers.”
Related: Oklahoma Papers Continued Support for Inhofe's Responsible Approach on Earmarks Inhofe Proposes Amendments to Omnibus Bill Inhofe Warns Broadcaster Licenses Could Be Revoked Under “Durbin Doctrine” Senate Reverses Course on U.N. Global Taxes ###