GOP Pledge-O-Meter

Do away with the concept of ''comprehensive'' spending bills

Do away with the concept of ''comprehensive'' spending bills. "Let’s break them up, to encourage scrutiny, and make spending cuts easier. Rather than pairing agencies and departments together, let them come to the House floor individually, to be judged on their own merit. Members shouldn’t have to vote for big spending increases at the Labor Department in order to fund Health and Human Services. Members shouldn’t have to vote for big increases at the Commerce Department just because they support NASA. Each department and agency should justify itself each year to the full House and Senate, and be judged on its own."


Breaking up spending bills into smaller pieces? Didn't happen.

Passing spending bills in Washington has become a near impossibility, with Republicans in the House and Democrats in the Senate locking horns over priorities.

Not that Republicans in the House haven't tried.

"The House has voted 11 of the 12 (spending bills) out of committee, but then only six of them have gotten to the floor and been passed,” said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. (The Senate, for its part, has passed none.)

But those bills look just like the omnibus spending bills of years past.

"I don't think there was any real realignment in the structure or how the committees considered the bills,” Ellis said. "They didn't get to vote on NASA separate from the Department of Justice.”

House Speaker John Boehner's idea to separate unrelated spending matters so they can be considered individually is a good one, Ellis said, but it poses practical challenges.

"You want people to be able to speak about the issues, and you get a lot of agencies thrown together that don't have a lot in common but are voted on in the same package,” he said. "But there's a practical nature of this in that it is 12 different spending bills that you're voting on. They don't even get 12 done. Do we think they'd get 20? It's a tricky issue.”

The gridlock in Washington might be largely to blame, but this idea hasn't materialized. We rate it a Promise Broken.


The Hill, "Speaker's proposal to break up funding bills abandoned by GOP,” May 12, 2011

Email interview with Michael Steel, spokesman for John Boehner, Aug. 10, 2012

Interview with Steve Ellis, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Aug. 10, 2012