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Molly Moorhead
By Molly Moorhead August 10, 2012

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.

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