Hidden deep inside the controversial $1.7 trillion government spending package unveiled on Tuesday was a secret little honor for Michelle Obama that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars — and that’s just the beginning.
The huge government spending plan is filled with pork barrel earmarks like $3 million for an LGTBQ+ museum in New York City, and $1 million in tax dollars for a ]“coworking and community space” for “women and gender-expansive people of color” in Ohio, the conservative Heritage Foundation warned.
And taxpayers will also shell out over $3.6 million to build a hiking trail in Johnson, Georgia, named after the former first lady.
$3.6 million dollars… for a hiking trail.
Take a look —
A few more earmarks:
$477k for "antiracist" training from the Equity Institute
$3 million for the LGBTQ+ museum in NYC
$1.2 million in "services for DACA recipients"
$4.1 million in various career programs for one of the richest counties in the US (Fairfax) pic.twitter.com/pPTxuTwGfQ
— Rep. Dan Bishop (@RepDanBishop) December 20, 2022
Would you spend $2 million on a wax museum?
How about $3.6 million on the “Michelle Obama Trail?”
Well, you’re about to.
These are two earmarks in the omnibus spending bill that will become law this week.
I'll be voting to strip every earmark out of the bill.
— Senator Mike Braun (@SenatorBraun) December 20, 2022
Congressional leaders unveiled the massive spending package early Tuesday.
The bill, which runs for 4,155 pages, includes spending that totals about $772.5 billion for non-defense, discretionary programs and would last through the end of the fiscal year at the end of September.
Lawmakers worked to stuff as many priorities as they could into the sprawling package, likely the last major bill of the current Congress.
Congressional leaders in charge of the negotiations released the details of the bill shortly before 2 a.m. Tuesday.
Here’s what the bill looks like —
I wonder how long it would take the clerk to read this… pic.twitter.com/iaphBzTEsS
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 20, 2022
Lawmakers have until a midnight Friday deadline to read and pass the bill, or face the prospect of a partial government shutdown going into the Christmas holiday.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell had warned that if the fiscal year 2023 spending measure failed to gain bipartisan support this week, he would seek another short-term patch into next year, guaranteeing that the new Republican majority in the House would get to shape the package.
McConnell said the GOP’s negotiations were successful in the end. He framed the longer-term spending bill as a victory for the GOP, even as many Republicans will undoubtedly vote against it. He said Republicans succeeded in increasing defense spending far beyond Biden’s request while scaling back some of the increase Biden wanted for domestic spending.
“We’ve transferred huge sums of money away from Democrats’ spending wish list toward our national defense and armed forces, but without allowing the overall cost of the package to go higher,” McConnell said.
But a group of 13 current and incoming House Republicans has threatened to oppose the legislative priorities next year of any senators who vote for the bill, including McConnell. And the next likely speaker of the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted Tuesday that he agreed with them.
“When I’m Speaker, their bills will be dead on arrival in the House if this nearly $2T monstrosity is allowed to move forward over our objections and the will of the American people,” McCarthy tweeted.
Sen. John Thune, the No. 2-ranking Republican in the Senate, told reporters “tensions are high in the House. There’s a lot going on there right now, but in the end, I think when the dust settles and the smoke clears, Republicans in the House and Senate will have to figure out a way to work together next year.”
Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said in a statement that neither side got everything it wanted. But she praised the deal as “good for our economy, our competitiveness, and our country, and I urge Congress to send it to the President’s desk without delay.”
Lawmakers are nearing completion of the 2023 spending package nearly three months late. It was supposed to be finished by Oct. 1, when the government’s fiscal year began.
The last time Congress enacted all its spending bills by then was in 1996, when the Senate finished its work on Sept. 30, the very last day of the budget year. Then-President Bill Clinton signed it that same day.
The Senate is expected to vote on the spending bill first, and support from at least 10 Republican senators will be needed to pass it before it is considered by the House.
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article