Federal Government’s $1.2 Trillion Spending Package

Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.

— Steve’s Marketplace —

On this occasion, Aaron Bean sounds more like a counselor than a congressman. He is diagnosing a feverish addiction within our federal government.

“Congress’ spending addiction must end,” Bean commented last week, after the U.S. House passed a $1.2 trillion spending boondoggle. The local first-term congressman voted against the bloated package and publicized his astute decision.

“I could not in good conscience vote for more exorbitant spending at the expense of taxpayers,” Bean said in a press release about the appropriations bill. “It continues Washington’s out-of-control spending that will bankrupt our economy.”

Even worse, the measure does little to address what Bean calls “our most immediate national security threat – our porous border that is being invaded by criminals, gangs and terrorists.” Even an earlier version of the bill would have funded Ukraine and its border, but not ours.

Voting in opposition to new House Speaker Mike Johnson did not come easily for a freshman congressman. A surprising number of high-ranking Republican congressmen like John Rutherford, Steve Scalise and Elise Stefanik voted for the wasteful bill, siding with Johnson. After passing the House, the bill was quickly approved in the Senate.

As usual, Florida was well-represented by our exemplary Republican congressmen like Matt Gaetz, Byron Donalds, Kat Cammack, Greg Steube, Cory Mills, Michael Waltz and Anna Paulina Luna. Each one adamantly opposed the excessive spending, as did neighboring representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

Greene has deliberated over calling for a vote on Johnson’s removal for his confounding decisions, like pushing this bill through at the deadline. Johnson violated a new rule whereby House Republicans will have at least 72 hours to review a bill before voting on it. A full-fledged revolt led to the removal of Kevin McCarthy, the predecessor to Johnson.

In his typically brazen manner, Gaetz used strong words. “I would rather die on the field politically than continue to surrender to America’s defeat and demise,” Gaetz said. “Surrendering is precisely what this does. It surrenders on the border, on the budget, and on the bureaucrats that are choking out the economic freedom of our citizens.”

The so-called omnibus bill had multiple parts. By passing it, a government shutdown was averted. In prior shutdowns, Republicans in the House and Senate suffered the blame from a hard-left-leaning national media. 

Mills has earned positive acclaim for rescuing Americans trapped in Afghanistan, Israel and Haiti. “Proud to have voted “No” on the $1.2T reckless and fiscally irresponsible spending bill,” Mills wrote. “This is not in the best interests of the American people.”

Luna is a newcomer to the House like Bean. She has been unafraid to broadcast her opinions. “The swamp is alive and well in Washington, D.C., unfortunately,” Luna said regarding special-interest spending. “What I’m telling people is if you are frustrated with Capitol Hill, stop sending us the same people that are simply part of the problem.”

Republicans hold a slim majority in the House. And that majority is shriveling like an azalea without water, as conservative members like Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin suddenly resign. The timing of Gallagher’s resignation may prevent a special election to fill his seat. If so, it would remain empty until the November elections.

The influential Donalds denounced Gallagher’s decision to leave before his two-year term is complete. Gallagher should “finish the job,” Donalds said.

“Leaving in the middle of your term is a serious, serious matter,” Donalds said. “If you’re going to run for office, you have a responsibility to your district to stay until the end of your term.”

Bean appears more committed than ever. After his landmark vote, Bean held his popular monthly teleconference with his constituents. Bean is flourishing in his new role, attaining several higher-profile committee positions. He is a rising star in the Republican party, like his Florida colleagues.

Bean knows and loves Congress. And more than anyone, he wants Congress to get better, ridding its addiction to spending. Maybe he can play a doctor next time – who finds the cure for terminal government ailments.

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Steve Nicklas is the managing partner of Nicklas Wealth Management in Fernandina Beach. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns also appear in weekly newspapers in Northeast Florida and in Southeast Georgia, and on his website atwww.SteveNicklasMarketplace.com. He has published a book, “All About Money,” of his favorite columns from the past 20 years. The book is available on Amazon. He has also done financial reports for area radio stations and for National Public Radio in Jacksonville. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 904-753-0236.)