What Congress is up to

While the Pennsylvania General Assembly is on vacation, Congress is not – and they are up to no good.

1) The House passed the housing bailout bill, which backs (with taxpayer funds) the refinancing of up to $300 billion in bad mortgages, tax incentives for housing development and purchasing, funding for state and local governments to buy and rehab foreclosed homes, and bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Wall Street Journal blasts this bill, as does NTU. Open Markets notes that protections against Kelo-style eminent domain abuses were stripped from the bill.

President Bush had promised to veto the bill, but backed off, to the ire of CAGW and Capital Research Center. Open Markets has the harshest words:

The White House is now backing away from its threat to veto the pork-filled bills that would bail out government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae’s executives engaged in massive accounting fraud to inflate their multimillion dollar bonuses. They also used heavy-handed tactics against the press and lawmakers like Paul Ryan and Richard Baker to fight off reforms that would have curbed their risky practices. Fannie Mae’s liberal supporters on Capitol Hill, like Barney Frank, Charles Schumer, and Chris Dodd, are now using mortgage bailout legislation to subsidize left-wing groups that support them, like ACORN and La Raza, at taxpayer expense.

2) The Senate may vote on “Harry Reid’s Monkey Pork Bill”. This bill combines some 35 bills, creates at least 34 new government programs and costs $11 billion in federal spending. Reid is trying to push it through without debate, out of frustration with Sen. Tom Coburn, who was – get this – demanding debate on all these bills, rather than rush them through via “unanimous consent agreements”. More on this one from NTU, CAGW, and the Club for Growth.

3) The House voted to transfer $8 billion to bail out the Highway Trust Fund, rather than address the $24 billion in pork and earmarks coming out of this fund.