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January 15, 2014 10:16 AM Laying Down Markers

By Ed Kilgore

So the House is expected to act on a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill today, and it seems leaders of both parties in Congress have decided to low-key the whole thing. Republicans are supposed to like the bill because it reduces domestic spending below the levels that prevailed when George W. Bush left office, and contains a lot of conservative policy riders. Democrats are relieved it restores funding from sequestered accounts, and that the riders mostly aimed at the capillaries of major progressive priorities. And everyone can shrug and say the bill just implements December’s budget “deal,” which Congress already approved.

Still, the deadly duo of Heritage Action and Club For Growth are opposing the omnibus bill as a “scored” vote, which means the ratings of Members for voting “wrong” will be affected. And you’d better believe conservative primary challengers around the country will be uniformly opposing the bill and trying to make it an issue. So even if omnibus appropriations slide through Congress without a lot of noise, markers are being laid down that could matter down the road.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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