WASHINGTON D.C. —
Conservatives complained that the bill keeps the money flowing to wasteful programs, but the actual debate was a sleepy affair dominated by the old-school lawmakers who populate the Appropriations Committee.
“What’s this money going for?” said Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif. “It continues funding for the scandalous Essential Air Service that pays to fly empty and near empty planes across the country. It continues to throw money at all manner of immensely expensive and failed green energy programs and other forms of corporate welfare.”
The much-criticized Essential Air Service, which subsidizes airlines serving smaller rural airports and enjoys support from many conservatives whose districts benefit from its largess, would receive a record budget of $249 million. House-proposed reforms to limit per-ticket subsidies to no more than $500 were stripped out of the measure, preserving service to the average three people a day flying out of Great Bend, Kansas, and the two people who fly out of Glendive, Mont., per day.
The bill also blocks the Federal Emergency Management Agency from increasing flood insurance premiums on people whose homes are found to be in flood zones after FEMA remapping, a strike against changes enacted in 2012.