Federal spending continues to rise, and Alabama Senator Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) is behind it again.

Late last week, Congress passed a 2,700-page, $1.5 trillion spending package for fiscal year 2022. The federal government had been running on temporary spending bills for the past five months, unable to come to agreement on a full-year measure.

Under the approved plan, all sectors of the federal government will get more money. Defense spending is set to rise by $42 billion (5.6 %) over 2021 while domestic programs will see a $46 billion (6.7%) increase. The bill includes an additional $13.6 billion dedicated towards supporting Ukraine.

Shelby, the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was a strong proponent of increased defense spending and was willing to trade a larger increase in domestic spending to get it. The U.S. already spends more on national defense than the next 11 countries combined.

But what does more federal spending mean for Alabama? Inflation is at a 40-year high. More federal spending is likely to push inflation even higher, meaning that the price Alabamians pay for everyday necessities will continue to rise.

The omnibus spending bill passed 68-31 in the Senate with both Senator Shelby and Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) voting for the measure. It passed the house by a vote of 260-171, with Congressmen Jerry Carl (R-AL 01) and Terri Sewell (D-AL 02) voting yes while the rest of the Alabama House delegation voted against the bill.

As the May 2022 primary election and November general election nears, the Omnibus spending bill gives insight into the priorities of Alabama’s elected officials. As a citizen, do you want a bigger federal government? Clearly, some of Alabama’s Congressional delegation does.

The contrast between members of the delegation couldn’t be starker, with some only interested in “bringing home the bacon” without regard for what the long-term impact to Alabama and the country will be.

Shelby said, "I am pleased that we have succeeded in securing this funding for Alabama, and I look forward to the impact it will have on our state and the nation."

Rep. Carl bragged that “Today, I voted to bring home over $1 billion in federal funding for south Alabama.” Two of the items he said money will go towards, the Port of Mobile and state infrastructure improvements, already receive dedicated state funding (2019 Alabama gas tax increase).

While Shelby and Carl boasted about the new spending, Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05) said that he was “sickened” by the spending bill and that “It is even more troubling that these bipartisan 'leaders' continue to insist on Congress spending $1.5 trillion America does not have, has to borrow to get, and cannot afford to pay back.”

In total, the federal government spent $6.6 trillion and $7.2 trillion in 2020 and 2021 respectively, a 9.1% increase in one year. The national debt now exceeds $30 trillion. Do they truly think this is sustainable?

While many Alabamians may think, “so what?" federal spending is much like state spending. It’s your money. Every dollar that the federal government spends represents money that has been taxed from you or borrowing that all taxpayers will someday have to pay for through higher taxes. You should care, especially when Shelby, the senior Senator from Alabama, is leading the push for higher spending.

When more money is being injected into the economy, combined with low interest rates, inflation increases. The federal government, as well as our state government, is spending like never before. The current Federal Reserve interest rate is near 0%. A .25% rate increase could be announced as early as this week, but will have little short-term impact on rising inflation.

Out-of-control spending combined with the monetary decisions of the Federal Reserve has gotten the country to 7.9% inflation, the highest since 1982. The point is the spending decisions made by some of our elected officials in Washington is costing Alabamians dearly.

Is “bringing home the bacon” to Alabama a good thing if it means you can’t even afford to buy bacon at the store, or gas costs over $4 per gallon to get you there?

Alabamians have no control over what the Federal Reserve does, but we can hold our elected officials responsible for their actions. And in the coming months, as we choose who to elect to the next Congress, we all should be sure that they stand for our values and the best interests of our state.

Being willing to bring as much money back to Alabama as possible, no matter the cost, shouldn’t be the prerequisite.

The Alabama Policy Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan educational and research organization committed to free markets, limited government, and strong families. API reaches its goal of sound public policy through research, advocacy, and public education efforts. To learn more about API, see AlabamaPolicy.org. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.