What is the difference of an omnibus bill? The omnibus bill is an all or nothing bill that is presented to the legislature containing more than one substantive matter, or contains a variety of minor matters. The apparent or purportedly but perhaps not actual pretense of the bill is to combine these matters into one bill for the sake of convenience.
In 1901, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania (Commonwealth v Barnett), the court stated “Bills, popularly called omnibus bills, became a crying evil, not only from the confusion and distraction of the legislative mind by the jumbling together of incongruous subjects, but still more by the facility they afforded to corrupt combinations of minorities with different interests to force the passage of bills with provisions which could never succeed if they stood on their separate merits.”(1)
The example of an omnibus bill recently was H.R. 3547 this bill introduced January 3, 2014 to the One Hundred Thirteenth Congress of the United States of America at the Second Session. The Act “making consolidated appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014 and for other purposes”. According to H.R. 3547 this Act may be cited as the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014” The omnibus bill is 639 pages long and covers twelve different appropriation bills to fund federal agencies. The bill included billions of dollars for HUD programs with the following breakdown.
$1 billion for HOME
$9.9 billion for Section 8
$19.2 billion for Section 8 voucher program
$2.1 billion for homeless assistance grants
$3.1 billion for the Community Development Fund
$384 million for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program
$126 million for Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities program
$1.9 billion for Public Housing Capital Fund
The H.R. 3547 also included billions for USDA with the following breakdown
$24.9 billion for Section 502 single-family loan program
$150 million for Section 538 multifamily loan program...