Omnibus clocks in at 1,200 pages

House Republicans made a habit of criticizing Democrats for passing 1,000-page bills in the last Congress, but the spending measure they introduced late Wednesday night resembles a dictionary itself.

The $1 trillion spending package, which includes nine separate appropriations bills, came in at 1,209 pages. That excludes a five-page disaster relief bill that would be voted on separately.

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Lawmakers in both parties have lamented the need for an omnibus, but with time running short, it is the only alternative to another series of stopgap continuing resolutions to keep the government running through 2012, and lawmakers hate those even more.

Republicans blame Democrats for not passing a full budget when they controlled Congress in 2010, forcing a delay in the appropriations process for the 2012 fiscal year.

Democrats in turn have accused Republicans of creating a phony crisis over the debt limit during the summer, which made it harder for both the House and Senate to pass the 12 annual appropriation bills.

Budget hawks in both parties are aghast at the size of the omnibus and the speed with which it is being considered.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) held it up for the cameras at a committee hearing on Thursday. “This is not good,” he said. “Most people are going to be voting on stuff when they have no idea what’s in here.”

“I would have suggest no member of this committee has had an opportunity to scrutinize this bill,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said, hefting the document. He noted that it was released at 12:37 a.m. on Thursday ahead of a Friday vote. Republicans technically introduced the measure shortly before midnight, allowing them to vote on it Friday while satisfying their rule that all legislation be available on three calendar days before it comes up for a vote.

Van Hollen noted that four of the nine bills were never voted on in the House and two of them were never voted on in the Appropriations Committee.

— Erik Wasson contributed to this report.