Democrats are Responsible for Omnibus Spending Deal
Republicans’ claims that Democrats were the ones to pass last week’s $1.3 trillion spending bill are reflected in the final Senate vote, where 39 Democrats voted in favor and 9 against. On the other side, 25 Republicans voted in favor and 23 voted against.
“The result is legislation that neither side sees as perfect but which contains a host of significant victories and important achievement on behalf of the American people,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday.
Groups to oppose the bill include McConnell’s Senate Republican Caucus, the House Freedom Caucus, and the Heritage Foundation. GOP members to vote “nay” include stalwart conservatives James Lankford (OK), Ted Cruz (TX), Rand Paul (KY), Cory Gardner (CO), Mike Lee (UT), and Tom Cotton (AR).
Deficit hawk Bob Corker (R-TN) called the bill “grotesque,” while John Kennedy (R-LA) called it a “great-dane-sized whiz down the leg of every taxpayer in this country.”
Trump reluctantly signed the bill Friday, claiming its benefits to the military outweighed drawbacks including:
- Minimal border wall funding
- No measure to keep funding from sanctuary cities
- No penalties on Planned Parenthood
- No protections for former DACA recipients
- No support for Devos’s education agenda
- A reduction in immigrant detention capacity
“We are very disappointed that in order to fund the military, we had to give up things we were considering,” Trump told reporters on Friday just hours after threatening to veto the bill. Trump also vowed he would “never sign a bill like this again” and called on Congress to end the filibuster rule.
Democrats were pleased as punch to see the bill go through, even if it lacked protections for Dreamers.
“The Democrats love this bill like the devil loves sin,” complained Louisiana Senator John Neely Kennedy. “I don’t understand why when President Obama does what we’re about to do, it’s bad for the country, but when we do it, it’s good for the country.”
Victories for Democrats include:
- A $3.9 billion increase in education spending
- $540 million for the Gateway project
- A law that will increase enforcement of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System
- Clarification that the CDC can use taxpayer money on public health research about firearms
- Funding for school safety programs
- An amendment that prohibits employers from taking ownership of employees’ tips
- A $1.3 billion increase in funding for the Census Bureau to conduct its 2020 census
“We Democrats feel very good because so many of our priorities for the middle class were included,” said New York Senator Chuck Schumer.
Victories for the GOP include massive boosts to military and domestic spending and a big pay raise for troops.
Celebrated by both parties is a $3 billion funding increase for medical research and $4 billion to help fight the opioid epidemic.
Lawmakers passed the measure at 1:00am on Friday morning, after having had less than 24 hours to read and interpret more than 2,200 pages of legislation.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said the final vote was “the most like a Saturday Night Live skit” she has seen during her 12 years in the Senate.
The spending bill funds the government through September 30th, 2018.
Editor’s note: Unfortunately the Republicans in Congress do not have Trump’s acumen for negotiation. This spending bill made a lot of Republicans and a lot of Americans angry.