The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed an omnibus spending bill Wednesday, despite conservative disgust that many GOP priorities were left on the cutting-room floor even though Republicans control Congress and the White House.
The 309-118 vote keeps the government funded through September. Republican leaders tout the increased funding for the military and border security and cuts for the Environmental Protection Agency. However, conservatives are grousing about what’s also in the bill, namely full funding for sanctuary cities and Planned Parenthood and nothing for construction of a border wall. Democrats had threatened to filibuster over wall funding.
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., is among those fuming over what he considers a bill that fails to do what GOP lawmakers promised to do during the 2016 campaign.
“It’s a big loss, and it’s not the best we can get,” Buck told WND and Radio America. “The people of America elected a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican in the White House. We should be reflecting Republican values, and this bill does not reflect Republican values.
“This is the first chance we had to show the American people that there is a difference between the Obama administration and the Trump administration, between Harry Reid as a Senate majority leader and Mitch McConnell as a Senate majority leader. If we’re going to make that clear distinction for the American people, so they know when they go to the polls they’re going to be voting for more spending or less spending, we should make that with this bill.”
Even more baffling to Buck is that congressional Republicans insisted on extending funding only to this point late last year so that Trump could get a head start on his priorities.
“The reason that we didn’t pass a two-month continuing resolution last fall was because we wanted a president in place,” Buck said. “We wanted his administration in place. We wanted his priorities in place, and that’s not what happened.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo.:
In addition to the individual programs that are addressed in the omnibus bill, Buck said the red ink is now piling higher under Republican stewardship.
“Last year, we incurred $600 billion of debt in a bipartisan omnibus bill. I was told recently that it will take $2 trillion to service the debt of that $600 billion. This bill is even more deficit spending. Between last year and this year, we will have incurred $4 trillion of expenses to pay off the debt, just in two years,” said Buck, who is also the author of “Draining the Swamp: How Washington Corruption is Worse then You Think.”
He said this bill follows on the heels of the Obama administration insisting on a dollar of domestic spending for every new dollar of military spending. Buck said Washington is delivering a gut punch to future generations.
“We have increased spending across the board in ways that are just unfair to future generations,” he said. “I think the people who put this bill together are wrong. It went through the wrong process. It was 1,657 pages that were dumped on us just a couple of days ago. It is not the way to govern in this country.”
Buck also dismissed the argument by some Republican leaders that a showdown with Democrats over spending should happen, but not until the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2018 begins.
“I have heard that for two years as a congressman. I heard it for the two years before that, when I was a candidate,” he said. “I imagine that if I am here another three or four years, I will hear the same thing. We’re always going to fix this problem tomorrow. We’re not going to fix this problem today. Today is the day we (should) fix this problem.”
How does this cycle get reversed? Buck said it begins with regular order.
“Conservatives win when our leadership in the House says we are going to pass 12 appropriations bills, send those to the Senate and make them do their job,” Buck said.
In the previous Congress, Senate Democrats refused to consider individual appropriations bills. Buck said Republicans need to force their hand.
“If Chuck Schumer wants to filibuster and hold things up in the Senate, that’s their problem,” he said. “That’s not the problem of the House. The Senate needs to either get rid of the filibuster and go with a 51-vote majority, or they need to let the Senate filibuster and hold those Democratic senators accountable.”
Buck is not upset with President Trump for vowing to sign the omnibus, suggesting the president does not have much of a choice this time. However, he hopes to see Trump drive the process come September, and he warns the American people are not going to tolerate many more bills like this one.
“If we have another spending bill that looks like this, I think the American people are going to be very upset,” he said. “They don’t have anywhere else to turn right now. They’ve seen trillion-dollar debts accumulate with President Obama and a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate. Now they’re seeing hundreds of billions of dollars [of] debt with a Republican president, Republican Senate, Republican House.”