Rep. Huffman Votes Against Omnibus Spending Bill
Washington, D.C.- Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA) today released the following statement after voting against the Consolidated Appropriations Act, a 2,323 page bill to fund the federal government for six months that was released at 8 p.m. last night. The House voted on the legislation shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon:
“I opposed this omnibus appropriations bill because it fell short of Congress’ responsibilities in too many ways –and in several respects, those shortfalls were egregious, including:
- This was one of the last, best opportunities to honor America’s promise to hundreds of thousands of Dreamers whose lives have been put in limbo by President Trump. Yet the omnibus bill provides no such protection, while wasting $1.6 billion in laying the foundation for Trump’s crazy border wall scheme.
- The massive increase in Pentagon spending, including $66 billion for the opaque slush fund known as Overseas Contingency Operations, is an unconscionable misplaced priority; so is the last-minute inclusion of the so-called CLOUD Act, which undermines civil liberties by allowing the Trump administration to permit foreign countries to spy on American citizens in our own country without adequate safeguards or accountability.
- At a time when there is great political pressure to do something meaningful to address the scourge of gun violence, and with millions of young people preparing to take to the streets in the March for our Lives, the bill includes token, cosmetic provisions on gun violence research and background checks. Republicans will no doubt use these inadequate measures as political cover to justify taking no further action on this important issue.
I’m disappointed that these and other problems were not resolved, because the omnibus bill also includes many good provisions, including the following outcomes I helped fight for and I now applaud:
- A long-overdue ‘fire borrowing’ funding fix that will free up Forest Service budgets in future years, including to enable more proactive forest management that better protects California and other western states from catastrophic wildfires.
- Significant investments for rural communities through PILT, increased IDEA and Impact Aid funding, and a long-overdue increase in the Land and Water Conservation Fund that is so vital to our public lands.
- Rejection of toxic policy riders that Republicans had been pushing that would undermine environmental laws, women’s reproductive choice, and the integrity of our public education system, among other things.
- Rejection of President Trump’s outrageous budget cut proposals on education, health research, and clean energy R&D.
While this was a difficult vote, I ultimately concluded that the severe consequences of the bill’s shortcomings are too great to merit my support, notwithstanding the many good provisions. I will continue to work toward a long-term solution for the Dreamers, on common sense reforms for all those demanding action on gun violence, and for more responsible priorities for the millions of Americans who will be asked to pay the bill for the exorbitant defense spending which, along with the reckless GOP tax scam, is causing our national debt to spiral out of control.”