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Vote Alert: Pass a $555 billion Christmas minibus spending spree

Conservative Review

This was a vote on a 1,773-page “minibus” spending bill to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year. The bill funds the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, the Department of Energy, the Interior Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department, the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Legislative Branch.

This legislation is a cornucopia of government waste and funding for progressive priorities, while President Trump’s campaign promises once again are neglected by Congress.

To summarize:

  • The minibus bill spends $555 billion, increasing the deficit by another $390 billion on top of the increases from previous years, placing spending levels well above Trump’s budget proposals in every year.
  • While it dramatically increases spending for bureaucracies like the Department of Education, Congress did not increase spending for the most needed function – immigration enforcement. ICE badly needs more detention space and agents for deportations.
  • Major policy changes in the bill benefit special interests. The corporate welfare Export-Import Bank, which subsidizes countries like Saudi Arabia to purchase Boeing products, is reauthorized for seven years.
  • Congress added new tax extenders for special interests at taxpayer expense.
  • Congress repealed the Obamacare tax increases, which might sound like a good thing, but it’s actually going to make Obamacare worse because the bill contains a host of reauthorizations and expansions for all of the subsidy programs under Obamacare and Medicaid expansion. Congress also barred some of the recent regulatory reforms Trump imposed on Obamacare. While the core of Obamacare is codified and expanded, the taxes that paid for Obamacare were repealed. The effect is bigger deficits while the health care industry gets free handouts.
  • Additionally, taxpayers are still paying for abortions through Obamacare insurance plans.
  • Congress also expanded the federal Medicaid matching funds for U.S. territories by roughly 50 percent, incentivizing our territories to bust their budgets expanding Medicaid with the hope that the federal government will bail them out in the future.
  • Congress bafflingly raised the age to purchase tobacco products to 21. While Congress has shown no will to fight back against states violating federal immigration law, it has now seized a state issue and nationalized it. While 18-year-old American soldiers continue to fight and die in Afghanistan in a war that began before they were born, they won’t even have the freedom to choose whether or not to smoke.
  • Congress once again extended the broken and insolvent National Flood Insurance Program, which is now nearly $25 billion in debt.
  • Congress is requiring the CDC and the National Institutes of Health to spend $25 million each to study gun violence.

This summary only scratches the surface of the bad policies conservatives do not support that are hidden in this bill. Immorally, the minibus was handed to lawmakers just days before they were expected to vote on the bill to avoid a government shutdown. No one read the bill, save for the lobbyists who wrote it. How can lawmakers represent the people’s interests if they have not read and cannot understand what they are voting for? How can the people understand and follow the law when it is too voluminous to read?

This minibus bill spends taxpayer money irresponsibly, funds policies that conservatives cannot support, fails to fund policies conservatives do support, and in execution, it is simply bad government.

The House of Representatives passed the 1,773-page minibus on December 17, 2019, at 2:05 pm ET in a roll call vote of 297 – 120.

The Senate passed the minibus bill on December 19, 2019, at 12:48 pm ET in a roll call vote of 71 – 23.

To see how your elected officials stack up or other votes that compose the Liberty Score, view our full scorecard here.

Conservative position: NO

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