Major conservative priorities have gone missing in the spending bill to fund the government through September, House lawmakers say.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, spelled out the worry Wednesday during Conversations with Conservatives, a monthly meeting with reporters hosted by conservative lawmakers and The Heritage Foundation.
“I think the real concern for a lot of us is, are we going to continue to fund sanctuary cities, are we going to continue to fund Planned Parenthood, are we going to continue to raise the debt to levels that, quite frankly, are unsustainable and bankrupt our country?” Meadows said.
Government funding runs out Friday at midnight, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., hopes for a vote on the omnibus spending bill Thursday.
Although the $1.3 trillion bill includes funding such as a $3 billion increase to counter the opioid drug crisis, a $10 billion increase for infrastructure, and $1.57 billion more for border security, it fails to address major conservative priorities, Meadows and others said. Among them:
- Planned Parenthood
The spending bill includes funding for Planned Parenthood, which conservatives had hoped would be stripped. It’s a major reason that Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said he would vote no.
“I am voting against it, as you already know … and if the bill passes the way it is, I would hope the White House does veto it,” Jordan said.
“I don’t know if they will, it’s been a long process so they may not, but I think it’s not good for the American taxpayer and not consistent with, in any way close to consistent with, what we said we would do when they elected us.”
- Transportation Earmark
The bill so far contains an earmark of about $900 million for the “Gateway project,” a rail and tunnel improvement between New York and New Jersey, as The Daily Signal previously reported. Lawmakers in recent years have said they no longer would commit funds to pet regional projects such as this.
“[The] Gateway project gets money, the American taxpayers get a $20 trillion deficit and no money for the [border] wall,” Jordan said.
“So that is not in any way close to what the election was about, close to what we campaigned on, close to what we told the American people we were going to accomplish if they gave us the privilege to serve and be in power,” the Ohio Republican said.
- Border Wall
The bill includes $1.6 billion for physical barriers and related technology at the U.S.-Mexico border, as NBC reported. But, Meadows said, that is not enough to begin significant construction of President Donald Trump’s promised border wall.
“It appears that at best it is going to be a $1.6 billion initiative for border security, which means that there is really no wall funding,” Meadows said. “They will try to spin it as there is wall funding, but the $1.6 billion has been in there for some time.”
“It is troubling when we get a tunnel and we don’t get a wall,” he said, “and the last time I checked, the president didn’t make any promises [about] getting a tunnel at his campaign stops, at least not in North Carolina.”