The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill by an overwhelming 316-113 vote Friday morning, wrapping up a frenzied month of legislating just in time for the lawmakers to head home for the holidays.
The so-called Omnibus bill — a massive year-end spending bill that incorporates legislation from the 12 appropriations subcommittees as well as reforms to the Visa Waiver program and lifting a ban on U.S. oil exports — funds the federal government through September 2016. The bill now heads over to the U.S. Senate where it is expected to clear the chamber later Friday without the support of Alabama Sens. Richard Shelby or Jeff Sessions.
Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04) was the sole Alabama Republican to vote for the bill. He joined 149 of his GOP peers in supporting the measure, along with 95 Democrats including Alabama’s lone Democrat, Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07). The remainder of the seven-member delegation — Reps. Bradley Bryne, Martha Roby, Mike Rogers and Gary Palmer — voted against the bill.
Here’s what delegation members are saying about their votes:
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-01):
Our nation is at war, and I could not support a government funding bill that fails to address the reality of the serious security challenges our nation is facing. I was disappointed the bill did not include provisions to block any funding from going to the Syrian refugee resettlement program. For months now, I have been warning about the legitimate problems posed by this program, and this bill fails to prevent the President from bringing Syrian refugees into the United States.
Statement from U.S. Rep. Martha Roby‘s (AL-02) Communications Director Todd Stacy:
Representative Roby takes her role on the Appropriations Committee seriously. For the last year she fought to craft conservative spending policies that kept faith with our priorities and values. Unfortunately, this Omnibus bill abandoned that work and did not reflect the conservative principles she has fought for, so she voted against it.
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-03):
I am outraged that the bill that passed today did not prohibit funding for President Obama to bring refugees from the Syrian conflict to America. What happened in California demonstrates that Islamic terrorists are ready and willing to use our lax immigration system to enter our country to do us harm. Now, President Obama will be able to carry out his plan to let thousands of refugees from the Syrian conflict into the U.S. I have no confidence that these refugees can be properly vetted by this Administration. President Obama’s plan is dangerous and I will continue to fight against it.
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04):
U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05) Thursday prior to his Friday vote:
Tomorrow, Congress will once again be forced to vote on a hastily thrown together $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that is 2,009 pages long, that very few Senators and Congressmen have had the time to read much less fully understand, that no one was allowed to amend on the House floor, and that further undermines America’s solvency.
While I am thankful the omnibus bill increases funding for NASA’s Space Launch System and America’s national security, empowers Decatur’s United Launch Alliance to compete for critical defense space payloads, and reduces burdensome regulations on America’s farmers, these and other positive things could and should be done without increasing the risk of a debilitating American insolvency and bankruptcy, without using taxpayer money to empower President Obama to pay illegal aliens to break our laws and come to America, without increasing terrorism risks by paying Syrians to come to America, without forcing American taxpayers to pay for other peoples’ abortions, and without permitting President Obama to quadruple H-2B visas so that more foreign workers can take jobs from and undermine the wages of struggling American families.
Rather than instituting a deliberate, long-term budgeting process that provides certainty for job creators and minimizes America’s risk of a debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy, this omnibus bill makes matters decidedly worse. The dramatic expense, compounded by the increased security and terrorism risks forced on American citizens, is unconscionable. That is why I am voting “No” on this misguided legislation.
U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-06):
A spending bill should reflect the priorities of our nation. This $1.1 trillion bill does not. It continues to pile debt on our children without sufficient reforms.
Furthermore, it fails to include numerous policy priorities that should have been included. Recently, a veto-proof majority of the House passed legislation to strengthen the vetting of Syrian refugees. This reform should have been included in this bill, but was not. This bill also allows funds to continue to flow to Planned Parenthood and does nothing to defund Obama’s unlawful administrative amnesty.
The bill does have a few good provisions, like lifting the ban on crude oil exports, which I have long supported. Unfortunately even this significant victory is overcome by the numerous deficiencies.
The process to get to this point was no better than the underlying legislation it produced. I hope that going forward, the process will be different.
U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07):
My vote was cast in favor of keeping the government operating and to continue to make critical investments agency programs that benefit all Americans. I also firmly believe that we cannot afford another shutdown and this bill provides the Federal Government with funding through September 30, 2016.
The omnibus provides much needed increases for a broad range of education programs including Head Start, Title I grants, aid to HBCUs, the TRIO and GEAR UP programs, and rural education. Providing the resources low-income families need to increase their academic success is one of my highest priorities, and this legislation is a first step in the right direction.
This is not a perfect bill, but I am proud that both sides of the aisle were able to work out a compromise that benefits our nation, and helps us continue to grow.