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Alabama House delegation votes 6-1 against $1.7T omnibus bill

The U.S. House of Representatives voted mostly along party lines Friday to advance the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill, averting a government shutdown.

In its final vote prior to the Christmas break, the chamber voted 225-201 to approve the Senate-led government funding bill. U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) was the Alabama House delegation’s lone vote in favor of the measure.

Regarding Thursday’s vote in the upper chamber, U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) were split on the bill. Shelby, vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, voted in favor of the spending package.

Highlights of the bill include $858 billion in defense spending, $772.5 billion in domestic spending, $45 billion in aid to Ukraine, and $40 billion in natural disaster funding.

Republican members of Alabama’s federal delegation released statements shortly after the vote concluded slamming the massive $1.7 trillion measure.

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville), member of the House Appropriations Committee, took exception to the process employed by Democrats to usher the legislation through Congress.

“While there were parts of this omnibus package that I endorsed and fought for, ultimately, Democrats pursued a process that made the package impossible for me to support,” said Aderholt. “This eleventh hour omnibus continues a reckless spending pattern. It will increase inflation, it fails to address the crisis at the border, and leaves Americans with sky-high energy costs.

“Going forward, I am hopeful that the new Republican-led Majority in the House will allow us to pass government funding bills on time, that address our nation’s most pressing problems and abide by the conservative principles which constituents in Alabama’s 4th Congressional District hold dear.”

According to U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover), chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, approving “a $1.7 trillion spending bill days before Christmas is government at its very worst.”

“This over-4,000-page bill fails to address issues that matter most to the American people. Our border is left open during a record wave of illegal immigration,” said Palmer. “Almost $4 billion is spent on energy assistance programs while Democrats continue to vilify widely available forms of energy and drive-up costs.

“The $800 billion aimed at non-defense spending is the highest level in the history of the nation while our country is experiencing inflation at 7.1% compared to last year.”

While acknowledging “some good things” are included in the bill, U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) said “there are way too many bad things for me to support it.”

“This bill spends billions of taxpayer dollars on things like beefing up the IRS and the UN, while doing nothing to secure our southern border and stop the flow of deadly drugs into our communities, ease the burden of inflation on hardworking American families, or lower the cost of fuel,” said Carl. “These should be our top priorities, but this bill simply does nothing to address these issues.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), lead candidate for the speaker’s gavel, publicly advocated for a deal on the appropriations package to be postponed until Republicans gained control of the House in January.

U.S. Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) blasted the Senate Republicans who assisted Democrats in ensuring the bill met legislative approval.

“This bill not only continues or increases funding for the Biden administration’s most dangerous policies, but because the vote occurred after the November elections, Democrats were unshackled by accountability from the voters and free to include even more radical programs from their wish list,” said Moore. “I was encouraged at the overwhelming opposition from the American people to this disastrous legislation, but it was disappointing to watch so many of their elected representatives sign off on whatever was necessary to get home for the holidays.

“With so many Senate Republicans time and again unwilling to go to the mat for our voters, House Republicans must take the lead in the next Congress fighting for the interests of the American people.”

In praising the bill’s passage, Sewell said the measure’s provisions “are a direct reflection of the values that we as a nation hold dear.”

“[W]ith this year’s government funding package we’re uplifting working families, creating jobs, strengthening our economy, and protecting democracy at home and abroad,” said Sewell. “The package also makes key investments critical to the success of Alabama’s 7th District including in health care, broadband, wastewater infrastructure, food and housing assistance, Civil Rights historic preservation, and our cherished HBCUs.

“I’m thrilled that this package includes several of my own bills to strengthen and expand access to health care for Alabama’s rural communities. I know that these bills will make a big difference for our rural Alabamians and the health care providers who serve them.”

The fiscal year 2023 appropriations package now heads to the White House, where President Joe Biden is expected to sign the legislation into law.

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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