House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her esteemed counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Chuck Schumer, are declaring the spending bill rushed through by Republicans this week as “a victory.”
“The distinguished leader has clearly put forth many of the priorities that we’re very proud of in a bill that’s one yard high,” Pelosi said of House Speaker Paul Ryan at a joint press conference with Schumer on Thursday.
“It’s one yard high,” Pelosi repeated, referring to the stack of documents that make up the legislation. “About half of it is the bill, a quarter of it is earmarks, and another quarter are report language.”
Pelosi skewered Republican House leaders for sidestepping the normal process for moving the legislation, alleging the goal was to rush it through before folks realize what’s in it.
“I think one of the reasons they rushed it through – posting it last night, taking it to rolls on the floor today, not honoring the three-day rule – they didn’t want their Republican colleagues to see just what exactly was in the bill,” Pelosi said. “Because this bill was a victory for investment in our future … supporting our middle class and doing so in a way that was producing good-paying jobs.”
The House approved the bill on a vote of 256-167 on Thursday, hours before a Friday deadline to avert a third government shutdown this year. The $1.3 trillion spending bill would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September, and it included a significant increase in military spending – one of President Trump’s key campaign promises, The Guardian reports.
“The debate we had on the caps was a very successful one where we said the increase in defense had to be matched by an increase in domestic spending,” Pelosi said.
“We support our men and women in uniform to have what they need to protect our country and to protect themselves at the same time, but in a domestic budget one third of it is security – homeland security, Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, anti-terrorism activities of the Justice Department.
“So it was very important for us to get those increases because they were necessary priorities that could take away, cannibalize other investments that are about the strength of our country in terms of health, education, and well-being of the American people,” said Pelosi, a 77-year-old career politician.
Many Republicans were much less enthusiastic about the legislation.
“Shame, shame,” Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky posted to Twitter. “A pox on both Houses – and parties. $1.3 trillion. Busts budget caps. Two thousand two hundred pages, with just hours to try to read it.”
Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana described the bill as “a Great-Dane sized whiz down the leg of every taxpayer in this country.”
Jim Jordan, a Republican representative from Ohio and vice chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, was equally critical during an interview with Fox News.
“This may be the worst bill I have seen in my time in Congress and the worst bill our leadership has ever allowed to come to the floor,” he said.
Here’s what today’s vote funds:
✔ Biggest pay raise for our troops in 8 years
✔ Military equipment, as requested by Sec. Mattis
✔ Long-overdue updates to our country’s infrastructure
✔ The fight against the opioid epidemic pic.twitter.com/bXbbf9xgTn
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) March 22, 2018
House Speaker Paul Ryan, meanwhile, has defended the massive spending bill, citing increased funding for the military and border security.
“That’s probably the biggest victory here, is what we’re doing for our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen, our marines and our veterans,” Ryan told Fox News. “This funds the wall, fixes the military, fights opioids, does the things that we said.”
The Guaridan noted that the new budget includes $1.6 billion for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border that cannot be used to build President Trump’s proposed wall.
Trump alleged on Twitter that Republicans “had to waste money on Dem giveaways in orde to take care of military pay increase and new equipment.”
The president’s head of Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, told reporters at the White House on Thursday that Trump intends to sign the bill, which is now in the Senate.