KEY VOTE: House · Mar 9, 2022

Heritage Action opposes the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 (H.R. 2471) and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.

The House and Senate will soon vote on a 2,741 page, $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package along with an attached $15.6 billion for “COVID relief” and $13.6 billion for aid to Ukraine. Members of Congress will have mere hours to read through the entirety of the bill, which was crafted behind closed doors and by only a handful of leaders. In an attempt to fool Americans, the House will take two votes on the bill as a nakedly political and cynical way of ensuring passage. The first vote will break out “security” funding, including military support for Ukraine. The second vote includes the remainder of the discretionary spending, “COVID relief”, funding for earmarks, and a host of unrelated policy changes like the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization. According to the House Rule, both parts of the divided question must pass in order for the House to pass the omnibus. Therefore, a vote for either part of the bill is a vote for the omnibus. A “Yes” vote cast on either part of the question will be added to the Heritage Action scorecard.

For the first time since 2011, federal appropriations are no longer subject to the modest limitations imposed by the Budget Control Act, and it shows. This $1.5 trillion spending package gives Members, who have not had the time to read every provision, a false choice between keeping the lights on and supporting runaway spending. This package increases non-defense discretionary spending alone by $46 billion, or nearly 7% and finances it with deficit spending. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), that deficit could reach $1.153 trillion for fiscal year 2022, after hitting $3.003 trillion in fiscal year 2021. Rather than adding to the worsening inflation conditions, Congress should be looking for ways to reduce our $30 trillion debt.

The bill is loaded with the Biden administration’s radical progressive policies. It fails to reverse the COVID-19 emergency or the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates, as conservative leaders have called for, and instead adds even more emergency COVID-19 spending. It would increase annual funding for the IRS to $12.6 billion. It doubles down on the Green New Deal style government subsidies for green energy and climate policies, such as “a historic level of funding” for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). It also includes more than $4 billion in Congressional Direct Spending, or earmarks. Even though the Hyde Amendment is protected, taxpayer funds will still flow to Planned Parenthood through the $286 million in funding to the Title X program after the Biden Administration overturned former President Donald Trump’s Protect Life Rule. Furthermore, the bill includes thousands of earmarks airdropped into the omnibus without transparency or thorough vetting.

Investments in our Army, Navy, and Air Force are needed given growing threats around the globe from China and after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While some conservatives may choose to focus on small victories in this vein, such as the increase in total defense spending to $782 billion in FY 2022 and funding for Ukraine’s defense, these investments should not be held hostage by controversial non-defense policy and spending. The idea that there is parity in the importance of defense and non-defense discretionary spending is false and this talking point should be buried.

Members and staff will have had less than 12 hours to read 2,741 pages and account for $1.5 trillion in spending. To make matters worse, the divided question before the House would require that both portions of the question pass, thereby ensuring a vote of support for security related funding is a vote in support of the omnibus. Members should reject this false choice and this blatant political maneuvering that will usher in historic levels of discretionary spending and Leftist policies.

Update - March 9, 2022

After the bill text was released, it was later changed to remove the billions for “COVID relief.” Speaker Pelosi made the change not because of principles, but because her party balked at paying for the provision through cuts in other areas of spending.

Recall that earlier this week, Democrats claimed that billions of dollars in COVID relief were “required for immediate needs” in the omnibus spending package. Yet the same party just stripped out the funding rather than make necessary cuts in other areas. According to Democratic leaders, it was urgent to pass this money — so why did they suddenly pull it out?

The answer, of course, is that they were attempting to fool Americans from the start to get more votes and more money. The “emergency” around COVID funding was a fake attempt to jam this monstrous spending package through.

Heritage Action opposes the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 (H.R. 2471) and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.