KEY VOTE: “NO” on the Domestic Minibus Spending Package (H.R. 1865)

KEY VOTE: House · Dec 17, 2019

Heritage Action opposes the “Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020’’ (H.R. 1865) and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.

This week the House and Senate will vote on two bills that fund the government until the end of the fiscal year. The one bill that funds our national security priorities is a good bill, while the 1,773 page domestic “minibus” spending package is loaded down with liberal poison pills and bad policy riders. That bill includes the following eight appropriations bills: Agriculture-FDA, Labor-HHS-Education, Energy-Water, Interior-Environment, State-Foreign Operations, Transportation-HUD, Military Construction-VA, and Legislative Branch.

This past summer, Congress passed the Mnuchin-Pelosi negotiated Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 that busted the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) caps by $322 billion and set the stage for the fiscally irresponsible appropriations bill Congress is voting on this week. At the time, proponents of the budget deal argued it was necessary to pass the deal in order to 1.) ensure a more transparent and regular appropriations process and 2.) prevent poison pill policy riders from being included. This domestic minibus spending package directly contradicts both of those arguments.

Instead of a transparent and regular appropriations process, Congress failed to pass appropriations bills through regular order in the fall and subsequently passed a short-term continuing resolution to December 20th to jam rank and file members of Congress right before Christmas. Legislative text of the minibus wasn’t released until December 16th - just three days before funding expires with the House expected to vote less than 24 hours later.

Instead of avoiding controversial policy riders, Congressional leaders included numerous troublesome provisions in this spending deal, including:

  1. Increasing our nation’s debt burden by approximately $400 billion by repealing Obamacare’s offsets and making other healthcare spending changes without simultaneously reducing spending,
  2. Adding unnecessary tax extenders that prop up politically connected industries at the expense of American taxpayers,
  3. Including a seven-year reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank,
  4. Bailing out miners’ private pension plans while failing to hold union bosses accountable,
  5. Extending the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which currently owes taxpayers nearly $25 billion,
  6. Reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance program (TRIA) that was designed to be temporary and should expire,
  7. Boosting Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico,
  8. Expanding taxpayer funding of abortion through Obamacare insurance plans, and
  9. Adding report language requiring the CDC and the National Institutes of Health to spend $25 million each studying violent usage of firearms.

In 2018, President Trump nearly vetoed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, famously promising the American people that he “will never sign another bill like this again.” By breaking apart one omnibus into two minibuses, it appears both the Trump administration and Congress are trying to avoid this politically unpopular outcome. While passing two minibuses upholds the “letter of the law” of President Trump’s promise, it clearly violates the “spirit of the law.”

This 1,773 page minibus spending package was written in the 11th hour without sufficient transparency, is fiscally irresponsible, and contains numerous policy riders that violate President Trump and congressional Republicans’ promises to “drain the swamp.” Members of Congress should reject this deal and, if the bill ultimately passes, President Trump should veto.

Heritage Action opposes the “Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020’’ (H.R. 1865) and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.