Conservatives Express Anger Over $1.2 Trillion Spending Bill
Conservatives Express Anger Over $1.2 Trillion Spending Bill

By Jackson Richman and Joseph Lord

Conservative Republicans didn’t hold back on March 21 over the $1.2 trillion spending bill that would fund 70 percent of the government—as the clock ticked toward a partial government shutdown on March 23.

The bill, the text of which was unveiled in the early morning hours of March 21—less than 48 hours before a shutdown was set to begin—immediately reignited tensions in the Republican conference and concerns about House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) leadership of the lower chamber.

“They did make some cuts, but it’s not what I would like,” Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) told reporters in a gentle voice.

But Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) vented about the bill, which would fund agencies such as the Defense Department, and directed his ire at Mr. Johnson, saying he “blew it.”

“It’s total lack of backbone, total lack of leadership, and a total failure by Republican leadership, there’s no other way to describe it,” Mr. Roy said on “Bannon’s War Room.”

“This bill is an abomination.”

Mr. Roy called on the American people to flood the phones of the offices of GOP members of Congress to “tell them the truth that they are risking the House majority if they vote for this bill.”

He and other conservative Republicans have made numerous posts on X railing against the bill.

In one post, Mr. Roy said, “Every Republican who votes for this omnibus spending bill is voting for those gangs, voting for those murderers and rapists, voting for the surrender of American sovereignty.”

Head-Turning Earmarks

Several Republicans criticized the bill for some head-turning earmarks it would fund.

“Within the 1,000-plus pages of this week’s $1.2 trillion minibus is $700,000 for government contracting matchmaking in Maryland. Is this Tinder for bureaucrats? Let Maryland pay for its own weird programs and keep Florida tax dollars away from this,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) wrote on X.

“Apparently, a Republican majority funds the same twisted nonsense—just slower,” Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.) wrote on X.

“The #SwampOmnibus is full of insane earmarks that should be REJECTED,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) wrote, giving numerous examples.

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) called the earmarks “EVIL.”

“At 2:32 am—when Americans were sleeping—the Swamp released its second half of the omnibus. 1,012 pages that spend $1.2 TRILLION of taxpayer dollars on disastrous policies. The House is still expected to vote on this monstrosity TOMORROW MORNING. Washington is beyond broken,” Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) wrote on X.

Republicans also blasted the inclusion of funding in the bill for a new FBI headquarters in Greenbelt, Maryland, which the GOP has targeted amid growing frustration with the agency for alleged politicization.

“The swamp’s new spending package released while you were sleeping includes $200 MILLION for a new FBI HQ,” wrote Rep. Barry Moore (R-Ala.) on X.

“We can’t fix weaponized government if we’re funding it.”

Others cited the legislation’s border and immigration funding.

“I have multiple concerns, among them are the many new social services that this bill would create for the millions of illegal immigrants streaming across our border,” Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, said in a statement.

Mr. Aderholt also condemned the bill’s funding for facilities that provide “routine abortion services, including late-term abortions.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) emphasized the bill’s funding allocations for a series of left-wing initiatives as driving her opposition.

“Taxpayer-funded abortions, genital mutilation surgeries for kids, men beating down women in women’s sports, and more DEI and Green New Deal garbage. This is the House Republican approved uniparty minibus!” Ms. Greene wrote on X.

Procedural Concerns

Several Republicans also expressed procedural concerns about the speed at which the bill is moving.

Under an internal conference rule, the leadership is supposed to provide members with 72 hours to read legislation before bringing it to the floor for a vote.

In the hope of preventing a shutdown and quitting town by the start of the Easter recess, however, the bill is expected to be voted on on March 22—roughly 36 hours after its introduction.

In a statement, the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus blasted the legislation for its content and process.

“This 1,000-plus page spending bill was presented to members less than 36 hours before the vote, breaking the House Rule that requires members to have 72 hours to review major legislation,” the caucus said.

“It spends $5.5 million per word, fully funds and continues the Biden border crisis, and is loaded with radioactive ‘woke’ earmarks—all of which is owned by anyone voting for this bill.

“This is not what Republicans promised America.”

Mr. Scott agreed. When asked whether the 72-hour rule should have stayed in place, Mr. Scott told The Epoch Times, “Absolutely.”

“Give people time to read the thing,” he said. “You should know … what’s in the bill before you vote on it.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), told reporters, “The dysfunction of the appropriations process is disgusting.”

The fever pitch of conservative backlash to the bill has again raised concerns about a motion to remove Mr. Johnson from the speakership.

Mr. Burchett told reporters he didn’t see this as likely, saying that if Republicans were to remove another speaker, “they might as well hand the gavel over to [House Minority Leader] Hakeem [Jeffries].”

Despite conservative frustrations with the bill, it currently seems on track to glide through the lower chamber under a suspension of the rules with vast Democrat support.

It’s also likely to pass the Senate, although progress on it could be held up by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who threatened to obstruct the bill.

“We’ll see,” Mr. Paul told reporters when asked if he would seek to block the bill.

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