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Conservatives Protest As House Passes $1.2 Trillion Spending Package

By Jarrett Stepman and Samantha Aschieris, The Daily Signal | March 22, 2024

By a vote of 286-134 over conservatives’ objections, the House passed a $1.2 trillion spending package late Friday morning, avoiding a partial government shutdown but putting House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., in jeopardy of losing the speakership.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass because Democrats have a working 51-49 majority with three independents.

The 1,000-plus-page package of bills includes funding for the State, Education, Defense, Labor, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services departments in fiscal year 2024 as well as for “general government and foreign operations” and the Internal Revenue Service, The Hill reported.

The spending package met significant opposition from conservatives who blasted the combined bills as a surrender to the Left before and after the package passed.

With 218 House seats to Democrats’ 213, plus four vacancies, Republicans hold a five-vote majority.

“More Republicans voted against the DC Cartel’s minibus than voted for it,” Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., tweeted. “112-101. The Uniparty has once again sold Americans out.”

“Once again, the D.C. Cartel has unified against the American people. We are now on the hook for another $1.2 TRILLION in spending,” Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., said in an X post. “We call it the uniparty for this reason exactly, not even a majority of the majority agreed with this bill.”

Although more Republicans in the House opposed the bill than supported it, some came out in favor of its passage, as the conservative House Freedom Caucus noted.

“Democracy is messy,” Johnson said on CNBC the day before, as the House speaker acknowledged opposition to the spending package from conservatives. “It’s particularly messy right now and in a moment like this, but we have to get the job done and there are some very substantial wins in here.”

House Democrats mostly supported the spending bill, with just 22 voting against it.

“We had to work within difficult fiscal constraints—but this bipartisan compromise will keep our country moving forward,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash, said Thursday.

Heritage Action for America, the grassroots arm of The Heritage Foundation, issued a press release Thursday evening detailing what’s wrong with the spending bill and identifying it as a key “no” vote on the organization’s legislative scorecard. (The Daily Signal is The Heritage Foundation’s news and commentary outlet.)

“This bill doesn’t deviate from Congress’ charted course toward financial catastrophe and participation in the border crisis,” the key-vote description reads. “Inflation and job losses caused by Congress’ failures to cut spending penalizes America’s working class and those struggling to afford the American dream. The American people have pleaded for responsible spending and border security for years, but unfortunately, this minibus represents a continuation of business as usual.”

Many lawmakers criticized the bill for spending so much but doing so little to provide border security.

“Less than 24 hrs to review – the #SwampOmnibus – 1000+ pages & $1.2 Trillion – busts spending caps to fund the WHO, woke DOD, a weaponized FBI new headq, & 100% fails to stop Progressive Democrats’ mass releases of criminals across our borders,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, wrote Thursday in a post on X.

Some proponents said voting against the spending package would be a boon to China. Opponents countered that the bill would empower potential Chinese terrorists who are crossing the border.

“A vote for today’s atrocious spending bill is a vote for Chinese terrorism,” Biggs wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “We’ve had over 30,000 illegal aliens from China cross our border under this Administration’s border policies. You vote for it, you own it.”

“Well, the D.C. cartel is at it again. They released a $1.2 trillion minibus at 2:32 a.m. this morning, giving us somewhere in the neighborhood of about 48 hours to review it before they’re going to bring it up for a vote,” Rosendale said in a video he shared on X.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., filed a motion Friday to vacate the chair, meaning to remove Johnson from the speakership after only five months. Greene told reporters that the move isn’t personal, but reflects the views of other House conservatives.

Jarrett Stepman is a columnist for The Daily Signal. He is also the author of the book "The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America's Past."

Samantha Aschieris is a senior news producer for The Daily Signal.

Ken McIntyre contributed to this report, which is a developing story that will continue to be updated.

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