After selling out their base on marriage and gun control, Senate Republicans decided to finish out 2022 by helping Democrats pass a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package on Thursday that will keep the federal government funded through the end of 2023.
Released on Tuesday, the mammoth 4,155-page bill cleared a procedural vote held by the upper chamber later that same day, with 70 senators supporting and only 25 opposing. Despite objections from House Republicans and several of their GOP Senate colleagues, 18 Republican senators joined Senate Democrats in passing the wasteful bill, at a final vote of 68-29.
Among the Republicans who voted in favor are Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, John Boozman and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Cornyn of Texas, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Mike Rounds and John Thune of South Dakota, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Richard Shelby of Alabama, and Todd Young of Indiana.
Three GOP senators — Richard Burr of North Carolina, John Barrasso of Wyoming, and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota — didn’t even bother to vote on the bill.
By helping Democrats pass an omnibus instead of a short-term funding package, Senate Minority Leader McConnell and Senate GOP leadership have erased any and all leverage the House’s incoming Republican majority would have over spending issues for most of 2023. This means conservative priorities, such as fixing President Joe Biden’s manufactured border crisis, will go unaddressed for another year.
“This is an act of extortion being leveraged on the United States Senate right before Christmas,” said Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, during a speech on the Senate floor. “This bill, in all 4,155 pages of its glory — or infamy — was negotiated in secret by four or five members of Congress. … They wrote it utterly in secret with the design of creating an artificial emergency, threatening a shutdown right before Christmas.”
Prior to the bill’s passage, Lee proposed an amendment to keep Title 42 — the Trump-era policy making it easier to deport illegal immigrants at the border — in place. The amendment ultimately failed on a 47-50 vote.
The Bill Is a Pork-Filled Disaster
But the $1.7 trillion omnibus doesn’t just add to America’s already-ballooning $31.4 trillion national debt. It also directs funding toward a slew of wasteful agenda items that everyday Americans never asked for.
Included in the bill is an allotment of “not less than” $575 million that is “made available for family planning/reproductive health, including in areas where population growth threatens biodiversity or endangered species.” The measure also provides grants to numerous LGBT-related entities, such as $750,000 to the TransLatin@ Coalition and $3 million to the New York Historical Society’s “American LGBTQ+ Museum Partnership Project.”
Meanwhile, funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are small facets of the omnibus, with the two agencies receiving $1.56 billion and $339.6 million, respectively, for “non-detention border management requirements.”
The funding, however, comes with strings attached that hinder immigration officials’ ability to effectively deal with the ongoing border crisis. As noted in the bill, the grants are prohibited from being utilized to “acquire, maintain, or extend border security technology and capabilities,” unless they are employed to “improve Border Patrol processing.”
Meanwhile, the bill gives Ukraine an additional $45 billion in aid.
Senate Republicans’ History of Betrayal
The passage of the omnibus by Senate Republicans is one of several times the party in the upper chamber has stabbed its voters in the back this year. Several weeks ago, 12 GOP senators joined Democrats in passing the wrongly named, “Respect for Marriage Act,” which will allow LBGT activists to use the legal system as a means of harassing religious Americans who believe in the true meaning of marriage.
Over the summer, 14 Senate Republicans also helped Democrats advance their war against the Second Amendment by voting for a gun control package that funds red flag laws, “which allow law enforcement to temporarily confiscate guns from someone the government deems a danger to the public or themselves.”
As previously noted by Federalist Senior Editor David Harsanyi, red flag laws are ripe for abuse and erode the Second Amendment rights of American citizens.