The House of Representatives passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill by a vote of 316 to 113, with 5 not voting. A majority of the Republican caucus favored the measure, 150-95, with the Democrats strongly in favor, 166-18. The bill moves to the Senate for a final vote later today.
Georgia 10th District Republican Jody Hice and 4th District Democrat Hank Johnson voted against the measure. The remainder of the delegation voted yes. In a prepared statement, Hice said his no vote came about because the Omnibus funds Planned Parenthood.
While I believe this measure includes a lot that is good — and good for Georgia — I have several concerns about this legislation, chief among them the funding for the Syrian refugee program, overall funding levels that exceed the House passed budget, and continued funding for Planned Parenthood. In September, after the horrific actions of Planned Parenthood came to light, I joined a number of my colleagues in signing a letter stating I would not support any funding resolution or omnibus package that funds Planned Parenthood, which unfortunately this measure does. It is for these reasons that I fully support the spirit of the bill but was unable to support the legislation on the floor.”
Of interest to Georgians, the omnibus bill includes $21 million to deepen the Savannah Harbor, $90 million for military construction at Fort Gordon, money to pay for for 68 F-35 Joint-Strike-Fighters, and full funding for the poultry lab at UGA.
7th District Rep. Rob Woodall said in a statement,
“Last-minute, omnibus spending packages are not the way it should get done – and it is critical in 2016 that the Senate partner with the House in passing each appropriations bill as intended. Returning to regular order allows the American people to drive the process and results in a much better product. I’ve been encouraged by the progress made on the House side, but there is clearly more to do as we return to governing the way our Founders intended.”
9th District Rep. Doug Collins said the successful effort to remove language regarding Georgia’s use of water was the reason he voted in favor.
“As usual, we are seeing the end-of-the-year rush to fund the government, which leaves us scrambling to find a fix for issues that should have already been dealt with. In the new year I hope to see smaller, more focused bills that don’t come to us the last legislative week of the year.”
“However, the win for Georgia water rights was too important for me to not support this bill. For years, the state of Georgia has been party to costly litigation with Alabama and Florida over the use of Georgia’s water in Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River basin. At the request of Governor Nathan Deal, my Georgia colleagues and I challenged the Alabama congressional delegation’s aggressive attempt to insert anti-Georgia language into this spending measure, and we stripped the hostile language from the bill. I am pleased their efforts to inject the federal government in a purely state issue and cost Georgia potentially millions more in legal costs were thwarted. Ongoing negotiations about Georgia’s water and how it is allocated should be handled at the state level, and pending court cases will be allowed to proceed unimpeded. Congress should avoid interfering in state matters whenever possible, and left to those who know the issue best. Today is a victory for Georgia and states’ rights.”
“This year’s omnibus included provisions to close the gaps in the Visa Waiver Program, and will require participating countries to issue fraud-resistant passports. Our defense department will be fully funded, with soldiers getting the pay raise they were promised. Veterans will be better served by increased oversight at the Veterans Administration, which will now have to report directly to Congress.”