How Did La. Delegation Vote Concerning Omnibus Spending Bill?
The much debated omnibus spending bill, which is said will fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year 2016, has passed both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate and is on its way to President Obama's desk for his expected signature.
So, how did members of the Louisiana Delegation vote?
In the House, Republicans Steve Scalise (Majority Whip) and Charles Boustany and Democrat Cedric Richmond voted in favor of the bill.
Congressman Steve Scalise: “Lifting the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports will create thousands more good-paying Louisiana jobs by allowing us to compete globally and undercut our enemies,” Rep. Scalise said. “Not only will scrapping this outdated relic of the 1970s allow hard-working taxpayers to compete on the world market, create hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the nation, and lower prices at the pump—it will also strengthen America’s national security by letting our allies buy energy directly from us, and not from countries likeRussia and Iran. Lifting the ban has been among my top priorities in 2015, and today’s vote is a big win for Louisiana and for conservative principles. I’m honored to have used my seat at the House leadership table to bring this issue to the forefront and help it get signed into law.
“This critical piece of legislation prioritizes national defense while taking money away from radical agencies like the EPA. In addition to strengthening our military, this bill also ends fraud in the visa waiver program by implementing reforms that will block ISIS recruits from exploiting loopholes in this program. The House is doing everything in our power to keep American families safe.”
Congressman Charles Boustany: “I’m disappointed that here we are again with another year-end omnibus spending bill. I believe we must return to regular order, where we can better leverage conservative priorities in individual spending bills, not one massive package.
“This bill is a good bill – it is not a perfect bill. Although there are many items I would have liked to include, I believe this legislation provides key victories for Louisiana and our country. The bill lifts the ban on crude oil exports, sets new standards for Red Snapper fishing in the Gulf, reins in the EPA and the IRS, contains significant pro-life protections, and increases funding for our military while providing support to key allies like Israel.”
Congressman Cedric Richmond: No press release on official website yet.
The La. members in the House who voted against the omnibus spending bill: Republicans John Fleming, Ralph Abraham and Garret Graves.
Congressman John Fleming: “Our country is financially broke. Our total future obligations are in the hundreds of trillions of dollars and yet once again we do nothing in our annual spending bill to change that trajectory. In fact, we do the opposite. I could not support a spending bill that increases spending, with most of it aimed at helping the President’s agenda. It fails to deal with some of the most pressing concerns Americans have, like security risks with the Syrian refugee program and securing our borders. The bill funds President Obama's pledge to send billions of dollars from American taxpayers to the Global Climate Fund, allows the President free reign to regulate carbon emissions and Waters of the U.S., and bails out unions from Obamacare, while leaving everyone else to suffer.
“Worse is the realization that our party now seems to embrace one over-arching principle above all others: Give in to Democrat demands as we might be blamed for shutting down the government. This principle seems to trump all the other principles we espouse and feign to fight for - principles like the sanctity of life, protecting American citizens, the rule of law, and upholding the Constitution. Whenever a policy is proposed in these areas, we are told such policies would close the government. We retreat and swear better days lie ahead.
“Absent from the bill were much needed permanent conscience protections for pro-life healthcare providers and assurances that Syrian refugees will be properly vetted before entering the country. Instead, it was full of unrelated provisions, such as increasing government spying of citizens’ personal data online.
“This bill is unacceptable to those who hold conservative values and feel those values are worth fighting for. There should be nothing but a lump of coal in our Republican stocking this year for what we did.”
Congressman Ralph Abraham: “This omnibus bill does nothing to curtail Washington’s out-of-control spending. If anything, it adds to the problem. We’re going to saddle our grandchildren with unmanageable debt if we don’t get serious about this problem. It’s an irresponsible way to govern.
“The message I hear repeatedly throughout my district is that Congress must leverage the power of the purse to combat President Obama’s destructive policies. We missed an opportunity to do that with this omnibus, and Congress must do better a better job in the future."
Congressman Garret Graves: No press release on official website yet.
On the Senate side, Republicans David Vitter and Bill Cassidy each voted against the omnibus spending bill.
Senator David Vitter: “The cons definitively outweigh the pros in this omnibus. Not only does this massive spending bill put a tremendous burden on the taxpayers by actually increasing spending, but it continues government funding for abortion mills like Planned Parenthood and allows more Syrian refugees to come into the United States without any safeguards in place. This giant omnibus spending bill defies our core American values, and it continues us on an unsustainable path of overspending and debt.”
Senator Bill Cassidy: “My goal is to advance policies that help working families—this bill does not do that. Although there were some good things in the bill, like lifting the crude oil export ban, one of the reasons I voted against it was that it continues Obamacare and gives a $30 billion tax break that greatly benefits groups that forced Obamacare on the rest of us. President Obama is pleased with this bill, I am not.