FreedomWorks: Obama Spending Process, Levels, and Priorities

Ahead of the vote on the omnibus spending bill, FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon released the following statement about the organization’s key vote against the Consolidated Appropriations Act, H.R. 244:

“Enough has been enough for years under a Republican House of Representatives. Speaker Paul Ryan came into his new position emphasizing getting back to regular order, that we would see the end of 1,700-page omnibus spending bills written in a week behind closed doors, jamming up even the conservatives who oppose this sort of brinksmanship. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi couldn’t be happier. This bill represents Obama spending process, levels, and priorities.

“If I didn’t know that this was a Republican bill, I might have assumed that Democrats had the White House and the majorities in the House and Senate and that somehow Republicans got a few tiny concessions. But it’s actually a GOP bill.”

Today, FreedomWorks’ director of public policy and legislative affairs, Jason Pye, sent a letter to House and Senate offices stating that FreedomWorks will key vote against the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The letter also included the rationale behind the decision.

May 2, 2017

Key Vote NO on the Consolidated Appropriations Act, H.R. 244

On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to vote NO on the Consolidated Appropriations Act, H.R. 244. The bill would fund the federal government for the remainder of FY 2017, which ends on September 30.

The process for this omnibus could not have been worse. This massive, nearly 1,700-page spending measure was negotiated behind closed doors between congressional leadership from both chambers and appropriators.

With a Republican-controlled Congress and a Republican president, this spending bill reflects Obama-era spending levels. The bill annualizes base discretionary spending for FY 2017 at $1.07 trillion. This spending level blows through the spending caps established by the Budget Control Act of 2011 by $30 billion. The bill spends an additional $106 billion for overseas contingency operations, disaster relief, and other spending, which isn’t counted toward the spending caps.

In total, the bill authorizes more than $1.175 trillion in annualized discretionary spending for FY 2017.

The bill also falls short of promoting conservative priorities. While the bill does renew the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program and does not include funding for ObamaCare’s cost-sharing subsidies, it allocates nearly $296 million to bail out Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program, preserves current spending levels for the Environmental Protection Agency, increases spending for the National Institutes of Health and the National Endowment for the Arts, and provides a bailout for a private sector labor union.

It’s telling when the Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), bragged, “Early on in this debate, Democrats clearly laid out our principles. At the end of the day, this is an agreement that reflects those principles.”

At some point, Republicans in Congress must look in the mirror and ask themselves, “What are we doing here?” Every election cycle Republicans run on a limited government platform and claim they’re going to cut spending. In Washington, D.C., however, they negotiate with themselves and sell the farm to Democrats for little in return, and conservative priorities get tossed aside. This has to end.

FreedomWorks will count the votes for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, H.R. 244, when calculating our Scorecard for 2017 and reserves the right to score any related votes. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.


Adam Brandon

President, FreedomWorks