House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reveled in their win with the Friday passage into law of the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill.
“At the end of the day, as the minority party, we feel good about being able to succeed in so many ways,” Schumer said, according to Washington Examiner. “We don’t have the House, we don’t have the Senate, we don’t have the presidency, but we produced a darn good bill for the priorities we have believed in.”
He further observed, “It’s a funny thing. In a certain sense, we’re able to accomplish more in the minority than we were when we had the presidency or even were in the majority.”
Pelosi credited those Republicans opposed to the legislation with giving Democrats leverage in negotiations surrounding the 2,200-page bill. The bill passed the House 256 to 167, with 145 Republicans and 111 Democrats voting “yes.” The “no” votes came from 90 Republicans and 77 Democrats, Roll Call reported.
The Senate passed the measure 65 to 32, with 24 Republican senators voting against it.
“Much of our leverage has sprung from the fact that the Republicans … they weren’t voting for this bill,” Pelosi said. “That gave us leverage in all the negotiations. That gave the middle class a victory.”
Freedom Caucus member Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio was one of those opposed.
“This may be the worst bill I have seen in my time in Congress and the worst bill our leadership has ever allowed to come to the floor,” he said.
Pelosi claimed Republican leaders pushed the bill through quickly because they did not want their members to have time to digest it.
“I think one of the reasons they rushed it through – posting it last night, taking it to rolls on the floor today, not honoring the three-day rule – they didn’t want their Republican colleagues to see just what exactly was in the bill,” she said.
“Because this bill was a victory for investment in our future … supporting our middle class and doing so in a way that was producing good-paying job,” the minority leader added.
Pelosi also gloated in the Democrats’ success during negotiations to remove the budget sequestration caps as part of the omnibus bill.
“The debate we had on the caps was a very successful one where we said the increase in defense had to be matched by an increase in domestic spending,” she said.
President Donald Trump conceded what Pelosi said was true, but contended he had to sign the bill for the sake of the country’s national defense.
“My highest duty is to keep America safe,” Trump said. “Therefore, as a matter of national security, I’ve signed this omnibus bill.”
President Trump: "Therefore, as a matter of national security, I have signed this #omnibus budget bill." He continues, ""I say to Congress: I will never sign another bill like this again. I'm not going to do it again. Nobody read it." pic.twitter.com/uPrUjJ9YB3
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 23, 2018
“There are a lot of things that I’m unhappy about in this bill,” he added. “There are a lot of things that we shouldn’t have had in this bill, but we were, in a sense, forced — if we want to build our military — we were forced to have.”
Trump explained that for the last 8 years, deep cuts to the defense budget undermined the nation’s security by hollowing out the military’s readiness.
The president pledged to “never sign a bill like this again.”
“To prevent the omnibus situation from ever happening again, I’m calling on Congress to give me a line-item veto for all government spending bills. And the Senate must end — they must end the filibuster rule and get down to work,” he said.
“We have to get rid of the filibuster rule and go to 51 votes in the Senate, if we’re going to have really sustained, continued success,” he added.
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