Group of House Democrats join GOP to vote against massive spending package

Despite her party’s substantial majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) continues to see dissension within the ranks.

A number of House Democrats abandoned Pelosi to join Republican colleagues in a vote opposing a recently passed package of spending bills, as reported by The Hill.

“Emergency spending”

According to the report, the legislation passed largely along party lines with a 224-189 vote approving the measure.

In addition to every Republican, however, seven Democrats and the chamber’s only Independent voted against it.

At issue were four bills totaling $259.5 billion in spending for the fiscal year 2021. They included the Agriculture, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-VA, and State-Foreign Operations bills.

Critics of the package pointed to several issues, most notably the fact that its price tag overshot a budget cap deal that legislators reached last summer by $37.5 billion. Democrats argue that the additional “emergency spending” is needed given the current public health crisis.

Another problem for many Republicans is its inclusion of a clause that would fund the World Health Organization, which President Donald Trump has denounced and promised to defund. The legislation would also allow U.S. funds to go to foreign-aid and health organizations that support abortion.

“Fatal flaws”

Furthermore, the bills called for the Trump administration to be prohibited from using military construction funds to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), the top Republican on the House appropriations committee, denounced such provisions as “fatal flaws” rooted in partisanship, not public service.

“First, there are many policy provisions similar to the partisan legislation the majority has pushed through the House the last few months,” she said. “And second, the spending levels exceeded the amounts the Congress and the president agreed to just last year.”

Nevertheless, members of both parties saw more than a few worthwhile aspects of the spending package, including Granger, who noted that it “supports the veterans who have honorably served our country, the diplomats who promote American businesses and our values around the world, the farmers and ranchers who put food on our tables, and the custodians of our parks and public lands who protect our national treasures.”

The bill will now head to the Senate, though it is unclear when a vote in that chamber might come. The battle in the House, however, reveals that even in the midst of a pandemic, many elected officials seem singularly focused on politics.

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