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Westerman Votes Against “Convoluted” Omnibus

December 18, 2015
Blog Post

WASHINGTON – Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) voted Friday (Dec. 18) against the Omnibus spending package. He released the following statement after Friday’s vote:

“The Omnibus – above all else – increases deficit spending. As an individual committed to fiscal responsibility, I could not vote for this bill that would increase deficit spending by billions of dollars,” Westerman said. “The Omnibus was also a convoluted bill that addressed hundreds of different issues, mixing policy riders with appropriations. This bill did not follow regular order in the House, allowing items into the bill without open debate or committee review. If regular order had been followed in the House, we could have debated issues such as further funding of Planned Parenthood, money for settlement of Syrian refugees to the United States, and many other fiscal and policy issues that are important to Americans. Instead, this bill, which includes issues that I both support and oppose, adds to the deficit continuing to make our debt grow which outweighs benefits the bill provides in the long run.”

The following items were among many included in the Omnibus spending package:

  • An increase of more than $250 million to the Internal Revenue Service after the IRS has been found to be targeting individuals based on political beliefs;
  • Funding for Planned Parenthood; and
  • A short-term increase in the U.S. Forest Service’s firefighting budget which undercuts Westerman’s Resilient Federal Forests Act, a bill that passed the House in July. Under Westerman’s bill, the Stafford Act would be amended to cover wildfires as a disaster under FEMA and would direct the Forest Service to conduct active forest management practices, including thinning and controlled burns. The language included in the Omnibus is far from a long-term fix and instead continues the practice of so-called “fire borrowing” to cover firefighting costs in America’s national forests and merely throws more money at the symptoms of bad policy.