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Palmer votes against omnibus spending bill

Alabama Republican Congressman Gary Palmer.

Thursday, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, the Omnibus bill, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, voted against passage of the bill, saying that he could not vote for it in good conscience.

“While I strongly support the increased funding for our military, I could not in good conscience vote for the Omnibus that costs almost $1.3 trillion,” said Palmer. “The military threats to our national security are real and serious, but so is the fiscal threat to our national security.”

“As a result of years of deficit spending, trillions have been added to our national debt, which recently reached $21 trillion for the first time,” Palmer explained. “Eventually the bill will come due with major consequences for our nation. That said, everyone should realize that this deficit in the Omnibus bill is largely the result of a long train of abuses that includes: Eight years of neglect of our military; Shameful indifference toward our veterans; Irresponsible entitlement spending; Enormously damaging regulatory and tax policies, including Obamacare, that resulted in eight years of anemic economic growth, and perhaps worst of all, the failure to do appropriations in an open and transparent process in both Houses of Congress as we are required to do by the Constitution.”

“I continue to be committed to supporting our military, to working to find ways to eliminate deficits, reducing our national debt, and restoring the fiscal health and stability for our nation that is essential to the future well-being of every American,” Palmer said.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, supported the legislation.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era for the United States military,” Ryan wrote in a statement. “With the biggest increase in defense funding in 15 years, this critical legislation begins to reverse the damage of the last decade and allows us to create a 21st-century fighting force. Our service members are the finest in the world, but the poor state of our military readiness has left them under-equipped and underprepared for the threats they face. They deserve better, and this long-sought funding provides it. It also strengthens our missile defense systems, upgrades our naval and air capacity, and funds the largest pay raise for our troops in eight years. This legislation fulfills our pledge to rebuild the United States military.”

“This agreement addresses a number of other critical priorities. House appropriators have ensured that increases in non-defense spending are directed at securing the homeland, protecting our schools, and rebuilding American infrastructure,” Ryan continued. “This package includes significant resources to fight the opioid epidemic that is ravaging our communities. It boosts funds for law enforcement and border security, including miles of new structures along our southern border. And it provides hundreds of millions of dollars for mental health, training, and school safety programs to keep our kids safe. No bill of this size is perfect. And we must reform our broken budget process to return to a regular appropriations process. But this legislation addresses important priorities and makes us stronger at home and abroad.”

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President Donald Trump said that the increases in social programs and civilian agencies were necessary to bring Democrats to the table to get them to support the his increases in military spending. The budget combined with recent tax cuts is predicted to swell the deficit to over one trillion dollars.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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