Kelly votes ‘NO’ on appropriations bill, says politics prioritized over policy

Feb 14, 2019 Issues: Spending Cuts and Debt

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted to pass the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019. Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA) voted ‘NO’ on the measure, highlighting a process more focused on politics than sound fiscal policy. He also lamented the fact that the 1,169-page bill was released near midnight and scheduled for a vote the next day without adequate time for the American people and their legislators to review.

I could not in good conscience vote for this bill, said Kelly. President Trump has been fighting to do what’s best for our country—that is, secure our nation’s borders.  Unfortunately, Democrats were more concerned with preventing the President from keeping his promise to the American people to stop illegal immigration. Democrats have repeatedly treated the safety and security of Americans as a political football.  This so-called compromise was not enough to accomplish these important security needs and this bill contains far more than just border security provisions. It is our job as lawmakers to read and understand the legislation we are asked to pass on behalf of our constituents. All that we can determine with less than 24 hours’ notice is that the process is broken and that the bill would continue our reckless spending.

The bill, which includes funding for several federal agencies totaling approximately $333 billion, has lingered over Congress for several months. It has done so as the U.S. national debt surpassed $22 trillion for the first time. Failure to enact a sensible spending package in December led to the 35-day partial government shutdown, which caused thousands of federal workers to be furloughed and miss paychecks. Congress, rightfully, later voted to provide back pay to those affected.

Make no mistake, I am glad that hardworking federal employees will no longer be caught in the middle of this partisan fight. Particularly the fine men and women of the Coast Guard, who selflessly served without a paycheck for over a month. This shouldn’t happen, but that incident aptly illustrated the problem: it is good policy to secure our border, but Democrats believe it is good politics to prevent it. That dynamic overshadowed our need to make hard decisions about Americans’ safety and our country’s fiscal health.