Conservatives are unhappy about the massive spending deal Republicans and Democrats forged to keep the federal government open, saying it represents nothing short of surrender to the very ideas that lost in the November election. Despite having full control of the major branches of the federal government, Republicans have been unable to push the Donald Trump agenda in any meaningful way. Worse, they haven’t even been able to secure any significant wins for the small-government principles they claim to support.
While the White House and congressional leaders are saying…hey, just wait, we’ll pass some good stuff when the 2018 fiscal year begins…conservative critics believe that this week’s capitulation will only make it that much harder to score a win in September.
Voters naturally assumed that by giving the White House and both chambers of Congress to the GOP, they would begin to pass legislation that matched their collective campaign rhetoric. After all, they have been out of power for eight years. Conservatives were angry enough about their failure to block any significant aspects of the Obama agenda; now it seems they can’t even live up to their promises when they hold all the cards.
The spending bill isn’t a total failure – there are a few items worth celebrating, such as more money for border security and an additional $12 billion for the military, which Republicans were able to get without equivalent increases in spending in other areas.
But as a piece of legislation that reflects conservative principles, it falls well short of the mark. There’s no money in the bill to fund construction for a Mexican border wall, it allows for continued funding to sanctuary cities, and it keeps Planned Parenthood’s federal monies in place. This latter aspect of the bill stuck in the craw of pro-life activists who thought the Republicans finally had a chance to make good on a promise they’ve been making for years.
“The Republican Party is the only party with an anti-abortion platform and whose candidates ran specifically on the promise to defund Planned Parenthood, yet, here we are, watching them pass a bill that funds Planned Parenthood even though they control the House, Senate, and White House,” said Students for Life president Kristina Hernandez.
The Freedom Caucus’s Mark Meadows said his phone had been ringing off the hook as angry voters called him to express their thoughts on the bill.
“What I’m hearing from a lot of my constituents is, we gave you the White House, we gave you the Senate, we gave you the House,” Meadows said. “Why does this spending package appear to be driven by more of a left-leaning agenda than a conservative-leaning agenda?”
You gotta admit, it’s a damn good question.