Democrats take aim at Trump’s policies on 2021 funding markups
House Democrats on Monday took aim at President Trump’s policies on a slew of political issues as they kicked off the official appropriations process to fund the government for fiscal 2021.
Over the course of 24 hours, the Democrats released seven of the 12 annual spending bills, each of which included policies and riders that targeted President Trump and his policies.
The homeland security bill not only excluded funding for Trump’s border wall, it also rescinded wall funds approved for 2020. The military construction and veterans’ affairs bill refused to backfill accounts for projects Trump emptied out and redirected for the wall. It also barred construction on the wall.
“This bill will strengthen our security and keep Americans safe while upholding our American values of fairness and respect,’ said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).
“It prohibits the administration from raiding funds for the President’s wasteful border wall,” she added.
The challenges from Democrats didn’t stop there.
The bill included instructions to remove statues of Confederate figures and “individuals with unambiguous records of racial intolerance.” Trump has vowed to stop a movement to remove such statues around the country, saying they represented U.S. heritage.
The bill on energy and water, which covers nuclear issues, would bar funds from being used to “conduct, or prepare to conduct, any explosive nuclear weapons test that produces any yield.” Trump has reportedly floated the idea of the U.S. conducting a nuclear test for the first time since 1992.
The foreign policy bill, covering state and foreign operations, would overturn the Trump administration’s rules barring funds from going to foreign organizations that provide or advocate for abortion. It would also boost funding for climate change, ensure funding to the World Health Organization and fund a slew of international organizations
The subcommittee’s ranking member, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), said the policy riders would “guarantee that the bill has no hope of becoming law.”
“I am once again disappointed to the partisan policy riders included that are sure to end any bipartisan support,” he said as the subcommittee officially kicked off the House’s appropriation process by approving the bill ahead of a full committee markup on Thursday.
It is not unusual for House spending bills, which require only a simple majority to pass, to reflect the partisan priorities of the party in power, so many of the provisions are likely to be left on the cutting room floor before the bills become law.
But some may make it through as haggling with the Senate and White House gets underway to fund the government by the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1. Without agreement on funding bills, the government would shut down, an unpopular prospect just a month before a presidential election.
Congress frequently passes stopgap spending bills to keep the government running into the lame duck session or even the next Congress.
But while Democratic wishes were front and center in the House bills, partisan bickering has thrown sand in the gears of the Senate’s appropriations process.
Senate Democrats have insisted that the bills should include additional funds for the COVID-19 pandemic and language on police reform, while Republicans say those issues are being dealt with in separate legislation and should not be inserted into the annual spending bills.
Because bipartisan support is needed to advance Senate bills, the process has stalled altogether.
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