WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lawmakers in Washington completed work Friday on a bipartisan package to provide permanent tax relief and prevent a government shutdown. The bill now heads to the president’s desk and has been hailed as a critical step in clearing the way for tax reform. Rep. Chris Stewart voted in favor of the House Omnibus spending bill, which passed the House 316-118.
“In divided government, no one gets exactly what they want,” Stewart said in a news release Friday. “But today, we funded the government with provisions that advance Republican priorities, including several of my own bills.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a coauthor of the tax relief provisions, lauded the action as a crucial bipartisan achievement.
“Our new Republican majority has put the Senate back to work for the American people,” Hatch said. “By passing this important tax package that provides permanent relief for American families and job creators, we cap a year of historic policy victories and lay the groundwork for comprehensive tax reform moving forward.”
Throughout the year, Senate Republicans attempted to avoid the need for a single year-end spending deal by passing individual spending bills through the traditional process known as “regular order,” passing all 12 appropriations bills out of committee for the first time since 2009, most with significant bipartisan support.
“While I strongly believe the Senate ought to consider each appropriations bill individually, Democrats prevented us from doing so,” Hatch said in his news release Friday. “I’m pleased that the bill we passed today provides a pathway to return to regular order next year.”
Not everyone is so happy about this passed bill. In a news release issued before the bill passed Friday, Sen. Mike Lee said:
The omnibus spending bill soon to come before us is chock-full of controversial policies that never would have passed had they been exposed to the light of day.
…According to the White House, this bill also fully funds President Barack Obama’s Paris climate fund.
None of these policy changes would have passed by itself. These are highly controversial policies and merit an open and honest debate on the Senate floor. It is an insult to this body, the Constitution and the American people that the least trusted institution in America is planning to sneak these policies through without public scrutiny or amendment.
We have doubled down on everything the American people can’t stand about Washington, and many are now congratulating each other for it.
Rather than accept this monstrosity, we should instead pass a six-week continuing resolution, which would allow for an open process where these issues can be properly debated.