By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – President Joe Biden signed the nearly $1.7 trillion omnibus bill Thursday night, but that legislation has come under heavy fire from critics for funding a range of controversial issues.
Aside from the contents of the bill, President Biden took fire for heading to St. Croix for the holidays, where the several thousand page bill was flown to him for his signature.
“The omnibus – filled with wacko climate change initiatives – is being flown more than 1,000 miles to be signed because the president couldn’t be bothered to stick around and do his job,” U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, said.
U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., highlighted some of the more controversial spending items in a string of tweets that went viral.
“And, of course, $1,438,000,000 for membership in global multilateral organizations, including the UN. The word ‘salmon’ appears 48 times in the bill. $65 million for salmon? Seems fishy,” he wrote. “On a more sinister note, here’s at least $575 million for ‘family planning’ in areas where population growth ‘threatens biodiversity.’ Malthusianism is a disturbing, anti-human ideology that should have ZERO place in any federal program.”
President Biden, though, celebrated the bill, which averted a government shutdown and funded the government through September.
“Today, I signed the bipartisan omnibus bill, ending a year of historic progress,” President Biden said. “It’ll invest in medical research, safety, veteran health care, disaster recovery, VAWA funding – and gets crucial assistance to Ukraine. Looking forward to more in 2023.”
The bill caused division within the GOP, where some Republicans like Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., helped move the bill through while others like Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, tried to rally opposition.
“The Republicans who gifted us the omnibus should be ashamed,” Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, wrote on Twitter. “How many of them ran saying they’d secure the border? How many ran as fiscal conservatives? They ALL did. These ‘Republicans’ LIED to their voters. Truly a DISGRACE!!”
Others criticized not just what is in the bill, but how it was passed.
“Congress now routinely passes most major legislation in a multi-thousand-page omnibus bill, crafted in secret at the end of each year, with no time to read, in a nearly empty House chamber with no floor amendments allowed and no real debate,” said Justin Amash, a former Republican representative for Michigan. “This is oligarchy, not representation.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who is expected to lead the Republicans in the House in the next Congress, opposed the bill, signaling that Democratic legislation will have a hard time getting through the House for the next two years.
“For the first time in history, a bill in the House was passed without a physical quorum present – more people voted by proxy than in person,” he said. “The omnibus will damage our country, [and] the blatant disregard for Article I, Section 5 of our Constitution will forever stain this Congress. In 11 days, the new [House Republican] majority will change the direction of our country. We will also return the House back to a functioning constitutional body by repealing proxy voting once and for all.”