Conservative Heritage Action opposes spending package

Heritage Action, the advocacy arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, took an official position on Tuesday in opposition to the bipartisan spending package, which must pass by the end of the week to avert a partial government shutdown.

In a statement, Heritage Action Executive Vice President Ryan Walker urged lawmakers to oppose the six-bill spending package, which he described as “full of tone-deaf earmarks and budget gimmicks masquerading as cuts, with no attempts to defund Biden policies facilitating the border crisis.”

“Our country is $34 trillion in debt, and taxpayers will spend $870 billion on our interest payments alone this year. The time for barely noticeable budget cuts on the margins is over, and this minibus package fails to meet the moment,” Walker said in a statement.

The six-bill spending package includes more than $450 billion in funding for fiscal year 2024. It includes funding for a slew of agencies until early fall, including the departments of Agriculture, Interior, Transportation (DOT), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Veterans Affairs (VA), Justice (DOJ) and Commerce and Energy.

While the package was initially expected to pass easily, the “minibus” is now meeting some opposition from Trump-aligned conservatives in both chambers and faces a rocky path in the Senate.

Heritage Action now is making the spending package a “key vote” for lawmakers, notifying them that their votes will affect their overall score on the “Heritage Action Scorecard,” which the think tank says “shows voters and activists how conservative lawmakers are by comparing their policy positions to those of Heritage Action.”

“Conservatives have repeatedly sounded the alarm about our bloated balance sheet and wide-open border for months. But lawmakers disregarded those warnings, and after almost a year of negotiations produced a minibus barely distinguishable from the unacceptable bills of the past,” Walker said.

The spending package was unveiled on Sunday and comes as Congress again falls behind in finishing its funding work for fiscal year 2024, which began five months ago.

The GOP-led House and Democratic-led Senate entered negotiations with vastly different bills this year, but emerged with a package that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said will keep “the government open without cuts or poison pill riders.”

Even though House Republicans pushed for much more partisan measures with steep cuts to government funding, many still lauded the conservative wins of the spending package, soon after it was announced.

“Even with divided government and a historically small House majority, House Republicans have worked hard to successfully move the policy and spending priorities of the federal government away from the previous Pelosi-Schumer FY23 appropriations, and American taxpayers will benefit from it,” Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said in a statement about the package.

“This legislation forbids the Department of Justice from targeting parents exercising their right to free speech before school boards, while it blocks the Biden Administration from stripping Second Amendment rights from veterans,” he added.

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