Congressman Adrian Smith says he wasn’t thrilled with the budget bill passing Congress and avoiding a federal government shutdown, but voted for it nonetheless.
The $1.1 trillion spending bill narrowly passed the House on a 219-to-206 vote.
“Clearly, the agreement is far from perfect, but I really believe after sifting through the details and given the circumstances of divided government for a few more weeks, but still having to act, I think that moving forward with the proposal was the right thing to do,” Smith tells reporters on a conference call.
Smith says he would have preferred the bill address concerns about President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration. That battle will come another day. The bill funds the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year, except for the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security is funded through February, giving Republicans an opportunity to revisit the immigration executive order of the president.
Smith says the president’s executive order undermines the legislative system and the rule of law.
“And especially when I think the president has not indicated a willingness to work with Congress or even a desire to bring folks together,” Smith says. “So, there’s some political issues here that I think remain and we will need to deal with those as we do address the Homeland Security part of the budget.”
The bill postpones a political fight on another issue as well: the Affordable Care Act, the federal health insurance law.
Though the bill doesn’t provide additional spending on ACA, it does fund it at present levels, avoiding a pitched battle between Republicans and the president over his signature piece of legislation.
Republicans will be in a better position to do political battle with the president next month, when they increase their majority in the House and take control of the majority in the Senate.
Smith says distaste for the law has increase, as it has failed to live up to its promises.
“Saying that every household is going to save $2,500 a year and that people could keep their plan. You know the list. It goes on. We have to address that even though we don’t have that veto-proof margin in the House or the Senate, even come January,” according to Smith. “We have to continue to innovate, to look for ways to help patients, help the American people whether they find themselves as a patient or taxpayer or both.”