A Nebraska Congressman reluctantly voted for a trillion dollar spending bills, saying it’s better to approve a flawed bill than allow the federal government to shut down.
Congress barely approved the $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill and barely avoided a shutdown.
Congressman Adrian Smith, a Republican, suspects a last-minute Democratic revolt in the House might have been aimed at forcing a governmental shutdown that could have been blamed on majority Republicans.
“Oftentimes, the more fiscally conservative party gets blamed for a shutdown regardless of what issues or what personalities pushed us to that point,” Smith told Nebraska reporters during a conference call, “but, looking to the future though, it’s time to move forward. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Smith argued a shutdown favors the president, who can manipulate which governmental services will be funded and how that would impact the public.
The spending bill narrowly passed the House on a 219-to-206 vote. It moved to the Senate, which postponed quick approval, then passed the measure 56-40 Saturday night. The Senate had to clear a couple of procedural hurdles before taking a vote on the budget bill.
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.
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.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]