Jubilant Dems Toast GOP’s ‘Freddy Krueger’ Spending Nightmare

Schumer, Pelosi and Sanders rejoice over 2,232-page, $1.3T package that Senate, House passed 'thanks to leadership of' minority party

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) praised the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill approved Thursday by the House of Representatives — lauding Democrats’ ability to “accomplish more in the minority” than when they controlled the White House and Congress. He also proclaimed the “era of austerity” is “coming to an end.”

“It’s a funny thing. In a certain sense, we’re able to accomplish more in the minority than we were when we had the presidency or even were in the majority,” Schumer said during a news conference as the measure was debated.

“At the end of the day, as the minority party, we feel good about being able to succeed in so many ways. We don’t have the House, we don’t have the Senate, we don’t have the presidency — but we produced a darn good bill for the priorities we have believed in,” Schumer continued.

The House passed the bill on a 256-167 vote and sent it on the Senate, which immediately took it up for debate. President Donald Trump backed the bill that Schumer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made public just two days before a potential government shutdown.

Angry conservatives unleashed multiple barrages against the measure this week, with Fox News host and LifeZette co-founder Laura Ingraham describing it as “the Freddy Krueger-like spending bill” and saying, “My friends, this is just sheer madness. It’s time to stand on principle without fear of a government shutdown.”

Congressional conservatives also warned that Trump’s support of the Democrat-backed 2,232-page bill, which lacked many of the president’s campaign promises, reneged on his iconic pledge to “drain the swamp.”

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But Schumer and his Democratic leadership colleagues were elated.

“Overall, we Democrats are very happy with what we have been able to accomplish on a number of very important priorities to the middle class in America,” Schumer said, noting in a speech on the Senate floor that the spending bill “brings that era of austerity to an unceremonious end.”

“For nearly a decade, the middle class in this country has suffered from a needless and self-imposed austerity, limiting investment of all of the things that create good-paying jobs and improve the working conditions of Americans, improve the lives of Americans,” Schumer continued.

“So again, that era of austerity which so hurt middle-class Americans is coming to an unceremonious end because this bill represents one of the most significant investments in the middle class in decades,” he said.

Pelosi issued a statement after the spending bill was introduced in the House Thursday, saying, “Democrats fought with great integrity, strength and unity to secure vital middle-class priorities in the omnibus spending bill.”

“Thanks to the leadership of Democrats, the omnibus proposal contains bold investments in our veterans, the [National Institutes of Health], community health centers, and families fighting opioid addiction,” Pelosi said, noting that “Democrats won explicit language restricting border construction to the same see-through fencing that was already authorized under current law.”

The border wall was one of Trump’s most iconic campaign promises, and Democrats have fought vehemently to prevent its construction. Pelosi also noted that the bill also didn’t allow for “any increase in deportation officers.”

The bill fails to defund Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities, and, although it doesn’t provide complete funding for Trump’s border wall, it allotted funding for one of Schumer’s pet construction projects: a tunnel between New York and New Jersey.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a self-described democratic socialist, also praised the spending bill in a statement Thursday, saying, “I am proud of the many initiatives that I fought for in this budget that will help Vermont’s working families, the elderly, the children, the sick, and our veterans.”

“In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, millions of families in Vermont and around the country should not be falling behind economically and struggling to pay their bills,” Sanders said. “This legislation provides some long-overdue assistance.”

Stunned conservatives rejected the bill and warned that Democratic enthusiasm for a bill backed by GOP leaders in the Republican-majority Congress should worry Trump supporters.

Meadows said the omnibus bill “is not about draining the swamp,” adding that “you don’t have to read the fine print to understand that we’re going to grow the size of government by 12 to 13 percent.”

“We have a Republican-controlled House, we have Republican-controlled Senate, and we have a Republican in the White House, and we have a Democrat here tonight saying how great this bill is,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said Wednesday on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” pointing to Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), who joined him for the interview.

Meadows said the omnibus bill “is not about draining the swamp,” adding that “you don’t have to read the fine print to understand that we’re going to grow the size of government by 12 to 13 percent.”

The congressman said in a statement Thursday after the bill’s passage in the House that “this omnibus is nowhere close to what Republicans promised to fight for.”

Related: Americans Didn’t Elect Trump or GOP Majority to ‘Fill the Swamp’ with Omnibus Spending Bill, Ingraham Says

“When the American people sent us to Congress, their message was loud and their mandate clear: Secure the border; repeal and replace Obamacare; protect Second Amendment rights from bureaucrats in Washington; defund Planned Parenthood; cut wasteful spending; ‘drain the swamp’; and change the unsustainable way Washington, D.C., does business,” Meadows said. “This budget embraces the polar opposite of these principles.”

“This is wrong. This is not the limited government conservatism our voters demand. Our constituents — our employers — deserve better,” he added.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said Thursday on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” that the omnibus bill “may be the worst bill I have seen in my time in Congress — the worst bill our leadership has ever allowed to come to the floor.”

“It’s not even close to what we told the American people we were going to do,” he said. “I don’t think the American people said, ‘Oh let’s put Republicans in control of Congress to do a bill like this.'”

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

(photo credit, article image: Legislation to Help Flint Families, CC BY 2.0, by Senate Democrats)

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