Last night the House passed what has come to be known as the “Cromnibus” bill to fund most of the federal government. As many of you know, if a bill was not passed last night by midnight, the government would have shut down. The Omnibus bill, like most funding bills, was not perfect by any means and contained provisions that I strongly opposed and provisions that I strongly supported. Voting for this bill was a decision I did not take lightly, so I want to walk through some of the highlights and disappointments in this bill and fully explain how I came to my decision to support it in the end.
My biggest concern with this bill pertains to immigration. Like most of you, I DO NOT agree with the president’s executive order on immigration. I’ve fought this from the beginning, right up until the very end when I offered an amendment to eliminate all funding for the president’s executive order. While I am extremely disappointed that my amendment did not make it to the final text of the bill, the Cromnibus legislation does include limitations on funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which controls immigration spending. DHS funding contained in the Cromnibus bill ends in February rather than in September 2015. These dates are important because it puts Republicans in a great position to address the issue and eliminate the president’s overreaching executive order on immigration in February when we control both chambers of Congress –NO MORE HARRY REID!
The other major area of concern for the Cromnibus bill is funding for Obamacare. I firmly believe that we must reverse the healthcare mandate and allow citizens the freedom to choose their own healthcare. That is why I have fought to defund Obamacare since its inception. The legislation just passed in the House contains no new funding for Obamacare and prevents the billion-dollar expansion proposed by the President’s budget. With the new, Republican-controlled Congress next year, we will systematically defund and dismantle Obamacare until it is off the books for good.
Finally, what you probably won’t hear about are the victories secured in this bill that are good for our country and those that will directly benefit South Mississippi. $1 billion was included to fund a new Ingalls-built amphibious ship. This ship’s construction will protect 3,000 jobs at Ingalls and thousands more across Mississippi. The legislation prevents the Army from taking our MS National Guard Apache helicopters out of Mississippi. It also includes language I submitted that stops the president from issuing new flood risk standards. The bill also funds the Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program that benefits our rural schools in the Pine Belt.
As a whole the CRomnibus recognizes our debt crisis and makes every dollar count without harming the defense of our nation. It guts funding for the EPA, the IRS, and Amtrak, allows no new funding for Obamacare, addresses current VA issues, and upholds and expands all current pro-life provisions. The truth is, the vast majority of this bill is comprised of strong, conservative legislative victories that my colleagues and I in Congress have spent years fighting for and working towards. Despite the president’s attempt to overshadow this with overreaching immigration policies that will soon be defeated, I will continue to celebrate these victories for South Mississippi and for hardworking Americans across our country.
My goal, as always, remains the successful balance of fiscal responsibility with the safety and security of Americans. I am working hard in Congress to fight for the best interests of my constituents in South Mississippi. I am confident that come January, when we are joined by a Republican-controlled Senate, we will finally be able to stand, fight and win against this president’s illegal, unconstitutional actions.
Steven M. Palazzo