U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07) and U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04) this week explained how and why they voted on three key budget bills.
Green this week said he voted no on the $2.3 trillion omnibus bill. He said it “contained billions of waste and foreign aid.”
“There are some allegations that this bill contained a pay raise for members of Congress. That is not true,” Green said.
“Regardless, I voted NO and would never support that. I also railed against the bill very vocally as you can see if you scroll down to the day of the vote.”
DesJarlais, meanwhile, said in an email to The Tennessee Star that he has railed against omnibus legislating.
“For me, yesterday evening was a new low. Not only did we put the entire federal government spending for fiscal year 2021 into one bill, but we also added another COVID stimulus package as well. We had a bill before us that was 5,593 pages – $900 billion for COVID and $1.4 trillion in the omnibus. A copy of the bill was presented to us just before 2 p.m. yesterday. We voted on the bill at 8 p.m. last night. The world’s fastest speed readers couldn’t digest 5,593 pages in six hours, and, needless to say, I couldn’t either,” DesJarlais said.
“I could not, in good conscience, vote for bills — especially ones with this size and scope — being considered in this way. Occasionally, there may be times of extraordinary crisis or rare circumstance when it might be necessary to do things in this haphazard fashion, but last night only happened because of a lack of leadership and fortitude that is becoming all too common. We spend too much time governing based on shutdown deadlines, and not enough time doing the work that this place actually requires to spend your money wisely.”
As for Nancy Pelosi’s $2,000 stimulus bill, Green said he voted no.
“The total cost of which, $480 billion would be borrowed and would have to be paid back by our children and our grandchildren,” Green said.
“Speaker Pelosi is irresponsible in pushing our next generations deeper in debt.”
DesJarlais said he also voted no.
“I voted against the bill earlier this month because it was 5,593 pages of spending – a lot of which was negotiated and added at the last minute. President Trump agreed and said he thought that they should cut a lot of the wasteful spending and instead give it to the people in the amount of $2,000 per person. He signed the bill into law anyway, but the Democrat leadership never wastes an opportunity to hear only what they want to hear and presented another disingenuous bill in response. So, tonight, they had a bill to simply raise the amounts to $2,000 per person while, of course, neglecting to offset or reduce any of the wasteful spending in the original bill,” DesJarlais said.
“It was a craven political maneuver – designed to appeal to the lowest common political denominator, and I voted against it. It is insulting to think that politicians can just give you money. It’s already your money that the government takes, sadly it’s money we don’t have, it’s debt to future generations, and we should at least attempt to try and pay for these things down the road.”
Green, meanwhile said he voted yes on the National Defense Authorization Act, which he said “contained a pay raise for our troops and gives our military the equipment they need to confront our adversaries.”
“The foreign aid was not part of this bill (if it was, I would’ve voted NO),” Green wrote.
DesJarlais described the actions he took on U.S. President Donald Trump’s veto.
“As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, we worked hard to come up with a bill earlier this month that met the needs of our military. Unfortunately, with the current makeup of the House majority, there was too much time spent on issues that do not have an immediate impact on national security. That said, we produced a bill that was somewhat cleaned up and had many positive aspects in it in addition to the items that I did not think should have been in the bill. The president also wanted some changes and vetoed it — as is his right under the Constitution,” DesJarlais said.
“It would’ve been hard to change this bill in a way to get the Democrats in the House to pass it, but I was willing to stand with the president and work for the remaining days of the 116th Congress to produce another version of the bill — so I voted to sustain the veto. The bill was, nevertheless, passed in the House 322-87.”
Staff for U.S. Rep. John Rose (R-TN-06) and U.S. Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN-08) did not return The Star’s requests for comment Thursday.
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