House Conservatives Frustrated By Lack Of Refugee, Pro-Life Provisions In Spending Bill

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
Font Size:

WASHINGTON — House conservatives told reporters after a meeting of congressional Republicans Tuesday night that they are disappointed that a giant government funding bill does not restrict the Syrian refugee program or defund Planned Parenthood.

The funding bill is known in Washington as the “omnibus” bill. The bill is part of an agreement that congressional leaders came to Wednesday that would also extend tax breaks.

The funding bill would spend $1.15 trillion, and is 2,009 pages long.

“All the pro-life provisions, those were not in there. The refugee deal was not in there. Those were the two big asks from the House Freedom Caucus,” Kansas Republican Rep. [crscore]Tim Huelskamp[/crscore] said early Wednesday morning.

“They didn’t do the McConnell campaign finance deal, which we didn’t want in there either,” Huelskamp said. “So McConnell didn’t get what he wanted.”

The Freedom Caucus had pushed for the spending bill to include stricter security requirements for Syrian and Iraqi refugees, and for government funding of Planned Parenthood to be halted.

Despite his frustration with the bill, Huelskamp did not say if he or the Freedom Caucus would vote against the omnibus as a block.

Texas Republican Rep. [crscore]Louie Gohmert[/crscore] also had trouble with the omnibus bill’s omission of the refugee program provision.

“I’m deeply disappointed that we didn’t defund the president’s efforts to bring Syrian refugees in that we know from the FBI that we cannot adequately vet, because they’ve got no information against which to vet. So that’s deeply troubling,” Gohmert told reporters.

Missouri Republican Rep. [crscore]Ann Wagner[/crscore], on the other hand, is delighted with the funding bill and tax breaks legislation. Wagner, who told reporters she plans to whip votes to garner support for both, said she expects the vote on the bills will happen by Thursday night. Wagner predicted that the Syrian refugee issue will be dealt with when Congress returns from recess after the new year.

“We have agreement from [crscore]Harry Reid[/crscore] and the Senate that the Syrian refugee issue will be take up as soon as we come back by the Senate. So that is an agreement that has been reached,” she said.

The visa waiver program, Wagner added, will be in the omnibus bill. The bill is intended to deny visa waiver protection status to individuals who have connections to terrorist hotspots, as well as demand intelligence and law enforcement entities share information, among other components.

Wisconsin Republican Rep. [crscore]Reid Ribble[/crscore] lauded House Speaker [crscore]Paul Ryan[/crscore].

“[Ryan] said that in a divided government you’re gonna have some concessions,” Ribble said. “That’s what compromise is about and to get the good things we felt we needed meant that the Democrats were gonna get some of the things they wanted.”

Follow Kerry on Twitter