Alabama lawmakers divided on budget deal led by U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Alabama’s senior U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby said Senate Appropriations Committee leaders had reached a deal on seven spending bills, aiming to avoid a government shutdown Friday night.

By Thursday, both the Senate and House passed the combined measure. President Trump signed it Friday afternoon.

Shelby, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, worked with the committee’s ranking Democrat, U.S. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, to find a compromise measure.

Shelby also worked with President Trump, who said he wasn’t happy with the bill because it didn’t include sufficient border wall spending.

“I told him that I knew it wasn’t a catch-all deal, but that it was a down payment,” Shelby told CBS News Thursday night. “It was a multi-year deal, I thought he could go from there.”

Trump announced Friday he’d find wall money through an emergency declaration.

Shelby, who led the way on the budget compromise, issued a statement following Thursday’s vote.

“Passage of this funding legislation is outstanding news for the people of our state and nation,” Shelby said. “I am pleased that we were able to negotiate in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to meet each other half way, finishing out the year’s appropriations process to better secure America.  The bill contains critical funding for border security and many essential priorities throughout the country. The legislation will impact the entire state of Alabama by funding important projects that will influence our state’s agriculture, transportation, law enforcement, and civil space industries.  I look forward to seeing Alabama benefit from the resources included in this comprehensive package and plan to continue working to promote the best interests of the state.”

The statement also included a long list of Alabama projects funded in the measure.

Alabama U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, praised the work of Shelby and Leahy. He said the budget work they completed in December should have been enough to avoid the shutdown that followed.

“The Huntsville community in particular can’t afford another painful government shutdown and I am proud to have supported the bipartisan legislation that President Trump signed that keeps the government funded for the coming year,” Jones said. “The entire region, from NASA employees and FBI agents to contractors and the local businesses they support, could not afford another shutdown. These are Alabamians who support vital national security programs, including counterintelligence and cybersecurity, as well as our cutting-edge space program. I applaud the work of Senators Shelby and Leahy for getting a strong bipartisan agreement done on time to prevent a shutdown that would have undermined these important efforts and hurt our workers. This deal will give us the stability we need to refocus our attention to other important priorities like health care and jobs.”

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, voted against the measure in the House.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, also opposed the bill.

“The massive 1,169 page spending bill is a debt junkies’ dream that forces me to choose between two really bad choices: vote to shut down the government or vote to aid and abet the killing of at least 50 Americans per day who die from illegal alien homicides or from overdoses on poisonous drugs shipped through our porous southern border,” Brooks said. “Socialist Democrats should not hold America and border security hostage by forcing America into this ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ deadly choice. America’s national debt just blew through the $22 trillion mark this past week! Yet, this massive spending bill continues to spend money at dangerously high rates . . . money America doesn’t have, has to borrow to get, and cannot afford to pay back. I cannot in good conscience vote to steal from our children and grandchildren in order to live off borrowed money today. Unless America starts electing more people to Washington who are financially responsible, a debilitating national insolvency and bankruptcy is in our future. The question is not ‘if’, the question is ‘when.’ And the answer to ‘when’ is in the control of America’s creditors. America is insolvent and bankrupt the moment our creditors decide to stop loaning us even more money to pay for the federal government’s out-of-control operating expenses.”






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