North Texas Republicans were split on a bill to fund the federal government through September, as three of the five Republicans who represent portions of Tarrant County voted against the 2017 spending package on Wednesday.
Many conservatives argued that the spending bill, agreed to by Republican and Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate, fails to achieve promises made after President Donald Trump’s election to cut spending and increase funding for a border wall.
Republican Reps. Kay Granger of Fort Worth and Michael Burgess of Lewisville voted in favor of the bill, while Reps. Joe Barton of Ennis, Kenny Marchant of Coppell and Roger Williams of Austin voted against it.
The measure passed by 309-118, with 103 Republicans voting no. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass with bipartisan support and head to Trump’s desk. The bill must be signed by midnight on Friday or the government will shut down.
Minutes before the bill was scheduled for a vote, Granger gave a floor speech urging her colleagues to pass the bill, invoking its value to the Department of Defense.
“The bill applies resources to Secretary (James) Mattis to implement his plan to restore our military,” Granger said. “Today is a first critical step in Secretary Mattis’ plan to fix the potholes in our military readiness. Our military is counting on us to pass this bill now, the only way to ensure the United States will be strong and able to lead in this very dangerous world. I strongly urge a yes vote.”
Granger heads the committee tasked with hammering out appropriations for the military, and the bill increases defense spending by $15 billion, half of what Trump asked for in the 2017 budget.
A slew of conservative Republicans voted against the bill because it increases government spending.
“We’ve got to get the military out of sequestration and on the budget, and I’ve talked to our friends down in Fort Hood and it’s not the answer,” Williams said before the vote. “It’s got some other things too; it drives us further in debt, so I’ll be a no.”
The vast majority of Democrats, including Rep. Marc Veasey of Fort Worth, voted for the bill.
“Today’s bipartisan bill represents an effort in good faith to pass a clean spending bill,” Veasey said in a statement. “Many of the provisions included in the bill are a reflection of Democrats’ continued commitment to fight for all hardworking Americans while fighting back against poison pill amendments that are driven for partisan gain, including funding for President Trump’s unnecessary border wall and the defunding of Planned Parenthood.”
Democrats were quick to praise the spending deal announced late Sunday night, which subsequently angered Trump. Trump unleashed a series of tweets on Tuesday threatening a government shutdown in September if next year’s budget does not match his desire to cut domestic spending and increase defense spending.
“I’d take a really hard look at it, but I wouldn’t be an automatic no if it truly takes the military out of sequestration and lets them get on a budget,” Williams said of a future budget. “I think we gave a lot. Sometimes we don’t do the best job of spinning, we don’t do the best job of being retail and talking about our successes, and the Democrats jumped out and did that. I just think we’ve got to get on regular order, we’ve got to get on budget.”
A small minority of Democrats, including Texas Rep. Filemon Vela of Brownsville, voted against the bill because it includes nearly $300 million to replace border fencing in California and Arizona.