The Lead

Here’s Bob Casey and Pat Toomey on that government funding bill – and Trump’s looming end-run

By: - February 14, 2019 7:37 pm

U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D) and Pat Toomey (R) of Pennsylvania (Capital-Star file)

Pennsylvania’s two United States senators have weighed in on the funding package that cleared the Senate on Thursday. President Donald Trump has said he plans to sign the bill – and then declare a national emergency anyway to get funding for his border wall.

Here’s Democratic U.S. Sen Bob Casey:

“This bipartisan agreement will keep the government open and invest in effective border security, instead of funding President Trump’s wall, which security experts say will not work,” Casey said in a statement released by his office. “President Trump’s national emergency declaration is a complete abuse of power. No President can be allowed to spend taxpayer dollars without authorization from Congress.”

Here’s Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey:

“I have said repeatedly throughout this impasse that the sensible outcome would be a compromise on border security that funded physical barriers where Customs and Border Protection deemed it necessary. While the amount is lower than I think optimal, $1.4 billion for physical barriers on the southern border is such a compromise,” Toomey said in a statement.

“I’m pleased there won’t be another partial government shutdown, but it was irresponsible for Congress to pass, without scrutiny, or opportunity for amendments, 1,700-plus pages of spending including hundreds of millions on wasteful and ineffective programs.

“Excessive spending in the bill includes $10 million for environmental programming at the UN, billions for ‘economic development’ projects that have historically gone to things like sidewalks and swimming pools, and nearly $200 million for government land purchases despite the government’s neglect of hundreds of millions of acres in its possession.

“Clearly there was no serious attempt to curb Washington’s addiction to overspending. Instead, this bill adds to our mounting debt, and I could not support it.

“The responsible way to fund the government is to do each appropriations bill individually, giving members the opportunity to scrutinize and amend each bill. In 2018, we made progress toward this goal with the enactment of five individual appropriations bills well before the end of the fiscal year. This year, Congress should do this for the entire government. I will continue fighting for a normal appropriations process and urge my colleagues to join me in restoring fiscal sanity to the federal funding process.”

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.