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Florida lawmakers split on spending package

Eight Republicans and one Democrat voted no.
House Speaker Paul Ryan in 2017 (Associated Press file photo)
House Speaker Paul Ryan in 2017 (Associated Press file photo)
Published Mar. 22, 2018
Updated Mar. 22, 2018

WASHINGTON – Florida lawmakers helped pass the $1.3 trillion omnibus but nine members of the delegation opposed it on various reasons, from its size to a failure to address Dreamers.

Both Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson are expected to vote yes.

Rep. Darren Soto, D-Orlando:

"This spending bill leaves DREAMers behind, while putting $1.6 billion towards Trump's divisive and unnecessary border wall and hundreds of millions more to deport their parents. Most Americans agree that we need a permanent solution for DREAMers and better technology to secure our borders, not a useless wall."

Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Naples:

"Legislation is often imperfect, and this bill is no exception. The unfortunate reality is that sixty votes are needed in the Senate to pass an appropriations plan and keep our government open. Overall, I believe that rebuilding our military, which is struggling to provide parts for airplanes and now has the smallest Navy since WWI, is critical to the security of our country, and that funding Everglades restoration and Herbert Hoover Dike repairs at the full amount requested by the Army Corps is critical to Southwest Florida."

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach:

"Today is a bad day for fiscal conservatives and for responsible governance alike. The 2,232-page omnibus bill and the 1,507 pages of 'Explanatory Materials' were presented to Members of Congress only sixteen hours before the vote was scheduled. It is unreasonable to ask Congress to vote to spend over 1.3 trillion taxpayer dollars without sufficient time to study how that money is spent. Being asked to vote blindly for legislation as large-scale and costly as this omnibus is an insult to Congress and to the American people, whose tax dollars deserve to be treated with respect."

Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa

"My Democratic colleagues and I were united, and prevailed in our priorities for working families, seniors, students, veterans and military families. The omnibus appropriations bill invests boldly in Tampa Bay area economic engines, including Moffitt Cancer Center, University of South Florida, Tampa International Airport and our Port.  Major investments in education help our kids and will lead to higher-wage jobs through the bill's robust support for Hillsborough public schools, Hillsborough Community College, Head Start and students at all levels.  Despite irresponsible cuts proposed by President Trump, the bill makes significant investments in the fabric of our community including community health centers, Tampa Housing Authority, City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, opioid treatment, law enforcement, clean water and energy initiatives, and transit. Democratic unity helped turn back dangerous poison pills and riders largely proposed by the Trump Administration."