House conservatives to introduce amendments to omnibus
Members of the House Freedom Caucus plan to introduce amendments to the omnibus in an attempt to negate some of the provisions they don’t agree with in the massive spending package.
The legislative text of the $1.3 trillion bill was released late Wednesday and conservatives have taken issue with a number of provisions slated to make it into the finalized measure.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), one of the leading voices in the House Freedom Caucus, and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) plan to put forward an amendment that would strip the Fix NICS language, which is aimed at strengthening background checks for those looking to buy firearms, out of the bill.
Jordan argued Fix NICS "violates due process rights of American citizens,” telling The Hill “you can't have unelected bureaucrats making a decision on whether you are fit to own a firearm or not — that is supposed to be decided in a court of law.”
In addition to policy concerns, Jordan said he’s disappointed GOP leadership walked back on their assurance they would not take up Fix NICS without attaching language allowing for concealed carry across state lines — a combination that passed the lower chamber in 2017.
“The day we voted on the reciprocity and the Fix NICs together — they merged them together, the [National Rifle Association] NRA scored the rule. We said, ‘We know what's going to happen. At some point the Senate's going to send it back, the NICS thing alone, and you're going to attach it to some must-pass legislation, and you cannot do that,’” Jordan said. “They assured us they would not do that, and here they are doing that very thing.”
House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Andy Biggs’s (R-Ariz.) amendment would defund two grant programs for "sanctuary cities."
Biggs said the measure would incentivize law enforcement officials to “enforce immigration laws on a local level.”
"In other words, if you’re a sanctuary city, and you do not transfer information as required under Title 8 of the U.S. code, then you're going to lose that grant funding,” he told The Hill, adding he believes mayors of sanctuary cities are failing to uphold the Constitution and endangering their communities.
A third amendment, set to be introduced by Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.), would defund Planned Parenthood, which has long been a goal of conservatives.
Jordan said he believes the amendments have a “zero percent” chance of passing out of the House Rules Committee, but still plans to introduce them in hopes they will be considered.
“We’ve been told sometimes they don't make our amendments in order because they might actually pass on the floor,” he said.
Freedom Caucus members said they don’t plan to support the omnibus, citing concerns it fails to deliver conservative wins and significantly adds to the deficit.
“As you’re well aware, conservatives are frustrated that a united Republican government is pushing a massive spending bill that will lead to almost a trillion-dollar deficit, that also attacks the Second Amendment, funds Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities, but doesn’t fund President Trump’s border wall,” a Freedom Caucus source told The Hill in an email. “This isn’t what we promised the American people we would do. “