The U.S. Senate’s first spending bill of 2016 allocates $261 million more than President Barack Obama requested and lacks significant conservative amendments, but it still sailed to passage Thursday in the Republican-led chamber.
An overwhelming number of senators on both sides of the aisle approved the energy and water development appropriations bill, by a vote of 90-8. Conservatives had objected to the higher spending levels and lack of policy riders in the weeks leading up to the vote.
In the end, it didn’t seem to matter.
It’s a victory for Republican leadership and an initial step toward achieving their goal of funding the federal government by passing 12 appropriations bills.
Sen. Mike Lee described the legislation as “simply unacceptable in a time of rising debt and slower economic growth.”
The Utah Republican told The Daily Signal that “we’re never going to get our nation’s rising deficits under control until we can stick to our previous agreements on spending levels,” referring to the limits set in the 2011 Budget Control Act.
Voting no along with Lee were seven other Republicans: Ted Cruz of Texas, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Arthur Heller of Nevada, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Jeff Sessions of Alabama.
Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., did not vote.
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