Idaho's two U.S. senators joined 16 of their Republican colleagues Thursday to oppose the funding bill that will keep the federal government running through Sept. 30.
Both Democrats and Republicans have claimed victory over aspects of the $1.1 trillion "omnibus" bill. It includes some increases in military and border security spending, but not the larger military buildup or the funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border President Donald Trump campaigned on. It also doesn't include the deeper cuts in domestic programs Trump had sought. One Idaho-specific measure in the bill is a land swap supported by the state's entire congressional delegation to enable the construction of the Gateway West transmission line through a bird sanctuary south of Boise.
It had passed the House 309-118, with Idaho U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson in favor and U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador opposed. Thursday it passed the Senate 79-18, with Idaho's U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch voting "No" along with a group of other Republicans, many from the further-right wing of the party. (Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas and Rand Paul, R-Ky., were also among the Nos.)
Crapo, who has made the national debt and deficit one of his major issues in his campaigns, said he would work with his colleagues and the president to ensure the new spending bill to fund the government after Sept. 30 "helps address our nation’s long-term fiscal demands while funding the priorities important to Idahoans."
“As a senior member of both the Senate Budget and Finance Committees, I have worked to advance responsible, comprehensive solutions that address our mounting debt, rein in spending and tackle the long-term drivers of our deficits," he said in a statement. "While the bill passed by Congress today does contain good policy measures, such as strengthening our national defense, investing in our border security, and funding priorities for Idaho, it does not go far enough to address our nation’s fiscal health."
“Since coming to Washington, I have consistently pressed Congress to change its out-of-control spending habits," Risch said. "The federal government borrows nearly $1.25 billion A DAY; this is not sustainable and threatens our children’s and grandchildren’s futures. While there were many individual provisions I opposed, and many I supported and was glad to see included, I could not in good conscience vote for an overall increase in spending.”