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Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) hold a news conference in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center May 17, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

'Democrats Must Do Better': Progressive Caucus Leaders Condemn $1.4 Trillion Spending Bill That Boosts War Budget, Funds Trump's Wall

"The bill before us today will not stop the abuse and wrongful detention of people in custody, nor will it prevent the Trump administration from misusing federal funds to advance their horrific mass detention and deportation agenda."

Jake Johnson

The leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus condemned the $1.4 trillion spending package that passed the House Tuesday, calling the legislation a massive giveaway to the Pentagon and a green light for President Donald Trump's "immoral mass detention policies."

"The bill before us today will not stop the abuse and wrongful detention of people in custody, nor will it prevent the Trump administration from misusing federal funds to advance their horrific mass detention and deportation agenda," Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chairs of the Progressive Caucus, said in a statement just ahead of the vote.

"We also find it offensive that at a time when millions of families can't afford to put food on the table, this bill wastes $1.375 billion on the pointless, immoral border wall," continued Jayapal and Pocan. "We cannot support legislation which enables a cruel president and administration to continue to use immigrants as political pawns and ignore the will of Congress by transferring money that was authorized for essential priorities to the president's own vanity projects. We will be voting no."

Despite official opposition from the Congressional Progressive and Hispanic Caucuses, the spending package easily passed the House on Tuesday. The package now heads to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it is expected to pass by Friday.

"The package passed in two pieces, one focused on GOP national security priorities including the Pentagon, the other on domestic agencies dear to Democrats such as the Health and Human Services Department," the Washington Post reported. "The vote on the national security package was 280-138. The vote on the domestic agencies was 297-120."

The year-end spending measure—which one critic described as a "sea of special interest giveaways"—boosts Pentagon funding by $22 billion, bringing its total 2020 budget to $738 billion.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said the spending package fails "to hold this president accountable for his human rights abuses—both foreign and domestic."

"Rather than using our mandate for reform, the national security bill passed today maintains the status quo in foreign policy, giving the president a blank check to continue unwinnable wars, allows him to fund his racist border wall, and increases funding for human rights abuses under ICE," Omar said in a statement. "This is simply unconscionable."


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