Lawmakers Should Vote Against $88 Billion Spending Increase

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NTU urges all Representatives and Senators to vote “NO” on the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2471, the FY 2022 appropriations bill. This omnibus spending bill would significantly increase both defense and non-defense discretionary spending. It also includes supplemental appropriations for the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that – while addressing urgent policy matters – should be fully offset with reductions to regular appropriations or, better yet, make use of additional undisbursed or unspent COVID-19 relief already appropriated by Congress. Lawmakers should instead pass a continuing resolution while appropriators renegotiate an FY 2022 spending package that is more fiscally responsible, and puts the U.S. on the path to reducing deficits and debt.

This omnibus FY 2022 appropriations bill would increase defense spending by 5.6 percent ($42 billion) over FY 2021 enacted levels and would increase non-defense spending by 6.7 percent ($46 billion) over FY 2021 enacted levels. This is deeply concerning in a time of trillion-dollar annual deficits and $30 trillion of federal debt. Lawmakers should be looking to decrease discretionary spending from year to year – or at the very least to hold spending constant – rather than increasing both defense and non-defense spending, whether in the name of “parity” or any other principle. 

NTU appreciates that lawmakers have fully offset the $15.6-billion supplemental spending package for COVID-19 response, as we and other organizations asked lawmakers to do in January. However, we are disappointed that the $13.6-billion supplemental spending package for Ukraine is not offset with spending cuts elsewhere. We have no doubt that there are legitimate and urgent policy concerns for both the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which may require commitments of U.S. taxpayer dollars. However, NTU strongly believes that such commitments should utilize already appropriated but undisbursed funds from prior COVID-19 relief legislation, and/or should be offset by cuts to regular discretionary appropriations for FY 2022. The commitment of new taxpayer dollars – which, in reality, will be financed at this time by more debt – is deeply troubling.

Though not as important as the substance of this omnibus and supplemental appropriations bill, NTU is also frustrated by the process behind this spending deal. Lawmakers announced the specific funding levels for FY 2022 appropriations mere hours before the House and Senate are scheduled to vote on the legislation, which makes it impossible for Members of Congress, their staff, and the general public to weigh the pros and cons of such a massive piece of legislation. Congressional leadership should commit to providing more time for lawmakers to assess future spending legislation. 

Roll call votes on the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 2471 will be significantly weighted in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress and a “NO” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position. 

If you have any questions, please contact NTU Director of Federal Policy Andrew Lautz at alautz@ntu.org.