Audio: Hoeven, Cramer Defend Votes For "CROmnibus" Spending Bill

Last week, and over the weekend, the House and Senate voted on an omnibus spending package that has conservatives outrage. Over the last couple of days my email inbox has been filling up with conservative friends and SAB readers upset that Congressman Kevin Cramer and Senator John Hoeven voted for the bill (Senator Heidi Heitkamp voted for it too, but I suspect my conservative readers expect that sort of thing from her).

My inbox has also been filling up with emails from conservative groups telling me how badly Republicans are behaving after the elections (and how I ought to donate them money).

I’ve honestly been at a loss to understand the criticism of Hoeven and Cramer, and I’m growing a little weary of conservative demagogues who want to die on every hill of the battle over the governance of this country. The last several years there’s been one bright line after another that’s supposed to divide the “RINO’s” from the True ConservativesTM.

I haven’t written about this issue yet, but today I scheduled Senator Hoeven and Rep. Cramer on the Jay Thomas show (full audio above) to ask them why they voted the way they did. I listened to their explanations, and I honestly think they voted the right way.

Both men essentially justified their votes the same way, and they made two major points in doing so:

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]”…what conservative principle is served by eternally funding the government through a series of continuing resolutions and gigantic omnibus spending bills that are born in the fires of partisan discord and passed not so much on their merits but because of brinksmanship between political forces?”[/mks_pullquote]

1) While they oppose President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration, they felt it was better to deal with the issue in the new Congress with a Republican majority in the Senate. Thus, they funded the Department of Homeland Security until February when Congress can address funding, and Obama’s executive order, again.

2) They funded the rest of the government until the end of the current fiscal year (the end of September next year) so that the new Congress can begin to address funding for the next fiscal year under the regular order. That means no more omnibus spending packages. No more continuing resolutions. That means back to the days of a dozen separate appropriations bills, each receiving the full debate and scrutiny of Congress. In other words, an end to the governance through crisis that has ruled Congress since Democrats took over majorities.

These points seem reasonable to me. Rather than throwing a tantrum in the closing weeks of a lame duck session in which one house of Congress is still controlled by Democrats, Republicans took what they could and look forward to a better sort of governance in the new Congress.

Is this so unreasonable? And what conservative principle is served by eternally funding the government through a series of continuing resolutions and gigantic omnibus spending bills that are born in the fires of partisan discord and passed not so much on their merits but because of brinksmanship between political forces?

I’m sure I’ll be accused of being a RINO, and not a True ConservativeTM, but I’m honestly tired of the theatrics. I’m tired of supposed conservative superstars who are more interested in raising their profiles to run for president, or selling books and garnering listeners, than sound governance.

Kudos to Hoeven and Cramer. As far as I’m concerned, they voted the right way. And, frankly, so did Heitkamp.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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