With just twenty-four hours to review, the omnibus spending bill is expected to be voted on late in the evening on Thursday. Despite the fact that virtually nobody has had time to read the entire bill, it is poised to pass, especially with the support of House Speaker Paul Ryan.
But deep within the bill, a number of major issues have been found. Most alarmingly, the bill specifically blocks funding towards Trump’s wall. It orders that border security funding go towards “operationally effective designs” such as “currently deployed steel bollard designs.” That means that this bill does nothing more than provide funds to lay out more of the previous, and less effective border fencing.
(b) The amounts designated in subsection (a)(2) 15 through (a)(4) shall only be available for operationally ef fective designs deployed as of the date of the Consolidated 17 Appropriations Act, 2017, (Public Law 115–31), such as 18 currently deployed steel bollard designs, that prioritize 19 agent safety.
With the above language, it allows Democrats to correctly claim that they blocked Trump’s wall, but give Republicans the ability to claim that they supported increased border security while doing almost nothing. Either way, it’s a lose-lose for any American concerned about illegal immigration.
Another controversial provision of the omnibus spending bill is funding for a proposal known as “Fix-NICS.” Instead of attempting to pass it on its own, which has failed on numerous occasions, it appears that Republicans in congress have plugged the bill, which has support from a number of high-profile Democrats, including Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) into the massive spending bill.
SEC. 601. of the omnibus spending bill is titled the “FIX NICS ACT,” and is the same bill that anti-gun Republicans and Democrats have failed to pass in the past.
Fix-NICS provides massive funding to states to encourage them to input more people into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to bar them from firearm ownership.
The NICS system has already been massively abused, disproportionately targeting veterans. Over 257,000 veterans have already been barred from firearm ownership without any due process, and this funding only gives them the ammo they need to throw even more veterans into the NICS database.
If the omnibus bill makes its way to President Trump’s desk, it is unclear if he will sign it. Trump has already signaled that he may veto it if it does not include wall funding. Also, some members of the House Freedom Caucus are opposing the measure, and encouraging Trump to veto it.