Md. Congressional Delegation Splits on Government Funding Bill

The Maryland House delegation split Thursday on the $1.3 trillion spending package to keep the federal government open through Sept. 30.

Just as the full House split in somewhat unpredictable fashion over the omnibus spending plan, which passed 256-167, the Maryland delegation also divided in not altogether coherent ways.

Voting for the bill: Democratic Reps. Anthony G. Brown, John K. Delaney, C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, and John Sarbanes.

Voting against: Rep. Andrew P. Harris, the state’s lone Republican in Congress; Rep. Jamie Raskin, arguably the most liberal member of the delegation; and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, the minority whip.

Rep. Andrew P. Harris

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who has been ill for several weeks, did not vote.

Overall, 145 Republicans voted for the spending package while 90 opposed it; 111 Democrats voted for it and 77 voted against it.

In a statement, Harris called the bill “fiscally irresponsible.”

“The Omnibus bill was 2,232 pages long, and we had fewer than 14 hours to read it before voting on it,” he said. “This $1.3 trillion spending bill will balloon our deficit and will continue to fund unlawful sanctuary cities. This bill also fails to provide adequate funding for border security and fails to address the need for temporary workers in industries critical to the economy of Maryland’s First District, so I voted against this bill.”

Hoyer expressed similar concerns.

“Republicans brought this 2,200-page omnibus bill to the floor in less than twenty-four hours, violating every rule they’ve set for themselves and exemplifying the kind of hypocrisy they’ve demonstrated throughout their House Majority,” he said.

Hoyer also blasted House Republicans for not addressing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in the legislation, which faces uncertain status. Its fate could be decided by the Supreme Court.

In voting against the measure, Hoyer parted company with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who voted for it — though she too was sharply critical of the absence of DACA action.

In a tweet Thursday morning, before the final House vote, Brown estimated that he’d need “at least 72 hours” to read the full spending legislation. But he voted for it nevertheless.

Senators are unlikely to get around to voting on the omnibus bill until Friday. The federal government will shut down on Friday night if the measure fails.

Josh Kurtz
Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here