Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today voted against the FY 2015 omnibus spending bill, citing her opposition to last-minute policy riders that were snuck into the legislation to "once again serve Wall Street and the big banks at the expense of the American taxpayer." The bill passed by a vote of 219-206 and funds the federal government through September 30, 2015.
In explaining her vote against the legislation, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said, "There are two kinds of people serving in Congress--those who are here to serve the interests of the American people, and those who are here to serve the interests of the Big Banks and Wall Street speculators. The big banks that forced the American people to bail them out in 2008 are even bigger today. This bill sets us up to bail the big banks out again, and its passage brings us closer to the precipice of an economic disaster that would make the 2008 meltdown seem like a picnic."
Congresswoman Gabbard also objected to a provision snuck into the spending bill that would dramatically increase the amount of money contributors can give to a political party. "I'm opposed to a last-minute change to this legislation, which increases from $97,200 to $777,600 the amount of money a single donor can give annually to national political party committees," said Congresswoman Gabbard. "This provision will only serve to increase partisan politics and give political parties more power over political candidates.
"Additionally, I cannot support spending up to $500 million in American tax dollars to train and arm so-called "moderate' Syrian rebels when in reality what is being funded is a continuation of the flawed U.S. policy of regime change, undeclared war, and nation-building in the Middle East. This funding perpetuates a U.S. foreign policy that has failed repeatedly and has contributed to the chaos and increased empowerment of Islamic extremists in the region."
The congresswoman said she is "very disappointed to see this bill pass today because the American people deserve better. They deserve a government that listens to them and serves them, not special interests or Wall Street banks."
Congresswoman Gabbard spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives today to highlight her concerns and opposition to the omnibus spending bill as written.