Posted by on September 19, 2023 5:41 pm
Categories: News Washington Examiner

GOP veterans admonish House Republicans who sank defense spending bill

From left, Rep. Rich McCormick, Rep. Ken Calvert, Rep. Mike Garcia, Rep. Derrick Van Orden, and Rep. Brandon Williams speak to reporters about the urgency of passing a defense funding bill. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

GOP veterans admonish House Republicans who sank defense spending bill

Cami Mondeaux September 19, 05:12 PM September 19, 05:12 PM Video Embed

Military veterans in the House GOP conference criticized a handful of their conservative colleagues who sank the annual defense appropriations bill on Tuesday, accusing the holdout votes of making the country susceptible to Chinese aggression.

Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) hit out against the five House Republicans who voted against beginning consideration of the must-pass legislation, causing the party to fall short of the majority vote needed to kick-start debate on more than 180 amendments lawmakers seek to attach to the funding bill. The failed vote sends GOP leaders back to the drawing board with just seven legislative days left before a government shutdown deadline.


“For political purposes, for optics, out of fear, they decided to vote against a rule to even allow this to come to the floor for debate,” Garcia, a Navy veteran, said after the vote. “What we just saw with these five individuals was them adding, effectively, their name to that list that are enabling [Chinese President Xi Jinping] right now, who’s looking at this with a sigh of relief that we didn’t just get this DOD package to the floor. I’m disappointed. I am pissed off.”

Five Republicans voted to sink the measure on Tuesday, including Reps. Ralph Norman (R-SC), Dan Bishop (R-NC), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Ken Buck (R-CO), and Matt Rosendale (R-MT). The final vote was 212-214, falling short of the majority threshold needed to advance the legislation.

“I think they’re good Americans,” Garcia said, referring to the holdout votes. “But they’re confused, and they just handed a win to the Chinese Communist Party as a result of this vote.”

GOP leaders have been working for weeks to shore up enough support for the defense appropriations bill, even agreeing to several culture war amendments that target Pentagon policies on abortion and LGBT matters to win key holdout votes. However, those efforts were complicated last week when House leaders postponed the initial rules votes.

The House was originally scheduled to vote on the Defense Appropriations Act last Wednesday, but the legislation was later pulled from the schedule due to a lack of support among hard-line conservatives who sought to use their votes as leverage for other legislation.

Garcia chastised that strategy, lamenting that defense spending was “not the forum to have this fight.”

Other veterans within the GOP conference echoed similar sentiments in a bid to assure their constituents that the handful of members who sank the bill are not representative of the entire conference.

“I want to be very clear: The Republican conference … didn’t vote this down,” said Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI), a former Navy SEAL. “There’s five individual members of the Republican conference that are solely responsible for this happening. There’s five of them. And let’s just remember that.”


Congress has until Sept. 30 to pass the budget for the next fiscal year, after which the government will run out of money and shut down until a deal is made. By then, lawmakers must advance 12 individual appropriations bills in each chamber before sending their final product to the president’s desk for approval, setting the stage for an arduous process as House Republicans and Senate Democrats disagree on top-line spending numbers.

It’s unclear when the House plans to reconvene to vote on the legislation, throwing the House into uncertainty as GOP leaders scramble to unify their party. Members were advised on Tuesday afternoon to keep their schedules “flexible” over the coming days, with a possibility lawmakers may need to meet over the weekend for votes.

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