I wrote this column in response to an open letter to Senator Katie Britt that was published at 1819 News on April 12.

That letter does not at all accurately reflect her staunchly conservative voting record, especially on fiscal issues.

There is a reason Senator Britt is being awarded CPAC’s Award for Conservative Achievement this year, her first opportunity to earn this accolade during her tenure in the Senate.

SEE ALSO: Charles Kiplinger: An open letter to Sen. Katie Britt

And I had to ask myself: why does this letter fail to mention Senator Britt voted against raising the debt ceiling last year? Why does the letter not mention that Senator Britt voted for Senator Rand Paul’s “Five Penny Plan,” which would’ve slashed all spending by 5% outside of our defense and border security? And why does the letter make no mention of the fact that Senator Britt voted against a Continuing Resolution this January that was simply Chuck Schumer kicking the can down the road?

But there is much more I take issue with in this letter than what it omitted.

On the morning of March 23, Senator Katie Britt voted to pass the Senate’s final six Appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2024. Incredibly, this legislation delivered $6.2 billion in targeted investments, including critical national defense priorities, home to Alabama.

The first six FY24 Appropriations bills, which Senator Britt also voted to support, passed earlier in March and directly appropriated more than $786 million for strategic, tailored investments in our great state. In total, Britt directly supported $7 billion for critical Alabama priorities—ranging from our defense installations and servicemembers, to local waterway and roadway infrastructure projects, rural health care services, mental health care access, childcare, our colleges and universities, and Alabama’s tremendous law enforcement officers. What some people might not realize is that this money was going somewhere – it wasn’t whether it was being spent or not, it was a question of where the money would be sent. And instead of going to New York or California, more of Alabamians’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars will be coming home because of the strategic wins secured in this legislation.

The open letter to Senator Britt fails to confront reality. There were only two options left on the table for Congress: 1). a yearlong Continuing Resolution, or 2). the compromise package that House Republicans negotiated with the White House. Senator Britt made the right choice for Alabama and for America.

First of all, remember what a yearlong Continuing Resolution would have been continuing: the liberal Nancy Pelosi-Chuck Schumer omnibus from FY23. Both chambers of Congress and the White House were controlled by Democrats when that omnibus passed, so there was no House Republican majority to negotiate conservative wins or commonsense spending cuts back then. Additionally, any yearlong CR costs our nation more money in the long run. When a government agency is being told to spend what they needed two years ago instead of what they need today and tomorrow, that’s a waste of money and doesn’t allow our nation to meet future, strategic goals on target. Finally, a yearlong CR would have also given broader discretion to the Biden Administration on how they spend the money.

While the compromise package was far from perfect, that’s an expected function of a Democrat-controlled Senate and White House. Elections have consequences, and it’s not within the realms of reality to suggest that perfect is possible for conservatives under the current unevenly divided government – one in which Democrats have a strong upper hand over one of the slimmest House majorities in our nation’s history.

The legislation Senator Britt supported was a significant step in the right direction because the House Republican majority was able to inject conservative priorities into these FY24 Appropriations bills. These included:

· Protecting the Hyde Amendment to ensure taxpayer dollars can't fund abortions,

· Defending the Second Amendment,

· Clawing back over $10 billion from the Internal Revenue Service,

· Prohibiting funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology,

· Preventing the Consumer Product Safety Commission from banning gas stoves,

· Prohibiting funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to prevent U.S. taxpayer money from propping up Hamas,

· Barring the U.S. Department of Transportation from implementing or forcing mask mandates on airplanes, railroads, buses, and public transit,

· Prohibiting funding from being used by the Department of Justice to target parents who peacefully protest at school board meetings, and

· Prohibiting funding from being used by the DOJ to investigate religious institutions on the basis of their religious beliefs.

Perhaps most importantly, the legislation made incremental progress on fighting Joe Biden’s border crisis. The bills forced the Biden Administration to fund a 22% increase in ICE detention beds, $300 million more for the removal of illegal aliens, 2,000 more Border Patrol agents, 150 new CBP officers, more ICE officers, and slashed the far-left’s favorite slush fund for illegal aliens by 20%.

Make no mistake – the priorities and values of Alabamians are at the heart of Senator Britt’s vote and every vote she casts as our outstanding U.S. Senator. I am proud of her ongoing efforts to get our federal spending process back on track.

Laura Johnston Clark is a wife, mother, and businesswoman. She grew up in the Wiregrass and now lives in Birmingham with her husband, retired Air Force Col. David Etheredge. She is a member of the Alabama Republican Party.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819news.com

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