Outgoing U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) voted in favor of the $1.7 trillion government spending package. His Alabama counterpart, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn), voted against it.
The Senate vote passed 68-29 on Thursday, clearing the required minimum of 60 votes. The House is slated to quickly vote on the bill before government funding runs out at midnight on Friday.
In one of the last votes of his career, Shelby chose to go against his fellow Alabama senator and several outspoken Republicans by voting for the final passage of the massive "omnibus" government spending bill.
In addition to $47 billion in aid to Ukraine, Shelby boasted the bill's earmarks for Alabama, which will include billions for military facilities, universities, public health, economic development and more.
"Throughout my career, I have done everything in my power to bring success to my home state," Shelby said. "The funding for Alabama in this package is significant in terms of the impact it will have on communities and the overall state-wide economy for generations to come. This package also represents a serious commitment to our national defense, aid for Americans in need as a result of natural disasters, and continuing support for the people of Ukraine as they fight against Russian aggression. While the path to get here was winding at times, I am proud that we have completed our work for the American people."
Tuberville made his decision last minute but ultimately voted against the bill, calling it a "monstrosity." Tuberville was critical of the additional Ukraine funding and other "giveaways" he saw as gratuitous.
"Democrats have expanded the size of our federal government to a point we can no longer afford," Tuberville said in a statement. "Because of the piecemeal way Congress has approached funding the government over the past two decades, we are forced to consider massive budgets at the last minute. This makes oversight of spending nearly impossible — and worsens inflation that's crushing working families. Americans have to live within their means while Congress burns money we don't have. I opposed the omnibus because Congress should be responsible enough to spend no more than we can afford, just as Americans do every day."
Although the bill is expected to pass the House, it has fierce opposition from the likes of U.S. Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise), who, last week, asked his fellow leaders to delay the vote until the new session starts on Jan. 3, 2023, when Republicans take the House majority.
Before the Senate vote, Moore and 29 other House Republicans sent a letter in which they pledged to oppose any legislative priority of those senators who voted for the bill.
"Republicans can't continue to tell voters' we are going to fight President Biden's radical policies', but then fail to stand firm when tested,'" Moore said. "Now that we have leverage, we must use it. I refuse to look the other way as Congress advances politicians' pet projects at the expense of the priorities of hurting American families. Washington has neglected their interests for far too long, and my colleagues and I are pledging to defend them."
U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) blasted Shelby's support for the bill, claiming the Senator was more responsible for the national debt than anyone in history.
U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) has stated he will vote "no" on the bill, despite having $3.5 million earmarked to improve traffic flow issues in his district.
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