WALTERS: Fact-Checking Senator Roger Wicker on the Omnibus Bill

By Ryan Walters | May 10th, 2017 at 11:51 am

BY: Ryan Walters / Mississippi PEP Contributor

Ryan Walters is a life-long Mississippian from Jones County. He is a professor of history holding a bachelor and master’s degree in American history from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is the author of "The Last Jeffersonian: Grover Cleveland and the Path to Restoring the Republic." Find more of his writing at

Filed Under: Abortion, Contributor, Ethics, Feature Stories, Federal Government, National, Obamacare, Opinion, Politics, Republican, Roger Wicker, Ryan Walters, Spending

Senator Roger Wicker recently released a statement defending the Omnibus Budget Bill as a positive accomplishment.

“Without this bill,” he wrote, “we would be continuing the spending priorities of the Obama era.” The bill “demonstrates how Republicans are committed to making the tough choices that need to be made to control federal spending. This bill adheres to the 2015 ‘Budget Control Act’ and, at $1.1 trillion, continues a downward trend in discretionary spending.”

“The bill, negotiated by the Trump White House, also seizes an opportunity to strengthen our defense and our border security – two key components of President Trump’s agenda. That would not have happened by kicking the can down the road and passing another extension of funding set during the Obama Administration.”

So let us see if what he says is actually true:

Wicker touts an increase in defense spending but, as we pointed out, the bill only increased military appropriations by a paltry $15 billion, far less than the President sought.

Wicker brags about more cash for border security, but the bill allocated very few additional dollars and zero monies for a border wall when Trump requested $1.4 billion to get the project started. It also funds sanctuary cities.

Wicker says the bill provides “educational success” for America’s students with increased Pell Grants and school choice. But Washington has failed across the board in education and true conservatives know the federal government needs to quit the field in that battle.

Wicker wrote that the bill makes “cuts to government programs,” and perhaps it does, but we know that overall the omnibus bill increased federal spending and did not cut the deficit one cent.

Wicker says that the bill “directs no appropriations to Planned Parenthood.” But this bill fully funds the abortion provider.

Wicker said the bill is responsible for “defunding parts of Obamacare.” But we know that it fully funds Obamacare.

Finally, Wicker ended his statement with these words: “All of these reasons reaffirm why Congress was right to pass this appropriations bill. It marks a new chapter, in which the spending priorities of the Obama era are left behind and the Trump Administration’s agenda can move forward. This change was what Americans voted for in November.”

But if that’s true, then why did more Democrats vote for it than Republicans? Why were Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer so happy with the bill? Why did the Democrats, in essence, claim victory?

True conservatives thought very differently on the matter. Senator Ted Cruz opposed the bill and in an interview contradicted everything in Wicker’s statement:

“On the spending side, it’s just unfortunate, they have cut a deal that largely gave the Democrats everything they wanted,” Cruz said. “There is a reason Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are celebrating, because the spending measure funds everything they want and funds virtually none of the priorities we were elected to fund. This bill funds sanctuary cities, funds Planned Parenthood, it funds Obamacare and I think that was unfortunate and it’s a real missed opportunity.”

Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, who also opposed the bill, added that he “could not in good conscience vote for an overall increase in spending.”

Once again, Senator Roger Wicker, Thad Cochran, who also praised the bill, and their cohorts in Congress have taken us for another ride. What they try to pass off as conservatism is not conservatism at all, just a myriad of policies that’s only slightly to the right of Barack Obama. Wicker says they didn’t kick the can down the road any further, but in truth, that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Senator Wicker has only proven that this is the same old song and dance we’ve seen from Republicans for years, and it’s only new conservative leadership, along with new members to replace the old bulls, that will truly change Washington.