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Nobody should do 'victory lap' over spending bill, House members say

Rep. Gerry Connolly spoke to WJLA from Capitol Hill on May 3, 2017. (SBG)

As the House prepared to vote on a bill to fund the federal government through September Wednesday, Democrats said the compromise legislation offers enough to satisfy both sides without producing a clear winner.

“I don’t think it’s very helpful to characterize this one way or the other,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. “This was the way legislation is supposed to work. Everybody got a little bit of something and everybody lost a little bit of something.”

He called the bill, which does not include some of President Donald Trump’s top budget priorities, a “balanced” approach that averts a damaging government shutdown.

“Right now we need to keep the government open and functioning,” he said.

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., highlighted the fact that Republican efforts to include language withholding federal funds from Planned Parenthood failed.

“It’s a compromise,” she said. “I think the Democrats came out well on this. We protected some important programs.”

According to Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., negotiators avoided any “poison pill” riders that would have doomed the bill and succeeded in securing more funding for cancer and diabetes research.

“There’s some good wins in this budget,” she said.

Democrats also noted that the bill specifically does not provide funding for Trump’s promised border wall.

Not everyone on Capitol Hill was satisfied with the agreement. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., said he could not support it.

“This bill for me is below my threshold,” he said.

Despite a Republican majority in Congress and a Republican president, he felt too much was given up, particularly on border security and regulatory reform.

According to Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Ill., the bill spends too much money without growing the economy.

“I don’t think anybody should be doing a victory lap when we’re $20 trillion in debt,” he said.

The president has sent mixed messages. He complained on Twitter Tuesday that the rules of the Senate required compromises and a shutdown or rule change may be necessary to get a better deal in September, but he has since insisted that “this is what winning looks like.”

The White House complained Tuesday that some Democrats were portraying the deal as a victory over President Trump. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney insisted at a briefing that the administration got what it wanted.

The House is expected to vote on the bill Wednesday.

Connolly said an acrimonious battle over who won the budget battle is counterproductive with negotiations over 2018 federal funding on the horizon.

“Neither side should be crowing about who won and who lost,” he said.

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