Congressional Republicans decry ‘radical pet projects’ earmarked in $1.2 trillion bill – Washington Examiner

Republicans raged against earmarks littered throughout the latest government spending legislation, unveiled overnight Thursday, that fund “pet projects” in lawmakers’ districts.

The deal includes the remainder of fiscal 2024 funding for the departments of Defense, Labor, State, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and other parts of the government. While those federal agencies are scheduled to shut down on Saturday if the funding bill is not passed by Friday night, Republicans in both chambers are sounding the alarm over controversial earmarks that are included in the legislation.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a fiscal hawk, urged lawmakers to provide more time to review the legislation prior to its passage.

“We’re spending millions of taxpayer dollars on radical pet projects that only serve to weaken and divide our country, culturally and economically,” Lee said Thursday afternoon in a speech on the Senate floor.

“Pet projects like $1.8 million for a hospital in Rhode Island that performs abortions, including late-term abortions, $475 million for an activist organization that has designed curriculum and materials for children ages 2 through 5 to ‘introduce the kids in our classroom to a wide variety of gender expressions,’ $400,000 for the largest LGBTQ advocacy organization in New Jersey,” Lee added.

Lawmakers are highlighting earmarks in the bill, which is over 1,000 pages, that would go toward LGBT organizations and facilities, hospitals that perform late-term abortions, and gender-transitioning hormone therapy among other causes.

The #SwampOmnibus is full of insane earmarks that should be REJECTED.

For example, New Jersey Senators are asking for nearly HALF A MILLION in taxpayer dollars to fund a state organization that force-feeds the LGBT agenda in schools.

This group assists in finding gender…

— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) March 21, 2024

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and other Republicans in Congress went through the bill, highlighting what they consider controversial and “wasteful government spending” on social media.

The Florida congressman pointed to a request from Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Bob Menedez (D-NJ) for $400,000 for the state’s largest LGBT advocacy group, the Garden State Equality Education Fund.

“This group assists in finding gender mutilation surgeries for minors and harasses schools that prevent biological men from using women’s bathrooms, participating in women’s sports, and more,” Gaetz said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The House Freedom Caucus also highlighted a variety of requests that made it into the final bill — including one from Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) that would provide $1.8 million for a Women and Infants Hospital, which the group noted performs “late-term surgical and chemical abortions” in a post on X, in Rhode Island.

Members also highlighted a request from Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) that included $400,000 for Briarpatch Youth Services, which has a program that provides clothing to minors who transition to different genders.

Ryan Walker, the executive vice president for the conservative group Heritage Action, pointed to $850,000 for LGBT senior housing services, sponsored by Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).

“Congress buried $850,000 for ‘LGBTQ Senior Housing’ services in the $1.2 TRILLION bill they’re trying to ram through tomorrow,” Walker said in a post on X. “Just one of MANY absurd earmarks in this ‘deal.’ Your tax dollars should not be wasted like this!”

Others raised concerns over not having enough time to review the text of the legislation because it was just released Thursday morning.

“It is a disaster, but since I’ve been up here, it’s been that way,” Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) told reporters on Thursday. “It always comes down to the last minute, everything’s pushed in and just slowed it down with things that shouldn’t be in there. At this point in time, you know, with all that we’re basically borrowing $80,000 a second right now, $4.6 million a minute and that’s not gonna fare very well.”

Lawmakers continue to negotiate amendment votes that will occur throughout the week, a symbolic mechanism that allows Republicans to publicly discuss their priorities while also not derailing quick passage of the legislation, as another government shutdown is looming over the weekend.

“I’m frustrated too, there’s a better way to do this, we should have been doing appropriation bills a long time ago,” said Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, emphasizing that amendments are coming.


It is unclear if Republicans in the upper chamber will opt to slow passage of the legislation, as funding for parts of the government lapse over the weekend. However, they continue to air their grievances about the process.

“There was no reason for this bill to be under lock & key until today,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) said in a post on X. “ We must fix this gross process & force fiscal sanity in Washington NOW.”