Rep. Byron Donalds: GOP opposed spending bill because it’s a ‘joke, giveaway to blue states’

At a town hall meeting, Donalds warns constituents about the ban on federal funds for Planned Parenthood that Senate Republicans may vote on on Friday

Rep. Byron Donalds: GOP opposed spending bill because it’s a ‘joke, giveaway to blue states’

A Republican congressman warned his constituents at a town hall that the Republican Party is supporting increased spending that will benefit “blue states” at the expense of the “desert states”.

During a meeting in east-central Arkansas on Tuesday, Representative Byron Donalds, of the state’s 36th district, said he didn’t want Congress to pass a bill that would strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding, but added that the policy would be supported by “blue states” and not “red states”.

The town hall meeting was one of several Trump-era town halls held by Republican members of Congress who are still running for re-election.

In the home stretch of the holiday recess, Donalds found himself being asked about his party’s opposition to the new Farm Bill, which sets policy for agricultural programs like subsidies and subsidized crop insurance.

He announced that he would be submitting an amendment to the House farm bill which “would strip $16bn of farm policy – including a huge cut to food stamps”. Donalds suggested this could be offset with new money from an already-passed spending bill.

The congressman’s proposal would cut $400m in funding for education through the Department of Agriculture’s popular Meals on Wheels program, $245m from HABITAT for housing assistance and $118m from various disaster programs, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

“For the first time in 20 years, we’re seeing red states and blue states sharing in federal money,” said Donalds.

Donalds is running for re-election, and has a strong chance of losing to Democrat David Barksdale.

Representative Carol Shea-Porter, who represents New Hampshire’s 1st congressional district, hit out at Donalds on Monday for introducing an amendment that would repeal Obamacare, a position she said reflected the views of Donalds’ “conservative base”.

“He thinks that people on Medicaid are just a bunch of welfare parasites who are not going to do anything productive,” said Shea-Porter, according to the Boston Globe. “I think his constituents in northeast New Hampshire are so proud that we decided to protect healthcare for low-income people.”

Shea-Porter said if she were elected, Donalds would be the one holding Trump’s neck “straight”.

Donalds shrugged off this criticism, saying that any Republican who would vote for an amendment to the Farm Bill that would defund Medicare “is a creature of the left”.

The bipartisan measure that Congress passed this week includes a provision that bans federal funds for Planned Parenthood clinics.

During the town hall, Donalds said he was supporting his party because it would help his constituents in places like Texas.

“My job is to represent the people of my district, not any particular, special interest,” he said.

The president of Planned Parenthood’s Arkansas affiliate took issue with Donalds’ statement.

“There are more than 5,000 Arkansas counties and my suggestion is that he better do more than just talk to his own constituents,” Katheryn Kinny, president of Planned Parenthood of Arkansas, said in a statement.

Kinny, who has previously worked for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Arkansas, said Arkansas has 100 women’s health centers, which would be destroyed if money from Medicaid were taken away from those clinics.

Donalds voted in favor of Trump’s tax cut, which was adopted last week, despite voting against it in the House of Representatives in late 2017. Trump signed the legislation into law after it passed the Senate in a 51-49 vote.

Donalds told attendees that he was getting “chewed out by my righties”. He quipped that he was “having more meetings with the NRA than I’ve ever had before”.

Donalds warned supporters that Democrats are the one’s who were against his pro-gun agenda.

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