House and Senate Republican leaders defended a $1 trillion spending bill Tuesday amid mounting conservative criticism that it amounts to a cave-in to Democrats.
"I feel very good about the wins that we got with the administration in this bill," House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Tuesday.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also praised the bill, which he said included important provisions that have been long sought by the GOP.
Those include $1.5 billion for border security, which represents the biggest increase in a decade, as well as $15 billion boost in defense spending that did not come with the typically required increase in domestic spending.
"While this funding bill is the product of bipartisan negotiations, it delivers some important conservative wins, including critical steps forward on defense and border-security," McConnell said. McConnell also won permanent extension of health benefits for retired miners, which both parties had been seeking since last year.
The legislation angered conservatives who expected a GOP-controlled Congress and White House result in more Republican provisions.
Instead, the bill excluded language to strip taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood, and while it included some border security funding, it left out money specifically for the southern border wall that President Trump had hoped for. It also increased visas for low-skilled workers.
Democrats used those facts to claim a win for their party, stoking even more conservative anger and frustration over the deal.
Republican leaders are frustrated over the backlash. They say it ignores key conservative provisions in the spending bill, such as a three-year extension of the D.C. school voucher program, $454 million increase for the Israeli missile defense program, $668 million for Fossil Energy Research and Development, and language that blocks federal spending on the Green Climate Fund.
Republicans are also claiming victory for keeping language that blocks federal spending on abortions.
"Our pro-life rider is preserved, school choice advanced," Ryan said. "And we're giving the border patrol the kind of increases they need. So we think those are really good wins."
Ryan called the public ball-spiking by Democrats "a P.R. machine that the Democrats are pushing."
He wants conservatives to instead look at the bill, which is more than one thousand pages long and will be on the House floor for a vote within days.
"I'd say, don't look at the press releases, look at the bill," Ryan said. "And she you look at the bill, there are a lot of good conservative wins in here."