These two Democrats voted against spending bill, citing firearms provision

Two House Democrats cast votes against the six-bill spending package the chamber passed Wednesday to avert a partial government shutdown, with both citing a GOP-backed gun-related provision.

Reps. Maxwell Frost (Fla.) and Mark Takano (Calif.) voted against the “minibus” legislation Wednesday that funds a slew of agencies and departments through the end of fiscal 2024.

The legislation cleared the House with a 339-85 vote, with 207 Democrats and 132 Republicans voting for the measure. It now heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the upper chamber will vote on it ahead of the Friday partial shutdown.

Frost, a first-term lawmaker who rose to prominence as a gun control advocate, said the measure has “a lot of good in it” but also features “the greatest rollback of the background check system since it was created.”

A provision in the bill would allow veterans determined unable to manage their benefits to be able to purchase guns.

“This rollback would allow veterans that have been deemed by the Veterans Administration to be mentally incompetent to buy guns. These are folks that the VA no longer trusts to manager their own benefits. Veterans who are also unfortunately, at a high risk of suicide,” Frost wrote Wednesday on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Takano, the ranking member on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, praised the legislation during his Wednesday speech on the House floor, saying it has “many good things,” but also said it comes at the expense of the most “vulnerable” U.S. veterans.”

“I am anguished over it for one simple reason, veterans’ lives are on the line,” Takano said Wednesday.

Takano also added during his remarks that he was not urging his colleagues to vote against the bill.

The gun-related provision may also get some pushback on the Senate side.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said Wednesday he would not vote for the legislation because of it.

On Wednesday, 83 Republicans also voted against the bill. Conservatives had panned its price tag, the exclusion of policy priorities they had advocated for, and the process Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) used to move the bill through the chamber.

The $450 billion package allows funding for the departments of Commerce, Energy, Justice, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture and Veterans Affairs.

The bill, now on its way to the Senate, would complete half of the appropriations bill process for the fiscal 2024. The other six bills are due March 22 and are expected to be tougher to hurdle for appropriators.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.