Lauren Boebert & far-right Republicans slam spending bill for failing to decimate LGBTQ+ rights

Rep. Lauren Boebert, (R-CO) during the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on Saturday, March 4, 2023.
Rep. Lauren Boebert, (R-CO) during the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on Saturday, March 4, 2023. Photo: Jack Gruber / USA TODAY NETWORK

President Joe Biden averted a government shutdown on Saturday when he signed a new $1.2 trillion federal spending bill – one that had in part been held up over a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ provisions that extreme conservatives were determined to include.

In the end, only one of the more than 40 anti-LGBTQ+ riders made it into the bill – a provision preventing Pride flags from being flown over U.S. embassies in foreign countries, something Biden staunchly condemned and that embassies can creatively work around anyway. 

In a February letter to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), the far-right House Freedom Caucus said members would vote against the spending bill and shut down the government unless these riders were included.

In response to the bill’s passage, the caucus – which referred to the bill as the “swamp omnibus” – tweeted a list of what it deemed “The Biggest Pro-Life & LGBT Surrenders in the $1.2 Trillion omnibus bill” – not even trying to cloak its anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment a euphemism.

The list of “surrenders” included that the bill “fully funds DOD transgender surgeries” and provides “nearly $10 million for organizations providing or promoting gender transitions for adults and children.” The first one is referring to how the military already covers gender-affirming care for servicemembers and their families under TriCare. Republicans were hoping to ban TriCare from paying for the care in the budget process. The latter may refer to grants for LGBTQ+ organizations, many of which have nothing to do with gender-affirming care other than that they provide spaces and support for LGBTQ+ people.

The list was reposted by rabidly anti-LGBTQ+ Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), a member of the House Freedom Caucus who voted against the spending bill, along with 111 other House Republicans and 22 House Democrats. In contrast, 185 House Democrats and 101 Republicans voted in favor of the spending package.

Boebert retweeting the freedom caucus tweet

In the Senate, 22 Republicans voted against the bill and 25 in favor, with two abstaining. Forty-seven Democrats voted for the bill, while only one – Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado – voted against it.

Boebert also highlighted a post from the Freedom Caucus decrying the fact that a minuscule $845,000 was devoted to a Colorado LGBTQ+ organization called “Envision: You” because it is “entirely focused on LGBTQ+ individuals.”

The post complained, “In addition to hosting LGBTQ+ garden parties and art shows, they have a range of woke programs.”

Conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus tried to use budget negotiations to end government funding of any entity that “promotes transgenderism” or provides gender-affirming care; any federal agencies pursuing policies to expand diversity, equality, and inclusivity (DEI); any legal consequences for federal contractors who discriminate against LGBTQ+ people but claim their religion made them do it; and any implementation of the Department of Education’s rules requiring schools to accommodate trans students.

A recent statement from the White House stated “it was inappropriate to abuse the process that was essential to keep the government open.”

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