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Omnibus spending bill allocates $40 million for ‘democracy programs’ in Venezuela

The massive $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill currently being debated in Congress contains tens of millions of dollars in spending on programs meant to benefit political adversaries abroad and has been widely criticized by conservatives who say that the legislation is packed full of items on the Democrat Party’s progressive wishlist. 

The bill, which is over 2,700 pages and was released Tuesday night, provides tens of millions of dollars to programs that appear to benefit Venezuela and Russia, who are currently in the middle of a global oil crisis generated by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

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“Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘Economic Support Fund’, not less than $40,000,000 shall be made available for democracy programs for Venezuela,” the bill states.

The bill also calls for $6 million in spending on an international leadership fund that includes money going to Russian participants “engaging in free market development, humanitarian activities, and civic engagement” but will “not be used for officials of the central government of Russia.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to female flight attendants in comments broadcast on state television on Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Image: Reuters Video)

The bill provides just under $10 million for improving television and radio broadcasting capabilities in countries across the globe, including in communist Cuba.

“This funding, championed by Republicans and Democrats alike, supports brave civil society leaders and human rights activists in Venezuela who are opposed to the Maduro regime,” a House Appropriations Committee spokesperson told Fox News regarding the Venezuela funding. “This investment is consistent with House Democrats’ support for democracy and human rights around the world.”

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Heritage Foundation slammed the bill for its spending priorities and called on Republicans to oppose it. 

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“The bill is loaded with the Biden administration’s radical progressive policies,” the foundation said. ” It fails to reverse the COVID-19 emergency or the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates, as conservative leaders have called for, and instead adds even more emergency COVID-19 spending. It would increase annual funding for the IRS to $12.6 billion. It doubles down on the Green New Deal style government subsidies for green energy and climate policies, such as ‘a historic level of funding’ for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). It also includes more than $4 billion in Congressional Direct Spending, or earmarks.”

Several conservatives on Twitter, including Republican Congressman Chip Roy, slammed the priorities of Democrats in the spending bill. 

“This bill doesn’t do a THING to open up American oil and gas production,” Roy tweeted. “It does give $14.1 billion to Biden’s Department of Interior, which has not conducted A SINGLE onshore federal oil and gas lease sale this year.”

Roy pointed out other controversial aspects of the bill including funding gender studies in Pakistan, services for transgender individuals, and global climate activism.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 22: Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas).

“These are only A FEW of the tyrannical ends that this garbage fund,” Roy tweeted. “Not a single member of Congress should vote for this attack on the freedom of the American people.”

House Democrats‘ plan to take a quick vote to fund the government and provide aid for Ukraine were scuttled Wednesday as leadership didn’t have the votes to advance the $1.5 trillion massive piece of legislation.

Democrats missed their planned departure to Philadelphia Wednesday for a conference retreat and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had pushed back her planned news conference as leadership huddled to find a pathway forward on the $1.5 trillion bipartisan legislation to finance federal agencies for the rest of this year.

Members told Fox News Digital that delays surrounding the bill have to do with major concerns about coronavirus funding, as well as defense spending levels and the short amount of time to review the contents of the 2,741-page measure just hours before they were expected to approve it. 

After huddling in the speaker’s office for some time, Pelosi announced a path forward Wednesday afternoon to remove the $15.6 billion in coronavirus relief funding from the legislation. Pelosi said it was “heartbreaking” to remove the additional pandemic funding, but it was necessary to move forward with the larger spending bill, known as the omnibus, that included emergency funding for Ukraine. 

Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report

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