Senate Republican Leaders Silent on Democrat Funding Bill

Senate Republican Leaders Silent on Democrat Funding Bill

Senate Republican leaders have declined to comment on the bill that Senate Democrats introduced to fund the government through Nov. 17 that avoids a government shutdown but that also fails to address the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In introducing the bill, the Democrats undermine House Republican efforts to convince President Joe Biden to address the border crisis in order to fund the government, critics say.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., supported the bill in remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday, while other major Republican leaders have declined to comment on it.

“Over the years, I’ve been pretty clear in my view that government shutdowns are bad news whichever way you look at them,” McConnell said. “A government shutdown would be an unnecessary disruption of the important work on the Senate’s agenda. So, I would urge each of my colleagues to work this week to avoid one.”

The Daily Signal reached out to Senate Republican Whip John Thune of South Dakota, Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming, and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a former whip rumored to be next in line behind McConnell for minority leader. None of them commented to The Daily Signal on the legislation, nor did any of them issue press releases or comment on the bill on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Unless Congress passes and the president signs legislation funding the government, nonessential functions will shut down on Oct. 1. On Tuesday, the House advanced four bills to fund specific departments—the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State, and Agriculture—that would limit the impact of the shutdown. (Funding the government requires 12 separate appropriations bills, or Congress can pass a continuing resolution to fund the government on a limited basis.)

The House is voting on amendments Wednesday and will vote on passing the bills Thursday. These bills would fund 71% of total discretionary spending for the next fiscal year. Meanwhile, the Senate has not voted on a single appropriations bill.

Also on Tuesday, the Senate advanced a continuing resolution to fund the government through Nov. 17, the week before Thanksgiving. That bill would provide about $6.15 billion in additional funding for Ukraine and $5.99 billion in disaster relief funding. Barrasso, Cornyn, McConnell, and Thune voted for cloture on the bill to limit debate and bring it up for a vote. A complete list of the Senate Republicans who voted for and against cloture is below.

“In moving their continuing resolution, Senate Democrats are trying to undermine the efforts of House Republicans to move more conservative appropriations legislation,” Clint Brown, vice president of government relations at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. (The Daily Signal is The Heritage Foundation’s news outlet.)

“House Republicans are trying to be the adults in the room addressing the multiple crises facing our nation,” Brown added. “Meanwhile, many Senate Republicans are silently going along with Democrat efforts to maintain the status quo.”

Of the Senate’s Republican leaders, Brown said, “Their silence speaks volumes.”

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the Senate bill would be a nonstarter in the House, particularly because it neglects to address the border crisis.

The Daily Signal reached out to the Senate resolution’s sponsor, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for comment on the resolution and responses to criticism of it, but neither responded by publication time.

Heritage Action for America urged members of Congress to vote against the legislation, making it a “key vote” for legislative scorecards. (Heritage Action for America is an independent nonprofit organization affiliated with The Heritage Foundation.)

Heritage Action Executive Vice President Ryan Walker said the Senate bill “completely misses the mark.”

“Combining reckless spending levels with priorities the American people overwhelmingly don’t support—like additional, unaccountable funding for Ukraine—this package would do nothing more than continue the status quo in Washington,” he said.

Heritage Action has demanded that government funding bills must include “meaningful spending cuts to alter the nation’s discretionary-spending trajectory” by lowering top-line spending to the levels of fiscal year 2022. It has also insisted that “any short-term funding extension should include policy changes to secure the border and prevent the Biden administration from continuing its open-border agenda.” The Senate bill meets neither of those criteria.

Besides Barrasso, Cornyn, McConnell, and Thune, other Senate Republicans who voted for cloture on the Democrat’s funding bill include Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan; Arkansas’ Tom Cotton and John Boozman; Florida’s Marco Rubio; Idaho’s Mike Crapo; Indiana’s Todd Young; Iowa’s Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley; Kansas’ Jerry Moran; Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy; Maine’s Susan Collins; Mississippi’s Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker; North Carolina’s Thom Tillis; North Dakota’s Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven; Oklahoma’s James Lankford and Markwayne Mullin; South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham; South Dakota’s Mike Rounds; Utah’s Mitt Romney; and West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito.

Nineteen Senate Republicans voted against cloture: Alabama’s Katie Britt and Tommy Tuberville; Florida’s Rick Scott; Indiana’s Mike Braun; Kansas’ Roger Marshall; Kentucky’s Rand Paul; Missouri’s Josh Hawley and Eric Schmitt; Montana’s Steve Daines; Nebraska’s Deb Fischer and Pete Ricketts; North Carolina’s Ted Budd; Ohio’s JD Vance; Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty; Texas’ Ted Cruz; Utah’s Mike Lee; Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson; and Wyoming’s Cynthia Lummis.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Heritage Action for America is an independent nonprofit organization affiliated with The Heritage Foundation.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.