Republican leadership in the House is barreling ahead with efforts to prevent Democrats from passing a lame-duck omnibus spending bill this year.
“We’re 20 days before the new members are being sworn in. We’ve got two members leading appropriations in the Senate who will no longer be here or be able to be held accountable to the constituents,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said at a press conference on Wednesday. He was referring to Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., negotiating what will be in the omnibus, despite the fact that they will be leaving office next month.
“We’ve got an omni bill that takes 12 appropriation bills and puts them all together, and adds the baseline somewhere about $100 billion,” said McCarthy, who secured his party’s nomination for the House speakership last month.
The majority right now … wants to put a small continuing resolution to bump all the members up two days before Christmas, to try to vote on a package they cannot read, written by two individuals who will not be here on spending for the entire government.
The Democrats have been in power. They’ve had the House, the Senate, and the presidency. They did not do their work, but they should not jam us now. They should not jam the American public. We cannot afford it.
McCarthy has publicly opposed signing an omnibus spending bill before Republicans take the House majority when the 118th Congress convenes the first week of January.
“I’m looking at Mitch McConnell when I say this: do your job, Leader McConnell! Do your job and follow the wishes of the American people who gave a majority to Republicans in the House of Representatives,” Roy said. “And let’s STOP this bill.”
“We should not move a short-term [continuing resolution]. We should move one further into the new year. Allow the American people what they said a month ago, to change Washington as we know it today,” McCarthy said.
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., who secured the House majority leadership position for the next Congress last month, also weighed in on the omnibus spending bill debate.
“We need to change the way Washington does business. In fact, we ran on an agenda of changing the way Washington does business,” he said. “Right after that election, where the American people said that they want a check and a balance on the Biden administration, … we see Washington trying to do that same business one last time right before Christmas by bringing this omnibus appropriations bill that nobody’s seen, as Kevin pointed out, just a handful of people at most are writing it right now,” Scalise said. He added:
It’s still not even available for anyone to read, and yet they want the ability to go and bring that on the eve of Christmas, because it’s a sign that Congress failed to do its job. The Democrat House, the Democrat Senate, the Democrat White House had all year to get funding taken care of by Sept. 30, and of course they blew through that deadline and asked for another few months.
Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., currently ranking member of the House Budget Committee, discussed how long it has taken Democrats to pass government funding.
“It’s been 75 days—75 days since the Democrats were supposed to pass funding for our government just to keep the lights on,” Smith said at the press conference.
“And we are less than two weeks away from Christmas, and they’re trying to jam through a huge spending bill. Why is that? Because they have spent the last two years under one-party Democrat rule in Washington—the White House, the House, and the Senate—spending excess money in their reconciliation packages,” Smith said. He added:
In fact, in the first 20 months of President Joe Biden, he has added more than $10 trillion in new spending. That is a record for any president in his first 20 months [in office] in the history of the United States. It’s also the largest debt increase by any president in his first 20 months in the history of the United States.
Republican Reps. Elise Stefanik of New York, Kay Granger of Texas, and Mike Turner of Ohio also spoke at the press conference.
“In just 20 days, House Republicans will have the gavel and end the Left’s reckless spending fueling this historic and painful inflation crisis. On Day One in the majority, we will start reining in the Biden administration and deliver on our commitment to America,” said Stefanik, who defeated Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., to retain the House Republican Conference chair position last month.
Leahy announced Tuesday evening that he, Shelby, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., “reached a bipartisan, bicameral framework that should allow us to finish an omnibus appropriations bill that can pass the House and Senate and be signed into law by the President,” Roll Call reported.
“The pain of inflation is real, and it is being felt across the federal government and by American families right now. We cannot delay our work any further, and a two-month continuing resolution does not provide any relief,” Leahy said in a press release.
But Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, urged Congress on Tuesday night to pass a “clean [continuing resolution]”.
“We’re witnessing a conspicuous, re-occurring trend whereby leaders use the threat of a government shutdown to pressure members into voting for inflated spending provisions without even time to read the bill,” Lee said.
“We should never use the threat of a government shutdown to force through policy changes that could never survive a vote on their own merits,” Lee added.
Matthew Dickerson, director of the Center for the Federal Budget at The Heritage Foundation, also noted that “a lame-duck omnibus is unprecedented from an outgoing House majority.” (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
“This omnibus spending bill will allow [outgong House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi one last spending binge after the voters rejected her liberal policy agenda,” Dickerson told The Daily Signal in an email.
“Instead of caving on important issues like IRS funding, securing the border, protecting life, and reducing inflation, Senate Republicans should let the next Congress write responsible funding bills for next year,” Dickerson added.
Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action for America, the grassroots arm of Heritage, said that “conservatives must not yield, and continue their fight for a continuing resolution into 2023 so the next Congress can fund the government in an open and transparent way.”
“Conservative House leadership understands that a short-term continuing resolution through the first quarter of 2023 is the only way that the American people are going to have a seat at the table for any long-term funding package,” Anderson told The Daily Signal in an email. “If the Left and their establishment partners get their way, an omnibus spending package will inevitably be filled with various left-wing priorities, legacy pet projects for retiring members, and will undoubtedly increase government spending during a time of record-setting inflation.”
The White House did not immediately respond to The Daily Signal’s request for a comment.
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