House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is speaking out against the “bipartisan” omnibus framework — pointing out that the two leaders on the Senate Appropriations Committee who agreed to the deal are leaving the Senate next month, and thus are not able to be held “accountable for what they’re about to do.”
McCarthy, who is widely expected to become Speaker of the House when Republicans regain the majority in the chamber in January, told members of his conference during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday that he is a “hell no” on the omnibus spending deal.
Congress is attempting to avoid a government shutdown ahead of the December 16 deadline by passing this massive omnibus spending package, which is expected to cost $1.7 trillion. According to reporting from Bloomberg, between the House and Senate, the two chambers had published 7,509 earmarks in their proposed spending bills, which brought the total spending on earmarks in the omnibus to a shocking $16,012,972,565.
Meanwhile, the two leaders on the Senate Appropriations Committee — Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Vice Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) — who agreed to the deal with House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), aren’t even going to be in office to be held accountable by their voters for the decisions they have made regarding the legislation.
McCarthy made that point during Tuesday’s broadcast of Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.”
“The two people who lead in this Appropriations, Sen. Leahy and Sen. Shelby, will no longer be here in 21 days. They did not run for re-election. So, there’s no way that the taxpayer or the constituents can hold them accountable for what they’re about to do. Why wouldn’t you wait 21 more days?” the California Republican asked.
“What they’re talking about is adding the baseline, meaning where would we start in the next year,” he continued. “They want to increase it somewhere between 90 and $130 billion.”
McCarthy went on to cite skyrocketing inflation, questioning why lawmakers want to increase spending at a time when the country is going through economic hardship.
“Instead of saving money, instead of cutting back in this world of inflation that we have, why would we — if we do nothing in the CR, we’re going to save ourselves almost $100 billion,” he said. “That’s the hard-earned taxpayer money. And are you going to get time to read it? They’re trying to jam us right before Christmas. Why would you ever move forward when there’s a change in power in 21 days where Republicans would have a stronger hand? … Are two individuals who are leaving the Senate going to write a bill where they add 100 billion more dollars?”
“The Democrats have been in power… And they didn’t do this job. So, why would Republicans help them now to put in the things they care about? Why not wait 21 days?” McCarthy added.
The California Republican has been calling out this problem for some time now. In an appearance on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” last week, he once again condemned Republicans’ willingness to work with the Democrats on the issue despite the fact that they will be regaining the majority next month.
“As I said last week, Republicans will soon be in the majority and in the driver’s seat to fight for our priorities. That’s why every Republican should be a NO on Democrats’ lame-duck omnibus bill,” McCarthy tweeted, sharing a video clip of his interview.
As I said last week, Republicans will soon be in the majority and in the driver's seat to fight for our priorities.
That's why every Republican should be a NO on Democrats' lame-duck omnibus bill. pic.twitter.com/o7hefazgqR
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) December 13, 2022
Meanwhile, Republicans in the Senate have tried to push the omnibus vote until after the new Congress takes over.
Democrats blocked a request led by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) to pass a continuing resolution that would essentially freeze federal spending until February 3, when Republicans will control the House.
Democrats just blocked Sen. Mike Lee’s UC request to keep the govt funded through February because they are willing to shut the govt down to get their monstrous omnibus spending bill before Christmas. https://t.co/5MHxf00nCa
— Rep. Chip Roy Press Office (@RepChipRoy) December 14, 2022
Lee argued on the Senate floor that recent practice has been to wait to make big spending decisions until the new Congress takes over after a party loses control of the House, just as Democrats did in last month’s midterm elections.
“Since 1954, the party in control of the House of Representatives has shifted from one party to another a total of just five times,” Lee said. “And [in] exactly zero of those instances did Congress come back after that election and during a lame-duck session enact sweeping comprehensive spending legislation.”
The Republican senator went on to assert that passing the continuing resolution would “ensure that we listen to the people’s voices and that the incoming House majority has the opportunity to make the spending decisions that are in the best interests of the American people.”
We’re witnessing a conspicuous, reoccurring trend whereby leaders use the threat of a government shutdown to pressure members into voting for inflated spending provisions without time to read the bill. pic.twitter.com/M81YRoe0k8
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) December 13, 2022
Leahy, the Democrat Senate Appropriations Chairman, ultimately blocked the request — claiming that the continuing resolution was a “dereliction of our sworn duty” and “a failure for the American people.”