Two Republican senators called on their congressional colleagues Tuesday not to approve any major spending legislation until after the turn of the year, when the GOP regains control of the House of Representatives.
Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah wrote in an op-ed published Tuesday by Fox News that Republicans should only allow the passage of a continuing resolution that “maintains current federal spending levels – and not a penny more – until a new Congress begins.”
“Now, with the government funding deadline just days away and the start of a new Republican majority in the House coming in mere weeks, we again demand fiscal responsibility and urge our colleagues to stand strong in opposing the Pelosi-Schumer spending bill,” Scott and Lee wrote.
“For nearly two years, we’ve seen the devastating impact of total Democrat control in Washington and heard from countless families in our states about the pain it’s causing them at home and in their businesses,” they continued.
“That’s why the American people sent an unmistakable message in the November midterm elections, making clear that they want a Republican-led House to serve as a check on the unfettered spending of the current Democrat-controlled Congress,” they said.
Republicans gained a narrow majority in the House in the Nov. 8 midterm elections and will take control when the new Congress convenes on Jan. 3, although Democrats retained their power in the Senate.
The senators noted that the national debt has soared to $31 trillion, that the inflation rate is the highest its been in 40 years, and that Democrats want to spend $80 billion to hire 87,000 IRS agents “to target working families and small businesses.”
At the same time, there were more than 2 million illegal crossings at the southern border in fiscal year 2022, and large amounts of drugs, including highly lethal fentanyl, continue to be smuggled into the United States.
“Given these Democrat ’achievements,’ it would be a blatant dereliction of our duty for Senate Republicans to allow Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to ram through a so-called ’omnibus’ bill – which would fund the entirety of the Pelosi-Schumer spending agenda through most of next year,” the senators said.
The House and Senate are set to approve a short-term spending bill this week that would keep the government operating for an additional seven days — giving lawmakers until 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 23 to avert a partial shutdown.
On Monday, Schumer described the talks over a so-called omnibus package that would fund the government through Sept. 30 of next year as “positive and productive conversations, enough that both sides are moving forward to reach a deal, even if it’s not going to be everything both sides want.”
The two sides are at odds over the amount of defense and non-defense spending in the plan, with Republicans arguing that Democrats have secured funds for health care and environmental initiatives through their majorities in Congress.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch Connell (R-Ky.) said Monday that the National Defense Authorization Act for 2023, which sets Defense Department funding priorities, must remain at levels contained in the bill passed by the House last week — about $858 billion — without adding extra funding for domestic programs.
Scott and Lee also argued that the process for passing the spending bill is all wrong.
“It’s also worth repeating our total rejection of the failed and ridiculous thinking here in Washington that the only way to get some things done is to shove them into a giant spending bill negotiated in secret and pass it before anyone has time to read it. That’s not how any family or business operates,” the two said.
“In the real world, you make plans, meet deadlines and live within your means because failing to do those things means failing to survive and prosper. Congress should be treated no differently,” they continued.
“Washington has been broken and unaccountable for too long. Congress should pass a funding bill that balances the budget and do so on time. That’s not too much to ask – it should be the bare minimum. Unless we stand up now, the reckless inflation-fueling spending will only get worse.”