Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell joined with 21 other Republican senators Thursday to pass a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for another week in hopes that a longer-term spending deal can be finalized in that time.
McConnell said that was the last extension he’d support, leaving negotiators with two options: Find a solution in the next seven days, or put forward a shorter-term deal for a vote.
“That is the deadline, and those are the two options,” he told The Washington Post this week.
In addition to McConnell, the Republican senators who voted to support the continuing resolution were Sens. John Boozman of Arkansas, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, John Thune of South Dakota, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Todd Young of Indiana.
The number of Republicans voting in favor of the resolution exceeded the number voting against, which was 19. Nine Republican senators did not vote. (You can read the complete list on the Senate’s website.)
According to Newsweek, a deal on a final spending measure was “very close,” but some details around “defense and domestic spending” remain to be worked out.
“If a truly bipartisan full-year bill without poison pills is ready for final Senate passage by late next week, then I’ll support it — for our armed forces particularly,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday, according to the outlet. “Otherwise, we’ll be passing a short-term continuing resolution into the new year.”
Some Republicans, especially in the House where Republicans will take control next month and have more power to set the agenda for spending, expressed anger at McConnell’s position.
California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who appears to be in the lead for the House speakership for the 118th Congress, told Fox News host Laura Ingraham last week that Republicans negotiating the larger spending bill were “wrong.”
“Does that include McConnell?” Ingraham asked.
“Yes,” McCarthy responded. “Why would you want to work on anything if we have the gavel inside Congress?”
“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?” McCarthy told Sean Hannity on Tuesday, The Hill noted. “We wouldn’t be talking about adding more money. We’d talk about decreasing.”
Texas Rep. Chip Roy’s office tweeted a video of Roy implying that for McConnell to continue to support the so-called omnibus bill negotiations was tantamount to dereliction of duty.
“I’m looking at Mitch McConnell when I say this:
“DO YOUR JOB, @LeaderMcConnell! Do your job and follow the wishes of the American people who gave a majority to Republicans in the House of Representatives”
“And let’s STOP this bill”
More on Dems’ last-minute spending spree: pic.twitter.com/Zv0Igmk7G3
— Rep. Chip Roy Press Office (@RepChipRoy) December 14, 2022
Two unnamed Republican senators told The Hill that McCarthy actually wants the bill passed because he knows how difficult it will be trying to negotiation with both conservative Republican representatives and Democrats in the House to get a majority to pass any spending legislation early next year. However, to get the votes he needs to win the speakership, he has to amp up his rhetoric against McConnell.
“He needs votes for the speaker’s job but I’m told he wants it passed,” one senator said, according to The Hill. “I just can’t believe he wants all these bills piled in his lap in February.”
“Everything I know is that McCarthy is privately cheering us on to get it done but he’s in this position of trying to get the votes for speaker,” said the other.
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