After House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to not give in to more Democrat spending, Senate Republicans are jumping in on the call to pump the brakes.
Democrats are urging McConnell to back a full omnibus spending package before the deadline on the current continuing resolution, but Senate Republicans are threatening to drag out the debate potentially right up until Christmas, The Hill reported.
The reelection of Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., on Tuesday night gives Democrats a 51-49 majority in the Senate come January, but Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is warning Republicans should not give up leverage and relent for a Democrat-desired omnibus during the lame-duck session.
"With regard to the spending bill, it's important to remember that since 1994 we've seen control of the House of Representatives shift from one party to another four times since 1994," Lee told The Hill. "In each of those instances, there was no omnibus passed by Congress following the election leading to that shift. It didn't happen because it shouldn't happen.
"The voters have spoken and [when] control of the House of Representatives shifts, there's an understandable desire on part of the incoming members and especially on the part of those who elected them [that] you're not going to have spending decisions by the outgoing Congress that was just voted out of office."
Democrats' urging Republicans on more massive spending initiatives "has got to stop," according to National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Rick Scott, R-Fla.
One of the most strict fiscal conservatives in Congress, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Congress has "abdicated our duty" on responsible use of the "power of the purse."
"We abdicated by letting all the spending be thrown into one bill; this is going to happen again," Paul told The Hill. "Dec. 16, Dec. 18, we're going to get a 3,000-page bill that will be given to us an hour or two before [coming to the floor]. No one will read it, no one will know what [is in it], but what is a guarantee is that it will add over $1 trillion in debt next year."
Lee and Paul are two GOP senators who can force debate on spending, ostensibly blocking the quick passage of more Democrat spending initiatives before the House GOP majority takes over in January.
"I'm not going to rule that out," Lee told The Hill. "I usually don't signal in advance precise procedural strategies that I might deploy, but I'm not going to rule that one out."
Paul has been a stickler for forcing through spending bills before.
"Some of that depends on where we are in the whole debate process, but I'm not very happy about it and someone needs to stand up and say this is a terrible way to run government," Paul told The Hill. "This is why we have $31 trillion debt.
"It's inexcusable to have 3,000-page bills dropped on our desk that nobody has time to read that don't go through a budgetary process or appropriations process."
Lee, Scott and Paul joined Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Mike Braun, R-Ind., on a letter to McConnell to "express our strong opposition" passing spending plans desired by outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., "in the lame-duck."
"For the Senate to ram through a so-called 'omnibus' bill — which would fund the entirety of the Pelosi-Schumer spending agenda through most of next year — would utterly disempower the new Republican House from enacting our shared priorities," the letter read.
McConnell himself noted there is no agreement on the "top-line number" of the spending bill.
Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said he is "probably $25 billion, $26 billion" apart in negotiations with Chair Sen. Patrick Leahy, I-Vt., according to The Hill.
"That's a lot of money," Shelby told The Hill. "It's something we maybe could work to yes on. I hope we could. I just talked to Leahy."
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