Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., told Newsmax on Tuesday the ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was "incredibly painful" and said McCarthy's Republican opponents were asking him to do things in nine months that had not been accomplished in decades.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and seven other Republicans voted with Democrats to remove McCarthy as speaker earlier in the day. The "motion to vacate" was sparked by McCarthy working with Democrats over the weekend to pass a continuing resolution to keep the federal government running.
"We've got this rapidly expanding debt, rapidly increasing problems on the border," Lankford told "Rob Schmitt Tonight." "All these things that have not been done, and my concern is that a group of folks in the House wanted to say it all has to get solved right now.
"It hasn't gotten solved in 30 years, but [McCarthy must] solve it in the next nine months, and if you don't solve it nine months then you're out, we're going to find somebody else to be able to do it. The time expectation of how things are going to move is not realistic, and that is frustrating."
According to the Pew Research Center, Congress has passed all of its appropriation bills on time just four times since the 1974 Congressional Budget Act was passed: in 1977, 1989, 1995, and 1997. Lankford, who served four years in the House from 2011 to 2015, said it was unrealistic for McCarthy's Republican detractors to expect him to get that accomplished in his first nine months as speaker.
"Kevin came in. He's got to get that done in nine months what hasn't been done five times in [nearly 50] years is unrealistic," Lankford said. "The challenge now is … we have another [government] shutdown looming in 43 days, we have no speaker, which means you have no staff around the speaker. You have no one driving the initial plan, and the clock is ticking on very complicated issues."
Lankford said a big problem is fitting all the appropriation bills in one calendar year. He said each bill often takes two weeks for the Senate to approve. With 12 bills, that's 24 weeks in which the Senate can't work on anything else.
"You've got to deal with realistic amount of time to be able to get through committee, to be able to get through the process and to be able to get it done," Lankford said. "There is real work that has been done to be able to reform the process, but we have to reform the process. If we're going to get a better product is and just say we're going to make this process work. This process hasn't worked, but four times in [nearly 50] years."
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