Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, told Newsmax on Wednesday that the "best path forward" through the current budget crisis that threatens to shut down the federal government is for House Republicans to "pass something."
"I think the best path forward for Republicans right now is for the House to pass something perhaps built on the chassis of what they tried to pass but failed within the last couple of days," Lee said during an appearance on "Wake Up America." "Something that would bring about a short-term extension on government funding and do so with modest gains for Republicans. That would give us time, and the House of Representatives time, to pass more of the itemized appropriations bills. There are 12 categories through which government is funded. They've only passed one of the 12."
"We've voted to proceed to the first of those … covering military construction and veterans benefits," he continued. "But we need more of those from the House of Representatives. It's important for all Republicans for the House to get something passed so that the Senate can have time to process those things and so that Republican senators can fight for Republican priorities in the spending process over here. I wish that bill that they put up on the floor yesterday had passed the House. I'm still guardedly optimistic that they can pass something else based on that model."
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told his Republican conference on Monday that they should be prepared to stay through the coming weekend to pass a stopgap measure aimed at keeping the government funded and operating past the Sept. 30 deadline.
Facing resistance from the conservative faction within his Republican House majority and racing against the clock, McCarthy has warned his party that a government shutdown could backfire on the GOP politically.
Lee also commented on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's calls for more American aid and said that the U.S. needs to get its own financial house in order before it can consider earmarking more funding for the Ukraine war, now heading into its second year.
"Look, we've spent an enormous amount of money there, and this is money that's going to an effort that involves a proxy war against a nuclear-armed power," he said. "I think we have to tread very carefully when headed in that direction. We are, in the meantime, now crossing the $33 trillion debt threshold. This is very significant. I think we need to be focused on our priorities right here in America right now, rather than on somebody else's war in a different part of the world where there is a proxy war against a nuclear power."
"These are dangerous times and I think we've borne far more than our fair share," he added. "We shouldn't be spending another dime there until our NATO allies in Europe have themselves spent a corresponding percentage of their GDP."
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Nicole Wells ✉
Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.
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