Four Senate Republicans urged Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday to play hardball on government spending and resist a yearlong deal that would extend far beyond the GOP takeover of the House in January.
Congress must pass a new spending plan by Dec. 16 to avoid a government shutdown. Party leaders are eyeing a one-year “omnibus” funding package.
Yet in a formal letter, the GOP quartet told Mr. McConnell that a lengthy deal would violate the will of midterm voters who flipped the House into the red column.
“Using the Democratic process, millions of Americans sent a message — they want divided power in Washington to curb the worst excesses of both parties. The undersigned stand with the voters,” wrote Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana, Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rick Scott of Florida. “We believe it would be both imprudent, and a reflection of poor leadership, for Republicans to ignore the will of the American people and rubber stamp an omnibus spending bill that funds ten more months of President Biden’s agenda without any check on his reckless policies that have led to a 40-year high in inflation.”
Mr. McConnell on Tuesday said there is “widespread agreement” on passing an omnibus funding agreement instead of kicking the can into the start of the new Congress. For one thing, House Republicans will be navigating a narrow majority.
The parties are still trying to figure out what would be in or out of a big funding deal. Tough negotiations could force Congress to pass an extension around Dec. 16 and work up to the Christmas break.
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Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer acknowledged the challenges Wednesday but said it is important to land a long-term deal.
“Speaking with Leader McConnell, we both believe that we must do everything possible to pass a yearlong funding package,” the New York Democrat said. “And we both prefer an omnibus though we have different views on what should be in it, and we do need to come together on those. But both Leader McConnell and I have said that an omnibus is the best way for supporting our troops, supporting our allies in Ukraine, and keeping Americans safe at home and abroad.”
Dissenting Senate Republicans said Mr. McConnell needs to stay the course and refuse any deal that extends well beyond the start of the new Congress.
“Now is the time for Republicans to get serious about leading America towards a better future,” they told Mr. McConnell. “No additional spending, no additional policy priorities should be included. Any urgent items that require the Senate’s attention should be considered separately and under their own terms.”