Republicans in the Senate sent a message to their House counterparts who are vowing to block the legislation of any Republican who votes for the omnibus budget bill: we don’t care.
On Monday, thirteen Republican current lawmakers and future lawmakers sent a letter demanding that any legislative priority supported by a Republican senator who backs the $1.7 trillion year-end funding measure be blocked in the 118th Congress.
Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the House minority leader, endorsed the letter on Tuesday as he works to secure enough votes to be elected speaker. Dismissal and even some scorn met that message from across the Capitol.
As the speaker put it, “It’s not [good]. Do you take me seriously, like, at all? “If you stop and think about what they’re advocating, it flies in the face of maturity and the ability to lead,” said Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who plans to vote against the omnibus budget package.
This kind of bluster and immaturity does little to inspire faith in their leadership skills. I hope this doesn’t hurt Kevin’s chances of being elected Speaker. I really want him to be elected Speaker. I’d want for him to be Speaker, but this isn’t exactly a stellar introduction to leadership.
Cramer, a former senator, noted that the 13 defecting Republicans in the House have put the Republican leader in a “terrible spot.” Democrats and Republicans worked together to craft a $1.7 trillion plan that will finance the government through the end of fiscal 2023, and the Senate announced it early Tuesday morning.
The current stopgap measure that has kept the government open for the past week will end at midnight on Friday. Reps. Andy Biggs (Arizona), Matt Rosendale (Montana), Matt Gaetz (Florida), Ralph Norman (South Carolina), and Bob Good (Iowa) are among the signatories who have publicly stated or strongly hinted that they will not support McCarthy for Speaker (Va.).
Further, the letter read, “we are compelled to inform you that if any omnibus passes in the remaining days of this Congress, we will oppose and whip opposition to any legislative priority of those senators who vote for this package,” including the Republican leader.
“We will reject any rule, any consent request, suspension voice vote, or roll call vote of any such Senate bill and otherwise do all in our ability to impede even the slightest legislative and policy endeavors of those senators,” they said.
McCarthy expressed his satisfaction on Twitter on Tuesday. “Agreed. But there’s no need to whip them into line; if this nearly $2T behemoth is allowed to move through over our objections and the will of the American people, their proposals will be dead on arrival in the House when I’m Speaker.
As Tuesday progressed, the office of House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) put out a note urging a “no” vote on the budget bill. The leading Republicans in the Senate didn’t seem concerned about the threat made by the 13 senators.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), an ally of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and a “yes” vote for the omnibus, said, “That doesn’t sound like a prescription for working together in the best interest of the country, so I think this is just words uttered during the heat of emotion.”
In the end, I’m hoping that cooler heads will win out. Republican West Virginia senator Shelley Moore Capito called the letter “an idle threat.” Capito argued that the foundation of democracy is a recognition that “we all have various reasons for making different votes, whether it be who we represent, what lens we’re seeing through.”
“I hope Kevin is the Speaker because I think they need to make that decision swiftly.” It’s “quite evident” that the letter and McCarthy’s backing are a result of the contest for Speaker, said Capito, the newly appointed No. 5 member of the Senate GOP leadership.
It’s unclear whether or not this threat will carry any weight in Congress. Top Senate Republicans are still optimistic that McCarthy will be successful despite the letter. Although McCarthy has thrown several jabs at the Senate GOP leader in recent weeks.
McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that he is “pushing” for the California Republican to win the top job. Cramer predicted that McCarthy would succeed him as Speaker of the House. I truly pray he doesn’t come to deeply regret his decision in the future.
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