Only a few months into his first Senate term, Florida Republican Marco Rubio took a stand against his party’s leadership with a promise to vote against any short-term proposal to fund the government, and said members of Congress should feel “ashamed” if they fail to reach a deal on long-term spending cuts.
“I will no longer support short-term budget plans. While attempts at new spending reductions are commendable, we simply can no longer afford to nickel-and-dime our way out of the dangerous debt America has amassed,” Rubio wrote in an op-ed published on the conservative blog RedState.com Monday. “With Congress set to begin another week-long recess next week, every senator and representative should feel ashamed if they have to go home again, look their constituents in the eye, and explain why nothing is being done about our debt crisis.”
Congress has not passed a federal budget since 2009, instead choosing to fund the government through a string of short term continuing resolutions (CRs).
Republicans, who took control of the House in January, have demanded that each new CR contain spending reductions. Earlier this month, Democrats and Republicans agreed to a two-week extension with about $4 billion in cuts and House Republicans last week introduced a measure to fund the government another three weeks with $6 billion in spending reductions. In the meantime, the chambers are in negotiations with the White House to agree to a measure to fund government operations through this fiscal year, which ends in September. The House passed a measure with $61 billion in cuts, which Senate Democrats have ruled out as “draconian” and voted down last week.
Rubio let loose on the whole process, calling it “short-sighted and dangerous.”
“Running our government on the fumes of borrowed spending is unacceptable, short-sighted and dangerous,” Rubio wrote. “I commend the efforts of House and Senate Republican leaders to deal with this, but I did not come to the U.S. Senate to be part of some absurd political theater.”
Rubio’s frustration isn’t isolated. Members from both parties have criticized the use of stop-gap measures to fund the government. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer on Friday warned that he would not support another short-term measure after this week.
“You may keep passing these two weeks at a time, none of us want to shut down government,” the Maryland Democrat said. “But I will tell you that while I and some of my colleagues may vote to do this one more time, for me it’s the last time.”
Since Congress and the White House have not found common ground on a spending plan, the House and Senate will pass another short-term resolution to buy more time. It is yet to be seen, however, if congressional leaders will be able to find support for another CR before spending from the last bill runs dry Friday.