Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain excoriated his conservative Republican colleagues Tuesday on the Senate floor for planning to vote against the House-passed budget deal, claiming their opposition “lacks some intellectual integrity.”
The budget agreement cleared a key procedural block Tuesday morning, after the Senate voted 66-33 to end debate on the bill. Twelve Republican senators joined Democrats in supporting the move, but 33 others — mostly fiscal conservatives — voted against advancing the bill and are expected to reject the deal itself later this week. That didn’t sit well with Sen. McCain.
“I understand that there are many of my colleagues on this side of the aisle that are very unhappy with this deal and intend to vote against it,” he said. “My only response to that is I respect their vote, but I’d like to know what we do in order to avoid another shutdown of the government.”
“The American people steadfastly reject a shutdown of the government,” he declared, his voice rising. “So I have concerns about the budget deal. Everybody, I think, does because the nature of the way business is done. But to somehow vote against it without an alternative to keep the budget — keep the government from shutting down, then I think lacks some intellectual integrity.”
McCain noted that he would be supporting the budget deal because it is important to him that Congress both avert another government shutdown and prevent further defense spending cuts scheduled to hit under the sequester.
Despite Republican opposition, the agreement is now nearly certain to pass sometime this week.