Senate GOP leaders do not want to take up omnibus bill until next year

Chris Moody Contributor
Font Size:

In reaction to the Senate Democrats’ release of a 1,900 page, $1.1 trillion budget proposal, Republican leaders announced they will not support the measure if it is brought to the floor this year, citing concerns with the size, cost and limited time for debate.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would rather pass a short-term spending patch to fund the government instead of jamming through the omnibus bill before Christmas. Although both parties have worked together throughout the year to write the spending measure, today was the first time that most policymakers saw it in completion. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Tuesday that he wants it passed before the next Congress begins on Jan. 5.

McConnell compared the effort by Senate Democrats to pass the bill over the next few weeks to the procedure used to get the health care bill on the Senate floor on Christmas Eve last year and called for a Continuing Resolution that will fund the government until February so that the body will have more time to examine the omnibus spending bill next year.

“Where we are is eerily reminiscent of last year. It was December. There was either snow on the ground or snow was on the way. And all of the sudden we had, in that case a 2,700 page bill that no one had seen, and we were trying to jam it through the Senate,” McConnell said. “Fast forward a year. It’s cold outside. Snow is on the way. And we have another, in this case, almost 2,000 page bill that no one has seen, at least on my side of the aisle.”

Passed annually, the omnibus bill allocates funding for all parts of the federal budget. Unless Congress passes short-term measures to fund the government, a failure to pass the omnibus would result in a government shutdown.

“This bill should not go forward,” McConnell said. “It’s completely and totally inappropriate to wrap all of this up into a 2,000 bill and try to pass this a week before Christmas.”

Despite the rebuke from GOP leadership, and handful of Senate Republicans said Tuesday that they are considering supporting the bill.

UPDATE: House Republican leaders aren’t too keen on the proposal either, and called on their colleagues in the Senate to oppose it.

“This bill represents exactly what the American people have rejected: more spending, more earmarks, and more big government. Republicans strongly oppose this last-ditch spending spree, a smack in the face to taxpayers at a time when we’re borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend,” said incoming House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio in a statement. “Instead of making reckless spending decisions in the waning days of the lame-duck session, Senate Democrats should stand down so we can get to work on cleaning up Washington’s fiscal mess.”

Email Chris Moody and follow him on Twitter