Politics

Growing chorus of Senate Republicans to oppose short-term spending bill

Chris Moody Contributor
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Another short-term budget resolution to fund the government is expected to pass the House Tuesday, but support among Senate Republicans is waning, with many promising that this will be the last time they’ll offer leadership their support until they come up with a long-term solution.

“I think Congress has one CR left in it,” Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois said Monday, referring to the latest “continuing resolution” (CR) proposal that would fund the government for another three weeks.

Since Congress failed to agree to a budget last year, the federal government has been running on a series of short-term resolutions since 2010. The House and Senate are currently debating a bill to fund the government through this fiscal year, but in the meantime, they are using quick extensions to buy more time to negotiate.

But Republicans in the Senate said this week that their appetite for short-term extensions is running thin.

Republican Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky will vote against the bill. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said as late as Tuesday that he isn’t ruling it out either.

That still leaves some room for it to get it through the Senate, but hardly anyone in the chamber is happy about it, especially since the only alternative would be a government shutdown.

“The idea of doing this every three weeks doesn’t appeal to me,” said South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. “I’d be willing to do it one more time.”

“Patience is running out,” warned Nebraska Republican Sen. Mike Johanns. “I would anticipate this one will get enough votes, but there’s a point where that’s going to run out of steam, and we’re going to figure something out permanently.”

The reasons for the opposition varies, but the frustration runs across party lines. Conservatives in the Republican caucus argue that the bill doesn’t include enough spending cuts and are angry that funding for the health care law and groups like Planned Parenthood remains in the short term bills. Others, including House and Senate Democrats, say that funding the government in three-week spurts creates uncertainty and harms jobs growth. Some conservative groups, primarily the Heritage Foundation and the Club for Growth, are actively pushing Republicans to vote ‘no’ as well.

“What the American people are looking for is the idea of certainty, and what we’ve created here is this aura of uncertainty, and with the constant cloud hanging out here in the future that they continue to project that they will shut down the government,” said Connecticut Democrat Rep. John Larson.

Despite the opposition, Republican House leaders said they expect the resolution to pass. But there is little doubt that frustration is growing, which will force both parties to finally find an agreement on spending within the next month.

Alex Brown contributed to this report.

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