The Senate passed a massive $1.3 trillion spending bill early Friday morning that funds the government through September after taking 11 hours to consider the 2,234-page bill.
The funding bill and its inclusions attracted ire from both parties, but Republicans in the majority took issue with both the substance and the process of the legislation. (RELATED: Here Is What Is In The Massive $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill)
“Is it perfect? No. Is it exactly what we asked for in the budget? No. Were we ever going to get that? No. That’s not how the process works,” Office of Management and Budget chief Mick Mulvaney said. “This is what a bill looks like when you have 60 votes in the Senate and the Democrats get a chance to take their pound of flesh.”
The bill hits few of President Donald Trump’s priorities and fails to address a number of Republican positions. The bill includes $1.5 billion for structures along the border with Mexico, but only on projects that have already been started. Trump’s wall prototypes will have to wait for another funding bill.
The full text was released late Wednesday, giving members of the House around 20 hours to look it over before passing it, and delivered to the Senate just before noon Thursday.
“There’s no way humanly possible to read 2,232 pages,” Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky said, according to the Washington Post. “Sometimes they jam you, but they pretend to give you three days to read it. All the veneer is off now.”
By the time the bill got to the Senate, more conservative members of the upper chamber voiced their complaints as well. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who caused his own short shutdown in February, made a splash online by live-tweeting the printing and reading of the bill.
Well here it is, all 2,232 budget-busting pages. The House already started votes on it. The Senate is expected to soon. No one has read it. Congress is broken… pic.twitter.com/izvJlUEgUM
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 22, 2018
“This could have been written by president [Barack] Obama and liberal Democrats,” Paul said in an interview on Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
The bill’s generous spending increases for many government agencies, including the Department of Defense, irked other Republicans who have campaigned about irresponsible spending, the ballooning size of the federal government and wasteful agency projects.
“I don’t understand why when President Obama does what we’re about to do, it’s bad for the country, but when we do it, it’s good for the country,” Republican Sen. John Neely Kennedy of Louisiana said. “This bill is going to need a lot of Democratic support, and I suspect it’ll get it. They’re just as happy as kids at Christmas.”
Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who will retire after his term expires in January, took the final objection to the bill and held a frank but unorthodox discussion leading up to the final vote which started around 12:00 a.m.
“Could you explain to us what has occurred over the last 11 hours that keeps us here voting on a bill that we all know is going to pass, regardless of how we vote on it, that has kept us from just going ahead and voting?” Corker said. “And could we in the future possibly try to resolve these things at a decent hour or come back the next morning and vote?”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell replied that he was pleased to be able to get to the vote after a long day of negotiating with his own party. “l responsibility is begging, pleading, and cajoling,” McConnell said. “I have been in continuous discussions, shall I say, with several of our members who were legitimately unhappy about one aspect or another… I must say after a long and intense day of such discussions with several of our members who had legitimate concerns, I’m relieved rather than depressed that we might be able to actually finish tonight.”
Corker pointed out that many Senators have flights scheduled back to their home districts Friday, and so he ceased his objection.
As it was with the House vote on the bill, more Republicans in the Senate voted against the measure than Democrats,with 23 Republicans, eight Democrats and Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders voting nay.
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