The omnibus bill introduced Tuesday represents the final piece of two top appropriators’ legacies. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Richard Shelby (R-AL), the top lawmakers on the Senate Appropriations Committee, are retiring after decades in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the massive bill is a fitting tribute to both: “If the omnibus goes down as their final legislative contribution as senators, then I say, ‘Bravo, well done, thank you.’”
Not everyone shares that sentiment, though. Many Republicans have blasted the process — and the result.
A handful of conservative senators held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss their objections. “We deserve proper consideration and the chance to read, debate and amend - not a backroom deal. Opposing this isn’t radical: running our government like this is what’s radical,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) tweeted. “The Bible is about 1200 pages long. Could you read it 3 times before Friday?”
A day earlier, 13 House Republicans said they would retaliate against any senators who vote for the bill by opposing their legislative priorities. “We will oppose any rule, any consent request, suspension voice vote, or roll call vote of any such Senate bill, and will otherwise do anything in our power to thwart even the smallest legislative or policy efforts of those senators,” they said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is bidding to become the next speaker and had sought to delay to spending bill until after Republicans took control of the House, endorsed the letter. “Agreed,” he wrote on Twitter. “Except no need to whip—when I’m Speaker, their bills will be dead on arrival in the House if this nearly $2T monstrosity is allowed to move forward over our objections and the will of the American people.”
Some Senate Republicans said their House colleagues’ threat was a bad sign for 2023, according to The Hill. “If you just think about what they’re suggesting, it flies in the face of maturity and the ability to lead,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), who opposes the spending bill and said he hopes McCarthy becomes speaker.
And Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said: “That doesn’t sound like a recipe for working together in the best interest of the country, so I think this is just words spoken during the heat of passion.”