Rick Scott revolts against McConnell over spending bill as Dec. 16 shutdown looms

Mitch McConnell, Rick Scott
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., listen to fellow Republican senators speaks during a news conference following the Republican policy luncheon meeting on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, June 7, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Rick Scott revolts against McConnell over spending bill as Dec. 16 shutdown looms

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Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) is leading a coalition of Republican senators in opposing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s agreement to pass an omnibus funding bill that is necessary to avert a government shutdown before the Dec. 16 deadline.

In a letter addressed to McConnell (R-KY) on Wednesday, a group of Republican senators led by Scott vowed to reject a government spending bill until the party takes control of the lower chamber in January. Instead, the Republicans are seeking to pass another continuing resolution that would temporarily delay the budget deadline by keeping spending levels flat.

RICK SCOTT SLAMS MCCONNELL AND GOP LEADERSHIP FOR ‘COMPROMISING OUR PRINCIPLES’

“We believe it would be both imprudent, and a reflection of poor leadership, for Republicans to ignore the will of the American people and rubber stamp an omnibus spending bill that funds ten more months of President Biden’s agenda without any check on his reckless policies that have led to a 40-year high in inflation,” the group wrote in the letter.

“Since taking office, President Biden has overseen a $4.8 trillion increase in the national deficit, costing the average American household an estimated $753 more a month. It should be up to the new Congress to set spending priorities for the remainder of this fiscal year,” they said.

The letter was signed by three other Republican senators, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Mike Braun (R-IN).

Right now, the government is funded through Dec. 16 thanks to a continuing resolution passed in September, after which the government will be forced to shut down if officials don’t reach an agreement on a budget for the next fiscal year. Lawmakers could alternatively pass another continuing resolution, giving Republicans more power over the budget once they take the House majority next year.

“We must not accept anything other than a short-term Continuing Resolution that funds the federal government until shortly after the 118th Congress is sworn in,” the GOP lawmakers wrote. “No additional spending, no additional policy priorities should be included. Any urgent items that require the Senate’s attention should be considered separately and under their own terms.”

The letter comes one day after President Joe Biden met with top congressional leaders to discuss passing an omnibus spending bill, which would combine multiple agency budget bills into one and attach various lawmaker priorities.

McConnell has indicated he would support an omnibus bill, citing “widespread agreement” that it would be a better option than passing another stopgap bill.

“If you were interested in reducing spending, probably the best way to do that would be a one-year CR. If, on the other hand, you’re concerned about the defense of our country and the funding of the Ukraine war, you are somewhat hesitant to go in that direction,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday. “I have members in a variety of different positions on this.”

“I think the way forward is to continue to discuss it and to see what’s in the best interests of the country, see how many people we can bring together on both sides of the aisle, and figure out how to finish up this year, sometime before Christmas,” he added.

The letter of opposition is Scott’s latest break from McConnell just two weeks after he challenged the Kentucky Republican for his top leadership position, marking the first contested race for a Senate leader for either party since 1996. McConnell fended off the challenge in a 37-10 vote, with one senator voting present.

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However, Scott said his failed leadership bid wouldn’t stop him from trying to reform the Republican Party, declaring that an insurgent crop of senators was already ascendant.

“The old Washington establishment Republican path of never having a vision is over. It’s dying,” Scott wrote in an exclusive op-ed for the Washington Examiner. “A new wave of bold and aggressive Republicans who will stand up and fight is demanding change from our leaders in Washington. It is happening. It will happen. Count on it.”

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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