Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Tuesday joined 13 Republicans who vowed to tank any priorities of GOP senators who vote for the 4,155 page omnibus bill that was negotiated with Democrats before a new Republican majority could take control of the House.
Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Scott Perry (R-PA), and Andy Biggs (R-AZ), along with nine other conservatives House members, signed a letter Tuesday promising to block any priorities of the Republican senators who rushed to support the omnibus deal with Democrats just days before Congress leaves town for Christmas.
“At the very least, due respect for Americans who elected would call for not passing a ‘lame duck’ bill just days before members fly home for Christmas and two weeks before a new Republican majority is sworn in for the 118th Congress,” the conservative members wrote. “Senate Republicans have 41 votes necessary to stop this and should do so now.”
The 13 conservatives said they oppose the bill because the legislation continues the status quo in Washington, DC, by “spend[ing] money we do not have” while the nation is $31 trillion in debt.
“We are obliged to inform you that if any omnibus passes in the remaining days of this Congress, we will oppose and whip opposition to any legislation priority of those senators who vote for this bill – including the Republican leader,” the members threatened.
After the letter was released, McCarthy supported the initiative. “Agreed,” McCarthy said 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.”
At least one Republican senator agrees with the 14 House members. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) tweeted late Monday saying Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “should not assume that every senator will agree to facilitate their efforts to ram this through.”
“This bill has been written in large measure by two retiring senators, one Republican and one Democrat,” Lee continued. “Why should we move heaven and earth trying to force their priorities on the very people they keep in the dark—all according to two senators’ contrived, manipulative timeline?”
McConnell has reportedly praised the massive omnibus spending spree as a victory for establishment Republicans. McConnell, dubbing himself the “grim reaper,” had previously promised he would oppose spending for “liberal domestic priorities.”
“If I’m still the majority leader of the Senate after next year, none of those things are going to pass the Senate,” McConnell said in April 2019. “They won’t even be voted on. So think of me as the Grim Reaper: the guy who is going to make sure that socialism doesn’t land on the president’s desk.”
But since McConnell has enabled much of the Democrat agenda the past two years—and if McCarthy actually gets the speaker’s gavel and follows through on this threat—maybe McCarthy deserves the moniker McConnell came up with for himself after all.
The omnibus bill includes $773 billion in domestic spending with $5 billion worth of earmarks and $45 billion for Ukraine’s border defense. The White House only asked for $37 billion for that item, far less than McConnell and Democrats have budgeted in the bill.