GOP senators blast Republican leadership over massive spending bill

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Republican Sens. Ron Johnson and Mike Lee criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans on Sunday for joining with Democrats to pass a $1.7 trillion year-end spending bill despite the objections of House Republicans.

“Our party leadership turned on Republican voters, turned on the Republican base, turned on most Republican senators,” Mr. Lee, Utah Republican, told “The Cats Roundtable” host John Catsimatidis on WABC radio in New York. “It has happened before, but this is one too many times. For me, this is the final straw.”

Mr. Lee said that things are “gonna have to be very, very different” when lawmakers return next year.

One of the Utah Republican’s amendments, on which lawmakers voted Friday, would have maintained the main vestige of any control the U.S. has had over the southern border.

“Title 42 is expiring. And this [amendment] would have extended it at least until the end of the fiscal year,” he said of the public health law that makes it easy to deport illegal immigrants during times of public health emergencies. 

“We had the votes to get it … for eight glorious minutes,” he said.

Ultimately, Sens. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, and Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona independent who caucuses with the Democrats, switched their votes, and the amendment failed.

Mr. Johnson ridiculed Republican colleagues who voted for the bill and praised its passage.

“To declare that a victory, to say that’s a win, that’s like a football team that just lost the game 60 to 0, and they kick a field goal in the waning seconds and say the field goal is a big win,” Mr. Johnson said on the radio show. “No, we just got our you-know-whats handed to us.”

Mr. Johnson pointed out that Democrats got trillions of dollars of spending and “Republicans aren’t helping matters by voting for more deficit spending.”

Other GOP senators blasted fellow Republicans over the $1.7 trillion spending package.

“I attempted to hold both parties accountable by forcing votes on these rules but per usual, a majority in the Senate – including Republicans – chose to run up the debt, ignore our own budget rules, and abuse your tax dollars,” tweeted Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican. “The American people don’t want this.”

Sen. Rick Scott, Florida Republican, tweeted that he voted against the “$1.7 TRILLION spending bill because I promised Florida families I’d fight every day to make Washington work for them.” 

He added that “this reckless inflation bomb is a disaster for our economy and a slap in the face to Floridians struggling to make ends meet.”

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