Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) denounced Democrats’ sweeping one-year omnibus spending bill introduced Tuesday, saying he will “vigorously oppose” it despite the inclusion of millions in earmarks he had requested.
McConnell called the measure by Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) “completely and totally inappropriate. ... I’m going to vote against things that could arguably benefit my state.”
McConnell likened the nearly 2,000-page bill — and its introduction so close to Christmas — to last year’s health care debate, when Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had a “2,700-page bill that no one had seen and [was] trying to jam it through the Senate,” he said.
“The full Senate has had no input in this bill whatsoever,” he added. “This is exactly what the American people said Nov. 2 they didn’t want us to do.”
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) threatened to force a full reading of the bill on the Senate floor, a process that could take a full day and eat up valuable legislative time.
“Democrats haven’t given Republicans or the American people time to read the bill, but I’ll join with other Republican colleagues to force them to read it on the Senate floor,” he said in a statement.
McConnell also appeared to throw cold water on Democrats’ claims that members of the Appropriations Committee had an informal agreement to vote for the omnibus measure when it reaches the Senate floor in order to block a potential GOP filibuster.
“I’m vigorously in opposition to it. And most of the members of the committee are as well,” he said.
Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) was equally harsh, accusing Reid of disrespecting Christians by threatening to keep the Senate in session through next week to finish work on the omnibus and other measures.
Reid’s schedule would result in “disrespecting one of the two holiest holidays for Christians,” Kyl said.
Reid spokesman Rodell Mollineau dismissed Republicans’ anger as little more than political posturing.
“Outraged Senate Republicans must have forgotten that spending requests have been on line for six months, this bill was put together in bipartisan fashion by Republican and Democratic appropriators, and that government-directed spending has decreased by 75 percent since Democrats took control of the Senate. They seem to have also forgotten that it was Democrats who put a stop to the earmark abuse that festered while Republicans controlled the White House and Congress for six years,” Mollineau said in a statement.
“But I’m sure they won’t forget to rush out to their local press to claim credit for the earmarks in their state, attending as many ground breaking and ribbon cuttings as they can. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds,” he added.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.