Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), fresh off an attention-grabbing mini-filibuster earlier this week, objected Thursday to Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) attempt to bring a resolutions on Libya to the floor.
Johnson and a group of other Republicans took to the floor to protest considering any bill other than legislation addressing the deficit. Fellow freshmen Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), as well as several other veteran Members, joined Johnson on the floor to call on Congress to get serious about the budget debate. The freshmen were also behind the GOP’s successful Wednesday push to cancel the July Fourth recess.
But more senior Members joined in objecting to considering the resolution, which would grant Congress’ approval for U.S. involvement in the Libyan conflict.
“Why are we continuing to move to every other issue under the sun?” said Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who added that while it was important the Senate would be in session next week, it would mean nothing if lawmakers weren’t talking about the deficit.
Johnson’s objection means Reid will likely have to use a time-consuming procedural maneuver to overcome the blockade. Reid is likely to file a motion to limit debate, or invoke cloture, Thursday night, aides said. That means the Senate’s first vote back Tuesday night will be an important one requiring the presence of Members who might otherwise have been slow to return.
In his remarks, Johnson jabbed at President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats, who have centered their arguments for raising revenues around those that affect the wealthy, such as breaks on corporate jet taxes.
“Class warfare does not work — it does nothing to help improve our economy,” Johnson said.