Two Republicans senators have blasted fellow party members for voting to approve the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill last week to avert a government shutdown.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) slammed Senate GOP leadership for not waiting until the new year when Republicans will assume control of the House of Representatives and have more leverage to negotiate.

“The arrogance of our [Senate GOP] leadership who said, ‘We know better than House members. We’re going to pass this. We’ll get religion next year when it comes to fiscal sanity,’” he told John Catsimatidis in an interview that aired on his WABC 770 AM radio show on Sunday.

“I’m not buying it. Unfortunately, our supporters aren’t going to buy it either.”

Johnson — who voted against the massive spending package last Thursday — was among the Senate Republicans who had urged Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to delay the voting on the bill.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who like Johnson was among the 29 Republicans voting against it, also blamed McConnell other GOP leaders in the chamber for caving. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The Senators blasted Mitch McConnell.
Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA

“Our party leadership turned on Republican voters, turned on the Republican base, turned on most Republican senators,” Lee told Catsimatidis. “It has happened before, but this is one too many times. For me, this is the final straw.”

“As Republicans scratch their heads over their disappointing midterms, they ought to consider that voters don’t see much of a defining difference with Democrats,” he added.

While Republicans gained a narrow majority in the House in the Nov. 8 midterm elections, Democrats retained control of the Senate. ​​

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is in the running to become speaker, ​had been lobbying for stopgap funding to continue until Jan. 3 when Republican lawmakers take control of the chamber. 

After it cleared the House in a largely party line 225-201 vote last Friday, McCarthy assailed Democrats for pushing through the more than 4,000 page bill, calling it one of the “most shameful acts I’ve seen in this body.”

Johnson also criticized the Senate Republicans who voted for the omnibus bill because it contained $858 billion in defense spending — a 9.7% increase from the year before.

The House and the Senate approved a $1.7 trillion spending package last week.
The House and the Senate approved a $1.7 trillion spending package last week.
Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

“What was so disconcerting was the whistling-past-the-graveyard nature of the debate,” he told Catsimatidis. “We are over $31 trillion in debt. There is no end in sight. The only rationale for Republicans to vote for this … is that we got what we wanted in defense spending … [However] because of the 40-year-high inflation, the $858 billion they secured in this omnibus is really only worth $750 billion in pre-Biden administration dollars​.”



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