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Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told the media on Tuesday that he is “pulling” for Rep. Kevin McCarthy to be elected speaker of the House in the next Congress, despite disagreeing on whether to pass the omnibus spending bill before the end of the year. 

“Absolutely, I’m pulling for Kevin. I hope he makes it,” McConnell told reporters when asked if he supported the House minority leader’s speakership bid. 

McCarthy on Tuesday harshly criticized Senate Republicans, including McConnell, who support passing the $1.7 trillion spending package. 

“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,” McCarthy wrote in a Twitter post, referencing Senate Republicans who pushed for passage of the spending legislation. 

McConnell has countered that the negotiated omnibus bill contains “critical” spending increases for defense programs while cuts for nondefense spending.
Sen. Mitch McConnell is hoping that Rep. Kevin McCarthy will become the House Majority Leader.
Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

McCarthy, who needs the support of 218 House lawmakers to be elected speaker next month when the new House GOP majority convenes, has said he preferred Senate Republicans to push for a stopgap spending measure. 

“They’re trying to jam us right before Christmas. Why would you ever move forward when there’s a change in power in 21 days where Republicans would have a stronger hand? We wouldn’t be talking about adding more money, we’d be talking about decreasing,” McCarthy told Fox News’s Sean Hannity last week. 

McConnell has countered that the negotiated omnibus bill contains “critical” spending increases for defense programs while cuts for nondefense spending.

McCarthy needs the support of 218 House lawmakers to be elected speaker next month when the new House GOP majority convenes.
McCarthy on Tuesday harshly criticized Senate Republicans, including McConnell, who support passing the $1.7 trillion spending package. 
Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

“This omnibus bill that will be on the floor provides a real-dollar increase for the defense baseline and a real-dollar cut for the nondefense baseline, if you exclude veterans,” he said Tuesday.

“That is absolutely critical in breaking the pattern we’ve had in the past when we’ve ended up in one of these situations where every time Republicans tried to get an increase in defense, we would in effect have to pay a ransom to the Democrats on the domestic side,” McConnell added.

The omnibus bill passed a procedural vote in the Senate on Tuesday and may be approved on Wednesday.



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