Senate Republicans have been expressing outrage over the $1.1 trillion allotted to the government in the omnibus spending bill, but the number should not come as a surprise.
In January, Republicans proposed a $1.1 trillion cap for the 2011 fiscal year to fight “Washington’s voracious appetite for spending.” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) reminded them of the fact on the Senate floor Thursday, saying it’s true there is “$1.1 trillion in this bill” but “that’s exactly the amount that they asked for.”
“Senator McConnell came to the Senate Appropriations Committee and said Republicans will not support this bill unless you bring the spending down to $1.108 trillion,” he continued. “That is exactly what we bring down to the floor to be considered.”
“So to stand back in horror and look at $1.1 trillion and say where did this figure come from, it came from Senator Mitch McConnell in a motion he made before the Senate Appropriations Committee. It’s the same number as the so-called Sessions-McCaskill figure that’s been debated back and forth on this floor, voted repeatedly by Republicans to be the appropriate total number.”
The bipartisan Sessions-McCaskill spending cap limits defense-discretionary spending to $564,293,000,000 and nondefense-discretionary spending to $529,662,000,000 in the 2011 fiscal year: a total of nearly 1.1 trillion dollars.
“So we have the bipartisan agreement on the total number, and now the Republican leader comes to the floor, stands in horror at the idea of $1.1 trillion, the very same number he asked for in this bill,” Sen. Durbin said. “You can’t have it both ways.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that the current spending bill “runs just under 2,000 pages” and complained that Democrats “want ram this gigantic, trillion dollar bill through Congress.”
In response, Sen. Durbin noted that the bill had been posted two days ago and said that “maybe the best thing we can give as a Christmas gift to the Republican caucus is a speed reading course so they can sit down and read these bills.”
The bill reflected the work of twelve subcommittees, including twelve Republican senators, so it should be no surprise the bill would reach nearly 2,000 pages, Sen. Durbin said.
He also blasted Republicans for using delaying tactics such as filibusters and then complaining “that we’re ruining Christmas for members of the Senate and their family.”
In a victory for Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) withdrew the bill from the Senate floor Thursday.