Republicans defeat effort to suspend Senate rules to advance spending package 


The Senate voted against ending the debate on the motion to suspend upper chamber rules, prolonging the impasse over “minibus” appropriations package funding military construction and Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA), Agriculture, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Senators did not vote to end the debate on the motion suspending the rules of the upper chamber, prolonging the impasse regarding the “minibus” package of appropriations funding military construction and Departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. But they failed to even get 60 votes to bring a suspension of the rules up for direct consideration.

As a result, the so-called “minibus” spending package that Johnson blocked last week remains in limbo. Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader (D-NY), now has to choose between a narrower spending bill that funds only military construction and Veterans Affairs – which passed the House of Representatives in July – or negotiate with Johnson. The Wisconsin Republican offered a possible compromise on Tuesday, offering to waive his objections to the package in exchange for colleagues agreeing to vote on legislation to end government shut downs. This bill, sponsored Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, would require members of Congress to stay in Washington if they do not pass the annual spending bills by the deadline on Sept. 30, to finish the work. It would also implement a rolling 14-day period automatic continuing resolution to prevent government shutdowns. Johnson caused a stir on the Senate floor by stopping a minibus package of appropriations. He invoked Senate Rule XVI in order to object to a substitution amendment proposed by Senate Appropriations Committee chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Washington. She wanted to add the Agriculture and Transportation – HUD spending bills to a military construction and VA bill that the House had passed in July. Rule XVI prohibits senators from extending the scope of a appropriations measure. Johnson called for the breaking up of the minibus so that colleagues could spend more time scrutinizing the legislation. Johnson stated that bringing each bill up individually gives us the opportunity to examine what is in it. This place is grossly corrupt.

He accused Democrats of selectively following Senate rules, and ignoring them only when it suits their purpose.

“We have rules, until the leadership decides that they don’t. This sounds like a regular order, doesn’t it? he quipped. “So, you’re going to suspend the rules of the Senate so you have regular order.”

Murray urged colleagues Wednesday vote to keep the spending package on track. Murray told the Senate that 91 senators had voted unanimously to start the debate last week on the bipartisan package of bills, which passed the Appropriations Committee. But a few senators objected to a routine procedural request, threatening to halt our months of work, stop a return of order, and prevent a full Senate having the chance to debate and make amendments, she said. Collins last week criticised Johnson for sabotaging the package. Collins stated at the time that she was both surprised and dismayed by the objections of the Wisconsin senator to the unanimous consent agreement. Why is the Wisconsin senator objecting to the Senate Appropriations Committee approving three appropriations measures that had been unanimously reported? Each bill was unanimously approved by the committee after much work.

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