‘It’s unacceptable’: Six Republican senators vote ‘no’ on monstrosity COVID bill negotiated in secret

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Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Crux (R-Texas) ripped the process by which the just-passed $2.3 trillion spending and COVID relief measure was devised and written in justifying their opposition to it.

Tonight, badly-needed #COVID19 relief was tied to a $1.4T end-of-year spending monstrosity because three times Democrats rejected good faith efforts to pass targeted legislation that would have helped Americans hurting as a result of the pandemic,” Cruz wrote Monday.

“Simply put, Democrats exploited the need for relief to advance their political agenda instead of working on standalone legislation months ago that would put our nation on the path to recovery,” Cruz, one of six GOP senators who voted against the pork-filled measure, wrote on Twitter Monday.

“That’s wrong and the exact opposite of what the American people need right now,” he added.

In addition to Lee and Cruz, Sens. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Rand Paul (Ky.), and Rick Scott (Fla.), all voted ‘no’ on the measure. Two other Republicans, Sens. Mike Enzi (Wyoming), and Mike Rounds (S.D.), did not vote.

The legislation combined a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill to fund the government for the fiscal year and $900 billion in new COVID-19 relief.

“This is the spending bill under consideration in Congress today,” Lee wrote in a Twitter thread Monday evening, just a few hours before Congress was scheduled to vote on it. “I received it just moments ago, and will likely be asked to vote on it late tonight. It’s 5,593 pages long. I know there are some good things in it. I’m equally confident that there are bad things in it.

“Here’s the really sad thing: we’re being told that there will be no opportunity to amend or improve it.  As a result, nearly every member of Congress — House and Senate, Democrat or Republican — will have been excluded from the process of developing this bill, which will cost American taxpayers trillions of dollars,” he continued.

“It won’t come to an end until no longer works for those empowered by it.  That can happen, but only when most members of both houses and both political parties stop voting for bills they haven’t read—and, by design, cannot read until after it’s too late,” Lee noted further.

In an accompanying video, Lee — who was in the process of printing the massive bill — predicted it would take three hours. He also said after “10 years in the Senate, this is by far the longest bill that I’ve ever seen.”

And because of its size and the very tight deadline to vote on it, he emphasized that there would be virtually no time to read and study it.

“I’m absolutely certain that this has been cobbled together by a very small handful of members of Congress and their staffs and to the exclusion of 98 percent of members of Congress of both political parties in both houses,” said Lee.

“We have never had the opportunity to see, much less digest and amend” the bill, he continued. “It’s unacceptable.”

Later, Lee agreed with a tweet from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who also complained that members were not able to participate in the process of putting the massive bill together.

“Congress is expected to vote on the second largest bill in US history *today* – $2.5 trillion – and as of about 1pm, members don’t even have the legislative text of it yet,” she wrote.

“It’s not good enough to hear about what’s in the bill. Members of Congress need to see & read the bills we are expected to vote on. I know it’s ‘controversial’ & I get in trouble for sharing things like this, but the people of this country deserve to know. They deserve better,” she added.

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Jon Dougherty

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