Conservative senators on Thursday threatened to hold up any Senate legislation that doesn’t specifically deal with reducing the nation’s debt.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.), the senators complained that only three hours of debate were scheduled Wednesday before votes on dueling proposals to reduce spending.
“This debate gave only a limited (three hours) opportunity to debate what many Americans believe is the issue of our time — cutting government spending and dramatically reducing our national debt,” said the letter to Reid.
A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellLawmakers push one-week stopgap funding bill Overnight Finance: Inside Trump's tax plan | White House mulls order pulling out of NAFTA | New fight over Dodd-Frank begins Dem rep: Trump's tax plan as believable as 'magic, unicorns or Batman' MORE (R-Ky.) said more time needs to be given in the Senate for debating the nation's debt woes.
“Senator McConnell appreciates their focus on the most important issue facing our country right now – the out of control spending and rising national debt – and agrees that there should be sufficient floor time to debate this issue in advance of reaching our statutorily-mandated debt limit,” McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer said.
Hours were consumed on the Senate floor on Monday on debate over the Patent Reform Act, which ended up passing the Senate. Reid plans to move to a small business bill next.
The lawmakers also criticized Reid for not allowing them to offer amendments to the measures.
“This statement is clear,” said Sen. David VitterDavid VitterFormer senator who crafted chemicals law to lobby for chemicals industry Former GOP rep joins K Street lobbying firm Capitol Counsel Lobbying World MORE (R-La.) in announcing the letter on the Senate floor. “This is a crisis. We need to act before we reach the debt limit. Let’s act now. Lets not move to other cat and dog bills that may be positive legislation but can certainly wait.”
The letter was also signed by Sens. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsSessions to keep up fight on sanctuary cities despite legal setback Suspended Alabama judge running for Senate Trump and Sessions peddle fear instead of solutions to crime MORE (R-Ala.), Marco RubioMarco RubioWhat’s with Trump’s spelling mistakes? Boeing must be stopped from doing business with Iran Top Trump officials push border wall as government shutdown looms MORE (R-Fla.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Rand PaulRand PaulDestructive 'fat cat' tax law a complete flop. It's time to repeal it. Trump must take action in Macedonia to fix damage done by Obama and Clinton We can put America first by preventing public health disasters MORE (R-Ky.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Mike LeeMike LeeObamaCare must be fixed before it collapses Trump signs order to end 'egregious abuse' of national monuments Trump takes aim at Obama monuments MORE (R-Utah) and John Ensign (R-Nev.)
If Reid dedicates significant time to debating the budget crisis prior to when the government is expected to reach its debt ceiling, the senators said they would drop their objections.
“Our objections would be withheld if the Senate agrees to dedicate significant floor time to debate this issue well in advance of the federal government reaching our statutorily mandated debt limit,” said the letter.
The Senate began a roll call vote on the the nomination of Max O. Cogburn, Jr. to be United States District Judge for the Western District of North Carolina at about 3 p.m. That is the last vote scheduled for Thursday in the Senate.
This story was updated at 6:27 p.m.