McCain criticized several things in the bill, but expressed particular disappointment with one “rider” that prohibits the U.S. Postal Service from switching to a 5-day delivery system from a 6-day delivery schedule.
McCain said that last month the U.S. Postmaster General announced the Postal Service would reduce delivery by one day in order to save money since the service operates at a loss of several billion dollars a year. McCain accused some lawmakers of thinking they “know better than the Postmaster General.” He added that the postal service has to make changes to keep up with the times.
“Things and times have changed,” McCain said. “It is no longer the primary way people around the world communicate. We’ve got to allow the Postal Service to adapt in changing times.”
McCain also used his remarks to make an indirect reply to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who said during last week's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that the GOP is being led by "moss-covered" politicians.
Paul didn't name names at the conference, but McCain — who sparred with Paul over Paul's filibuster over U.S. drone policy earlier this month — took it to mean people like himself.
"References were made to people who were too old and moss covered, and that we need new and fresh individuals and ideas and thoughts," McCain said. "And I agree with all of those, every bit of those recommendations and comments that were made.
"But there is a little bit of benefit of being around for a while, and my friends, I'll tell you right now, I've seen this movie before," he added. McCain then reiterated remarks he has made before about the need to avoid round after round of cuts to the military.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he wants to finish work on the spending bill by the end of Monday so that House has time to vote on the Senate changes. If the House and Senate don't agree on a bill to fund the government through September, the government could shut down after March 27.
The Senate is considering a bill negotiated by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and ranking member Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), which sets the same spending levels as a government funding measure approved by the House earlier this month.
But the Senate bill adds three full appropriations measures to the House version. The House bill, H.R. 933, funded Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs programs, while the Senate version adds appropriations for Agriculture, Homeland Security and the Commerce, Justice and Science funds.