McConnell’s Embarrassment: Democrats, Not Republicans, Passed Omnibus Bill
By John Gizzi
“All you need to know why this was a bad bill is to look at the roll call,” a long-time Republican lobbyist emailed me Saturday, referring to the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending law.
Of course, he’s right.
President Donald Trump reluctantly signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill Friday, but a careful review of the crucial Senate vote shows it was Democratic members, not Republicans, that actually passed the bill.
In another major embarrassment to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, his own Republican caucus opposed the very bill he negotiated.
The omnibus bill passed the Senate by a vote of 65 to 32 (with three abstentions).
Of the 65 “for” votes, 39 Democratic senators supported the bill with only 25 Republicans signing on. Republicans control the Senate with 51 seats.
Of the 32 “against” votes, 23 were Republicans, including stalwart conservatives such as Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Rand Paul of Kentucky,Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Mike Lee of Utah.
Democrats were so excited about the bill’s passage, they could not contain their glee.
“We Democrats feel very good because so many of our priorities for the middle class were included,” beamed Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York.
Schumer was especially happy because chief among his priorities was the funding for a $30 billion the infrastructure project in New York known as the Gateway program.
Gateway includes a rail tunnel under the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York. The Senate approved $540 million for the tunnel. But other Congressional insiders tell me that as much as an additional $2 billion is actually buried in the bill to fund the project.
Meanwhile, conservatives lamented that not one dollar was earmarked for the construction of the wall along the Mexican border, a project President Trump has long championed.
Republican dismay about the final bill was perhaps best voiced by Rep. Mark Meadows ofN North Carolina, who serves as chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.
“It is troubling when we get a tunnel and we don’t get a wall,” he told reporters. “The last time I checked, the president didn’t make any promises about getting a tunnel in any of his campaign stops, at least not in North Carolina.”
Here is a list of the 32 Senators who voted against the Omnibus spending bill:
Senators Not Voting: