Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah said Thursday that he backed a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill because he did not trust House Republicans to handle crafting a budget in light of Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California’s difficult campaign for speaker of the House.
“House Republicans say that they want to craft a budget, but they haven’t yet been able to select a speaker,” Romney said, referencing the fact that several House Republicans came out in opposition to McCarthy’s bid for speaker. Romney noted it would be very difficult to sort out budgets for the current fiscal year and the following fiscal year.
“Even if they could take on those two things at the same time, it would need Democrats in the Senate to pass it,” Romney said, claiming that the resulting compromise legislation would end up at a higher number than the $1.7 trillion in the bill. Romney noted that entitlement spending was twice the amount of the omnibus bill.
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Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona launched an unsuccessful challenge to McCarthy for the nomination of the House Republican caucus to serve as speaker of the House, losing by a 188-31 vote on Nov. 15. Biggs announced on Dec. 6 he would still run for the post in spite of McCarthy being the Republican nominee.
McCarthy needs 218 votes to become speaker of the House. At least five Republicans have said they will not back McCarthy for speaker, prompting former President Donald Trump to warn they were “playing a very dangerous game.”
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“I am sick and tired of drama, and power plays coming from Washington, D.C., that only create headlines, but produce zero results,” Greene wrote in an op-ed for the DCNF.
Some House Republicans were outraged when the Senate passed a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package despite their calls for a delay until a Republican majority took office on Jan. 3. McCarthy backed conservatives who threatened to oppose legislation by Republicans senators who voted for the measure.