In what can only be described as a ‘Saturday night live’ event on the Senate floor, lawmakers in the upper chamber exhausted themselves until the final hours of the day to push forward the embattled $1.1 trillion ‘cromnibus’ spending bill sent over from the House last week in a squeaker vote.
Passed by a margin of 56 to 40 over the protest of a great number of Republicans, the pork-laden bill has been sent to the White House for what most expect to be a signing event before the end of the week.
Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee filibustered for a time in hopes to send a message of the bill’s serious constitutional concerns summed by what one senator called a “Christmas tree” of a bill.
Cruz was criticized by a number of his fellow Republicans in what they deemed was a play to the conservative base ahead of his presumed presidential aspirations, reports The New York Times.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) wondered aloud, “I don’t see what we’re achieving here.” And Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) chimed in, “It will have the end result of causing nominees who I think are not well qualified to be confirmed, so I don’t understand the approach that he is taking. And I think it’s very unfortunate and counterproductive.”
But the bill wasn’t all bad according to some Republicans. It includes increased defense spending along with key budget cuts to over-zealous agencies like the EPA, IRS and others that have been in the GOP’s sight in recent months.