House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., on Friday blamed the Democrat-led Senate in a for failing to pass any government spending bills this year and forcing Congress to rush in the days before Christmas to pass a $1.7 trillion bill to keep the government funded.
Hoyer said the basic job of Congress is to keep the government operating, but he said the rushed vote shows that, “We’re not doing that very well.”
“It’s the 23rd of December, the day before Christmas Eve,” Hoyer said on the House floor. “The weather is bad, members, we’ll see how many, are here to fulfill their duty.”
“In reality… this bill should have been passed in September of this year,” Hoyer said. “Why? Because the fiscal year ends on September 30th, and fiscal year ’23 begins on October 1st of this year.”
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Hoyer said that while the House approved six spending bills and sent them to the Senate, the Senate, led by Sen. Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., never moved on them.
“The Senate had not passed a single appropriations bill by the end of last fiscal year to provide for the fiscal year in which we are now operating,” Hoyer said. “That ought to be unacceptable for the 535 of us who have been sent here to represent the American people in a responsible way—in a way that reflects that we are adults seized with a responsibility that the American people expect us to meet.”
“Unfortunately, the United States Senate has become enamored with doing an omnibus at the last second,” he added. “That ought to be a disappointment for every member of this body and every American.”
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The giant bill was released Tuesday and is more than 4,000 pages long. The Senate passed the plan Thursday with support from 18 Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The plan is expected to pass in the House Friday, which will ensure Congress avoids a partial government shutdown that would take place at midnight.
The bill provides a 10% boost in funding for the Pentagon and $45 billion in aid to Ukraine. It also includes a ban from TikTok on federal government devices.
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Hoyer will step down from his leadership position in the Democratic Party next year, which he has held since 2003. However, he will be on the House Appropriations Committee next year and said he hopes to “pursue regular order” from that committee by pushing for early passage of spending bills instead of rolling them into a giant bill at the end of the year.
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Hoyer said that was the only way to avoid this “last minute, Chrismas Eve performance of our duties.”