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GOP senators blast McConnell for 'arrogance,' voter betrayal in big spending bill

"Our party leadership turned on Republican voters," Sen. Mike Lee laments.

Published: December 25, 2022 7:45am

Updated: December 25, 2022 9:52am

Conservative GOP senators blasted Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday for joining with Democrats to shepherd a $1.7 trillion year-end spending bill into law over the objections of House Republicans, saying it was an act of "arrogance" that betrayed promises to voters.

"Our party leadership turned on Republican voters, turned on the Republican base, turned on most Republican senators," Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) told "The Cats Roundtable" and host John Catsimitidas on WABC radio in New York. "It has happened before, but this is one too many times. For me, this is the final straw."

Lee called the omnibus spending bill signed into law Friday "the ugliest spending bill on record" and one that signaled "that voters don't see much of a defining difference with Democrats."

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) mocked those of his GOP colleagues who voted for the bill and celebrated its passage.

"To declare that a victory, to say that's a win, that's like a football team that just lost the game 60 to 0, and they kick a field goal in the waning seconds and say the field goal is a big win," Johnson told Catsimitidas. "No, we just got our you-know-whats handed to us."

Johnson said that McConnell's maneuver not only betrayed conservative voters but also undercut House Republicans about to take over in January who had asked for a short-term spending plan.

"Unfortunately, the arrogance of our leadership who said, 'We know better than House members. We're going to pass this.' ... I'm not buying it," Johnson said. "Unfortunately, our supporters aren't going to buy it either."

Other senators took to Twitter to express their disdain for the spending law, warning it will worsen inflation next year.

"I voted AGAINST the $1.7 TRILLION spending bill because I promised Florida families I'd fight every day to make Washington work for them," Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) tweeted. "This reckless inflation bomb is a disaster for our economy and a slap in the face to Floridians struggling to make ends meet."

Added Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who released a report on Christmas Eve highlighting nearly a half trillion dollars of wasteful spending: "Ask yourself if the leadership of both parties is all that much different on spending or endless wars. From bloated bureaucracy to Ukraine aid, foreign aid to not funding our border security, it's hard to tell the difference."

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