GOP lawmakers say McConnell 'coercing' them to support last minute omnibus package
"They can't do this without at least 10 Republicans in the Senate. I don't know why any Republican, let alone 10, would want to help them."
Republican senators are livid with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom they say is exerting pressure on GOP lawmakers to back an omnibus spending package that would fund the government through next year.
Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has contended that McConnell is trying to "to coerce [Republicans], to force members to vote on something they've never even seen," per the Washington Times.
Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, a key negotiator on the plan, announced Tuesday evening that lawmakers had "reached a bipartisan, bicameral framework that should allow us to finish an omnibus appropriations bill that can pass the House and Senate and be signed into law by the president."
Conservative senators, however, argue that the plan concedes too much to Democrats and that there is little incentive for them to accept such terms.
"I don't see any reason why Republicans should jump to [Democrats'] aid. They can't do this without at least 10 Republicans in the Senate. I don't know why any Republican, let alone 10, would want to help them," said Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee.
"We don't know how much money is going to be in it. We don't know what's going to be in it. We don't know what's going to be attached to it," Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott said of the plan. Scott previously attempted to unseat McConnell as party leader in the upper chamber, but was unsuccessful.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, meanwhile, lamented that the collaboration between Democrats and McConnell-aligned Republicans would almost certainly lead to heightened spending.
"Merry Christmas, America. The Democrats and big government Republicans will be offering you a Christmas tree," he said. "A Christmas tree in Washington is a bill that has something on it for everyone. You won't know what it is until you get it. You won't be able to read it until it's done. But it will happen because the only thing that invariably happens in Washington is they will get together to spend money."
McConnell, meanwhile, has contended that the existing plan represented the best compromise Republicans were likely to get and advised against waiting until the party takes control of the House in January, lest they risk a government shutdown.
"We're on defense. We're dealing with the cards that we were dealt," he said. The current deal is "far and away the best we could do, given the fact that we don't control the floor or the government."