Sens. Ted Budd, R-NC, and Thom TIllis, R-NC. signed on to a letter Wednesday, along with 11 other senators, to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, urging him to keep the U.S. Senate in session until all 12 appropriations bills have been debated and passed by the Senate.
“We urge you to modify the Senate calendar so that we remain in session Monday through Friday every week until all 12 fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills are passed in the Senate and House and signed into law by President Biden,” the letter starts. “The House of Representatives has already taken the step to forgo their October recess, and the Senate must follow suit. While valuable work is done while Senators are back in their home states, it is imperative that we remain in DC until our appropriations work can be completed. That is what the American people expect and deserve of us.”
The House and the Senate traditionally take off the second week in October to take care of matters in their home states.
But the House is scheduled to come back to Washington next week after being sent home by interim speaker Congressman Patrick McHenry, R-NC, Tuesday to “cool down” after the historic ouster of former speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-CA.
Congressman Matt Gaetz, R-FL, filed the motion to “vacate the chair,” referring to removing the Speaker of the House.
The House voted 216 to 210 in favor of removing McCarthy as Speaker of the House.
McHenry has been Speaker Pro Tempore since January, an appointment only known to a few people, kept secret until a speaker cannot fulfill his or her duties. He now controls the chamber as members determine their next steps. This is the first time a U.S. House speaker has been removed from power in history.
The senators’ letter continues by saying the Senate Appropriations Committee passed all 12 appropriations bills through the Committee in June and July, and the Senate could have debated them and amended them in August and September and could have ultimately passed final versions before the September 30th deadline.
They said while that alone wouldn’t have averted a shutdown, it would have shown that they were committed to working together to tackle the critical government funding issue.
The federal government was facing a looming shutdown before McCarthy brought a short-term funding bill to the House floor, which passed Saturday before going on to the Senate for final passage and with the signature of President Joe Biden. McCarthy had ignored calls from those like Gaetz, who called for deep spending cuts.
Instead of carrying on, the Senate recessed for five of the nine weeks, the Senate contingent’s letter stated and failed to pass even a single appropriation bill out of the Senate. The continuing resolution extended government funding until November 17th, which allows seven weeks for the Senate to consider the fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills.
“The past nine weeks make it clear that we cannot afford to take a weekday off, much less a weeklong recess, with so much work to be completed in such a condensed time,” the senators state. “This is too important of an issue to put off. We must get back to regular order, and that means passing all 12 appropriations bills. We the undersigned request that you update the Senate calendar so that we are in session every weekday until all 12 appropriations bills are passed.”
In addition to Budd and Ricketts, the letter was signed by Senators Deb Fischer, R-NE, John Barrasso , R-WY, Katie Boyd Britt, R-AL, John Cornyn, R-TX, Bill Hagerty, R-TN, Roger Marshall, R-KS, Markwayne Mullin, R-OK, Rick Scott, R-FL, Eric Schmitt, R-MO, John Thune, R-SD, and Roger Wicker, R-MS.