In an exchange with CNN correspondent Manu Raju, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer dismissed complaints that senators are expected to vote on a 4,155-page, $1.7 trillion omnibus appropriations bill hours after first seeing it.
America’s laws are increasingly dictated by a small group of congressional leaders.
Raju, echoing some Republican lawmakers, questioned Schumer on his decision to hold a vote on the bipartisan spending bill Wednesday, just a day after it was filed, asking, “How is it a functional process … ?”
- “The bill has been carefully worked on by the Appropriations Committee for a very, very long time,” replied Schumer. “Most of the provisions were well known weeks and weeks and weeks in advance, and getting this bill done for the American people, which really matters, is the most important thing.”
- President Joe Biden was expected to sign the bill ahead of a looming deadline; it contains $772.5 billion for non-defense programs and $858 billion for defense, including $45 billion in emergency aid for Ukraine
“The founders envisioned Congress as a deliberative body in which outcomes are discovered,” then-Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., wrote in a 2019 Washington Post op-ed about why he was leaving the GOP. “We are fast approaching the point, however, where Congress exists as little more than a formality to legitimize outcomes dictated by the president, the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader.”
- “With little genuine debate on policy happening in Congress, party leaders distract and divide the public by exploiting wedge issues and waging pointless messaging wars. These strategies fuel mistrust and anger, leading millions of people to take to social media to express contempt for their political opponents, with the media magnifying the most extreme voices. This all combines to reinforce the us-vs.-them, party-first mind-set of government officials,” Amash continued.
- A number of conservative thinkers and lawmakers have traced Congress’ myriad failures to the consolidation of power with leadership.