WASHINGTON – While half of Senate Republicans voted to oppose Thursday’s short-term funding bill over excess spending, keeping the government open is the first priority, senators from both sides of the aisle who voted for the measure told Fox News.
“Nobody wants the government shut down,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, who voted for the measure, said. “We want to focus on the issues that America cares about.”
“Shutting down the government doesn’t get you where you want to go,” the South Carolina Republican continued.
“Sooner or later we got to quit spending,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a Republican who voted against the measure. “Seems like every time we vote, it’s about spending money.”
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The Senate passed a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through Dec. 16 in a 72-25 vote Thursday afternoon. All Senate Democrats and 22 Senate Republicans voted in favor of the bill, which includes funding for domestic natural disasters and the war in Ukraine.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, said he backed the bill to avoid shutting “down the United States government, which is almost inevitably a terrible idea.”
Sen. Chris Coons agreed.
“We need to get it done in order to keep the government open and our country running,” the Delaware Democrat told Fox News.
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The over two-month extension gives lawmakers another chance to negotiate a yearlong budget before the new Congress takes office in January, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“Let’s hope this is the last [stop gap] they do so we get an omnibus [budget] done in December,” Schumer said on the floor Wednesday.
Senate Republicans who voted against the bill told Fox News that Congress needs to cut spending.
“We’re facing a near recession,” Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming told Fox News. “We should be reducing spending, not increasing spending.”
“If we keep increasing spending, we are not addressing or sending signals to the American people that they need to hear, that Congress takes its role seriously and that we recognize that we are part of the problem,” the senator said. The economy has become a “kitchen table issue,” she added.
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Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, who also voted against the bill, said: “I’m more so concerned about the functionality of the Congress.”
The continuing resolution “by its very definition is just a placeholder that keeps status quo,” the Republican said. “It’s dysfunction in the United States Congress that our appropriations committee hasn’t been able to pass a single appropriations bill in committee.”
The measure now goes to the House, where it’s expected to pass before Sept. 30, when funding for the federal government is scheduled to lapse.
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“Inflation is going to get worse,” because of the bill, Tuberville said. “I mean, we’re 31 trillion in debt, and we’re going to go farther in debt.”
“I don’t see it as adding to inflation,” he told Fox News. “But it also doesn’t have any policy attached to it that would help reduce inflation.”
Ramiro Vargas contributed to this report.