FederalIssuesTaxes & SpendingTexas Senators Divided: Cornyn Votes for $1.7 Trillion Omnibus Bill, Cruz Blasts ‘Reckless’ Spending

Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz took opposing positions on a $1.7 trillion-dollar federal spending bill that divided Republicans in Congress.
December 22, 2022
The United States Senate passed a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill on Thursday that averts a government shutdown and delivers a host of legislative victories for Democrats in Washington. The vote divided the Republican senators from Texas with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) voting “yes” and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) voting “no.”

The legislation now heads to the House of Representatives, where Democrats holding lame-duck majority control under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) are expected to pass the bill and send it to the White House for approval.

Republicans have been heavily divided over the massive deficit spending bill, with lawmakers like Cruz blasting Senate Republicans whose support for the bill took away an opportunity for the incoming GOP House majority to negotiate more favorable terms.

“It is the height of recklessness for Senate Republican leadership to cut a deal with House Democrats who were just voted out of power and give away the leverage that the incoming Republican majority in the House of Representatives could have used to force the Biden administration to change course on policies that are harming America,” Cruz wrote in a statement released shortly after the bill cleared the Senate.

“Without this leverage, the Biden administration will now be able to continue the reckless spending spree that has led to uncontrolled inflation,” Cruz asserted. “They will keep pushing anti-energy policies that have caused gas prices and home heating prices to rise. They will continue reckless immigration policies that have led to open borders and a massive influx of deadly drugs and illegal immigration. Their soft-on-crime policies will continue to endanger our communities.”

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“The main beneficiaries of this bill are those on the receiving end of left-wing pet projects and pork-barrel spending while the American people will get stuck paying the bill as they continue to suffer.”

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23), who is favored to become the next speaker of the House in January, issued a threat to Senate Republicans that their legislation will be “dead on arrival” if they move forward with supporting the “two trillion dollar monstrosity.”

That threat did not appear to intimidate Cornyn, who as of the time of publication has not responded to a media request from The Texan asking whether McCarthy’s comment would have any impact on his decision to vote yes.

However, after voting for final passage, Cornyn did issue a statement praising eight different provisions contained in the bill. He added that while the process by which the legislation was developed was “dysfunctional,” the risk of a government shutdown far outweighed any concerns with the content of the omnibus.

“For months, I have spoken out about this dysfunctional process which has left Congress with two bad choices after completely disregarding the regular appropriations process,” he wrote in a statement. “This last-minute funding bill was negotiated behind closed doors by the Democratic leadership, and despite their unilateral authority to set the schedule, they have failed in one of the most basic responsibilities. This is not what responsible governing looks like.”

“However, the consequences of a government shutdown directly impact our national and economic security at a time when our country cannot afford that type of disruption. This legislation supports the important missions of our military, border security, and national defense as well as the brave men and women behind them.”

The issues included in those eight provisions that Cornyn supported range from national security and defense spending, to support for the Texas agriculture industry, to investments in school safety measures and, notably, border security.

Congressional Republicans have criticized the border security-related provisions contained within the legislation due to language that “prohibits” Customs and border Protection from actually securing the border, such as limiting deportation actions through budget restrictions.

Within the 4,155-page bill that was released only hours before passage is billions in defense spending, including some $44 billion in additional aid for Ukraine, changes to the Electoral Count Act that deals with how Congress counts votes from the Electoral College, and an extensive laundry list of spending measures for Democratic initiatives.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) highlighted his objections to 55 of these earmarks on Twitter.

“The omnibus bill will funnel MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars to LGBT groups peddling radical gender ideology,” Roy wrote, also describing other provisions that will fund “fancy climate ideology” initiatives across the nation.

With the omnibus spending package receiving support from 18 Republican Senators, the bill cleared the upper chamber in a 68 to 29 vote and is expected to quickly pass the U.S. House.


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Matt Stringer

Matt Stringer is a reporter for The Texan who writes about all things government, politics, and public policy. He graduated from Odessa College with an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Leadership. In his free time, you will find him in the great outdoors, usually in the Davis Mountains and Big Bend region of Southwest Texas.