GOP senator: Lack of power on spending ‘exasperating’

Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) on Sunday expressed frustrations with the way the latest funding package was handled by congressional leaders, claiming it is “exasperating” to lack GOP leverage in the Senate and White House.

“It is exasperating because we have to face the reality of where we are,” Capito said Sunday in an interview with “The Hill Sunday” on NewsNation.

“I mean, as Republicans, we have certain leverages, but what we don’t have is the United States Senate and the president of the United States in our party. Those are pretty key elements if you’re going to ever move anything across the finish line and enact legislation.”

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Capito’s comments come one day after the Senate passed a $1.2 trillion spending deal to fund a slew of government departments and agencies and avert a partial government shutdown.

The upper chamber voted 74-24 to advance the legislation in the early morning Saturday, about two hours after the shutdown deadline. It was then sent to President Biden, who signed it later Saturday.

The package, which combined half of the 12 annual funding bills, capped off a months-long spending fight and came about six months after the initial deadline for lawmakers to finish spending talks for fiscal 2024.

Capito, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, criticized Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for not putting the spending bills on the floor sooner.

“It is very frustrating that we had bills out in July — out of our bipartisan, out of our Senate committee — and Chuck Schumer refused to put nine of those up onto the Senate floor,” she said Sunday. “He’s had nine months to do that and would not do that.”

Capito said Saturday she wished the Senate’s appropriations process could have been “open for floor discussion, including amendments, and free of shutdown drama.”

The months-long spending battle included four continuing resolutions, the first-ever ousting of a sitting Speaker and increased tensions between both sides of the aisle.

The West Virginia Republican argued the recent race to avert a government shutdown demonstrated the need to secure a GOP majority in the Senate in November.

“Because then I think we have a much better chance of having a more functional appropriations,” she said.

The Hill reached out to Schumer’s office for comment.

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